Alan Lomax, The Library of Congress Interviews:
The Lost Train Blues play on a harmonica and a guitar by Woody Guthrie from Okema,
Oklahoma. Woody knows what that lost train means because hes ridden lots of red ball
freights from one end of the country to another. In a few minutes we are going to begin
our conversation with Woody Guthrie about life in the Southwest. About where hes
from and where he went and what happened. Woody Guthrie is, I guess, about thirty years
old from the looks of him, but hes seen more in those thirty years than most men see
before their seventy. He hasnt sat in a warm house or a warm office to see what
hes been interested in looking at; hes gone out into the world. Hes
looked at the faces of the hungry men and women. Hes live in the hobo jungles.
Hes performed in the picket lines. Hes sung his way to every bar and salon
between Oklahoma and California. Listen to that red ball roll
More from Lomaxs Library of Congress interviews:
Guthrie: Heres a pretty good one I used to hear down in that
country: "Heres to her, and to her again. If you cant get to her, let me
to her. Im used to her."
Lomax: Well, some of them were even worse off than that, werent
they, Woody? In the way of being a little off color, or something?
Guthrie: Yes, well they started from there and went on down.
Lomax: Whered they go from there? What was the next stop?
Guthrie: Well, lets hear you say one, then Ill be remembering
Lomax: I wasnt brought up that way, Woody. You see, I didnt
grow up in the country. I grew up inside a brick house. I didnt have that kind of
experience.... I wish I had.
Burgess Meredith introducing Guthrie for the radio program called The
Pursuit of Happiness:
Our next guest really has traveled. He is Woody Guthrie of Oklahoma, one of those Okies
who, dispossessed from their farms, journeyed in jalopies to California. There, Woody, who
always had been a great man at playing the guitar and making up songs of his own, managed
to get some work performing at a small radio station. He got a lot of fan letters, one of
which was from John Steinbeck, who wrote the saga of the Okies. Not long ago, he set out
for New York and rode the freights to get here ... and weve asked him to perform one
of his own compositions. We present Mr. Guthrie and If you Aint Got the Do Re
Ed Robbin, Peoples World correspondent, inviting Guthrie to
Robbin: You should know that this is going to be a left-wing political
meeting. A lot of Communists will be there, in case you have any objects to that sort of
Guthrie: "Left wing, chicken wing, its all the same to me.
Guthrie to Fred Hellerman, during the McCarthy era:
This [Brooklyn State Hospital] is the best place to be these days.
Its the only place in the country where I can get up on a stool and start screaming,
Im a Communist. Im a Communist, and no one can do a goddamn thing
about it. If you do that, theyll arrest