Friday, November 15, 2013

15. The Almanac Singers - State of Arkansas

Years ago, when I lived in Cincinnati, I was doing some volunteer writing for a Holocaust organization.  The head of the group introduced me to the political cartoons of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

It was a really eye-opener for me.  Courtesy of the wars of my lifetime, I had always been led to believe that the right was pro-war and the left was anti-war.  But these cartoons educated me to the fact that it was the LEFT that really wanted the U.S. to get involved in WWII, and the right wanted to stay out of it.

I was reminded of this when listening to the Almanac Singers 1941 recordings.  Admittedly, I had never heard of the Almanac Singers before this, but any group that includes Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger is worth checking out.

Most of the stuff on here is typical early folk music, with themes I was very familiar with from previous listening to Pete Seeger - unions good - bossman bad, etc.

But the mind-blowing song on here is Round and Around Hitler's Grave.  Over the music of a lilting children's nursery rhyme, the song hits the same themes as those Dr. Seuss cartoons I'd seen years earlier.  Definitely put a new perspective on early folk for me.

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