Just finished “Bound for Glory”, the autobiography of Woody Guthrie. I was a bit disappointed, to be honest.
The book takes you up to a certain point in time and stops at that point. I know it has to stop somewhere but it does not give any indication of how Guthrie became such an important figure in American folk music and culture.
The end of the book describes how Woody was in the John D Rockefeller centre in New York at an audition which would, presumably, help him with his career and explain how he became the seminal figure he became.
But he walked out of the audition when they tried to turn him into something he wasn’t in order to sell records and ‘give people what they want’. And he went back on the road and singing for the dust bowl people, the workers, drifters, hobos, families trying to make ends meet with labour intensive jobs in farming and construction, et cetera.
You are left with no idea of how he managed to publish so many songs or books, and the impact his work had on American society and those coming behind. Guys like Bob Dylan.
Nevertheless, I am delighted I found the book in a second hand book store in Kinsale, and glad I read it. It definitely gave a good insight into the America from where Woody came and his family difficulties, including his mother’s mental illness.
“Bound for Glory” is definitely worth a read. You can get a copy on Amazon here.