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Wonder Wheel Lyrics By Woody Guthrie

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 25, 2006
$13.99
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The story of Wonder Wheel is a glorious tale of happenstance and discovery, populated by luminaries from different worlds and different eras.

In the pantheon: American folk icon Woody Guthrie and world music superstars the Klezmatics, Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie, maestro Itzhak Perlman—whose chance meeting with Nora helped plant the seed for the project, Celtic vocalist Susan McKeown, and producers GoodandEvil (Sex Mob, Elysian Fields, Felix Da Housecat).

These Coney Island-wrought lyrics add a less-known urban dimension to a man seen as the avatar of dust- bowl ballads. But, like thousands of his songs, they were left unrecorded, their music forgotten.

The result, seven years in the making, is Wonder Wheel—a record Nora describes as "Just as my father would have wanted." The album reflects Woody’s political stance and social agenda into a larger, global mirror, and brings a 20th century American figurehead to a 21st-century audience. Woody’s lyrics—set to music that’s filled with Eastern European, klezmer, Latin, Celtic, Afro-Caribbean and folk flavors—take on a universal life of their own. As GoodandEvil’s Danny Blume notes, the music is "an intense combination of the familiar and the exotic. But above all, it’s completely natural, all-encompassing, and intensely human."

Amazon.com

At first glance, the wedding of newly discovered lyrics by Okie folk legend Woody Guthrie to melodies by the Klezmatics--a band that blends the sounds and images of Yiddish culture with world music and American traditions--seems incongruous, at best. But there is method in the madness of executive producer and Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie. In the 1940s, the Guthries family lived in the heavily Jewish borough of Brooklyn, where their visitors included not only such activist pals as Pete Seeger, but Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt--Guthrie's mother-in-law--who shared his devotion to message and idealism. The troubadour's dusted-off words, particularly on "Mermaid Avenue," show his constant awareness and appreciation of Jewish culture, as well as his predictable fixation with the fleetingness of life in a time of war ("Pass Away," "Goin' Away to Sea"). Yet there is a new gentleness and renewed love of poetry in many of these pieces, especially in the closing song, "Heaven," which reflects Guthrie's continuing social consciousness, i.e., labor struggles and the homeless. The Klezmatics, on their first English-language album, push Woody's folkie form into the 21st century, with melodies built around Middle Eastern or Slavic frameworks--put to best use on the delicate lullaby "Heddy Down" and the affirming "Wheel of Life." --Alanna Nash

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Product details

  • Audio CD (July 25, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B000G6BLLA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,476 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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