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My Dusty Road [4 CD] Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Woody's classic, mid-'40s recordings, sounding like you've never heard them before! These 54 tracks, including such classics as This Land Is Your Land; Pretty Boy Floyd; Hard Travelin'; Jesus Christ; Grand Coulee Dam , and Going down the Road (I Ain't Gonna Be Treated This Way) , have been taken from newly discovered, original metal masters for the clearest sounding Guthrie recordings from any period, let alone the '40s. And those tracks also include six unreleased tunes, which will no doubt set folk historians and musicians the world over a-scurrying. It all comes packaged inside a replica of a vintage suitcase from the 1930s, with a 68-page, full-color book featuring extensive liner notes, rare photos, Woody's own lyric sheets and even facsimiles of his business card, a postcard to his wife and a booking card from the '40s. This set was made for you and me!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Rounder
  • ASIN: B0025XV1LW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Woody Guthrie Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I get a kick out of listening to Woody, and this collection of recently unearthed master recordings from 1944 is like a letter from home. The sound is clear and clean and crisp, a big step up from previous issues of this material. But there's the rub: the majority of these performances are already available in the box set of Asch recordings. There are a couple of "new" songs, and some previously unreleased every-man-for-himself instrumentals with Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry, but it's mostly well-covered territory. And, there's not that much of it: 54 songs on four CDs, none of which runs longer than 45 minutes, tucked into elaborate packaging, priced at almost $60.00. The download, however, is a bargain: all 54 songs for $19.98. At that price, you can afford to help support the Woody Guthrie Foundation, and enjoy sound so clear you'll think Woody's right there in the room with you. (Change chords, Woody!)

Addenda: Amazon's download price has gone up to $36 and change since I wrote this review, so the hard copy now looks less extravagant, but still formidable. You might try to buy it used, or get someone who loves you to give it to you as a Christmas present.

"Take it easy, but take it!" -- Woody
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The much-vaunted sound quality is an improvement, but only about a grade higher - i.e., an A rather than a B - than what is otherwise available. The question one has to ask oneself is how big of a Woody Guthrie fan are you? Is it really worth the investment to hear marginally better-sounding versions of songs that, in all likelihood, you already have?

The disks are rather skimpy in length. This entire collection could have fit nicely onto two disks. The extravangance of the packaging is at best ironic, given Woody Guthrie's famous proletarianism. This is a person, after all, who walked-out of a job at the Rockefeller Center because it was too far away from his beloved working-class. I'm certain that he would have objected to this fancy, pricey offering, especially in today's economic conditions.

Since my mother taught me not to say anything if I couldn't say something good, the liner notes are excellent.

That said, I wonder how well they did with the song selection. There are a great many songs from these sessions that are on the Asch Recordings Series that are simply better than what's on here. I have a sneaky suspicion that they selected more non-controversial material for inclusion on here. Disk four, in particular, seems laden with too many instrumentals. Woody may be an underated guitarist, but that's not what he's famous for.

I would advise beginners to get individual albums such as "Dust Bowl Ballads" or "Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs," rather than this collection. I would advise everyone else to get The Asch Recordings first. And then, of course, only if you have a secure job.
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There is no question, if you are a fan you need this one for your collection. It's a beautiful package, the recordings are great and the presentation is wonderful. Nice job Rounder for delivering something that showcases this national treasure with a quality product. Worth the purchase, worth being one of the early adopters in order to make sure you get the first generation of this package. The limited number manufactured also makes it that more special.
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Is there such a thing as required listening in popular music? And is it possible that the music of a man who single handedly changed the course of pop culture with his songs can come alive again with a clarity and sound that feels like it was recorded TODAY? One cannot say enough about Woody Guthrie and his position in the world of great American music. I intend to invite my friend Bobby D over to review some of these songs for that there radio show he does. And then there's my seven year old son, a railroad song fanatic beyond reproach. He needs a track or two. Folkies? Welcome. Country? Thank you. Alt. ditto. A great man named Gram Parsons once set out on a quest to build on the tradition of Cosmic American Music. The songs and voice of Woody, especially as witnessed on this (slightly too preciously packaged but what the heck) boxed set is a key ingredient to that journey.
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To a Guthrie fan, this collection is platinum on top of gold. The sound quality is pristine - it's like having Woody and his buddies in the room with you. Amazon's discounted price made this collection truly affordable. The little suitcase is cute but it's what's inside that is so great; the book detailing the painstaking restoration of old metal masters and the discussions of each song in the collection. Even if you've heard these songs before, this collection is a new listening experience.
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Woody Guthrie was born July 12, 1912 making this the centenary of his birth. `My Dusty Road' is a great way to appreciate the music of Woody Guthrie to mark the occasion.

Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and almost every singer songwriter you can name owes a debt to Woody Guthrie.

Everyone knows at least one Woody Guthrie song, probably `This Land is Your Land'.

There have been celebrations all over the world in remembrance of his life and music.

I wanted to revisit Woody's music apart from his social significance. One of the best compilations of Guthrie's music is "My Dusty Road" on Rounder Records. The 4 CD set is a musical treat with 54 songs, some of them never released before, an unheard recording session and the collector's packaging. I covered the 2009 release in Woody Guthrie's lost recordings released from the historical perspective.

"My Dusty Road" covers who Woody Guthrie was as a musician and social activist. The CDs and music are arranged by theme: Woody's Greatest Hits, Woody the Agitator, Woody Cisco and Sonny, and Woody's Roots.

Woody Guthrie is joined on the recordings by his friends and fellow musicians Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry in a rare 1944 recording session.

Cisco and Sonny give the recordings extra musical appeal with harmony vocals, guitar accompaniment and hot harmonica performances.

Woody had a dry, laconic style of singing that might tire for some listeners who should appreciate the extra vocalists, lead guitar and harmonica backing.

Cisco Houston was an accomplished singer with a warm baritone voice. Cisco was also a better guitar player than Woody Guthrie with accomplished flat picking. Woody played a form of Mother Maybelle Carter guitar style.
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