That's Why We're Marching: WWII and the American Folk Song Movement

That's Why We're Marching: WWII and the American Folk Song Movement


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Fifteen of the 25 tracks on this 71-minute disc are previously unreleased and the rest are not easily available. That's no reflection on their quality, but it is a clue to their limited typicality: these are songs written and recorded in the first half of the 1940s in response to world events before and during World War II; after the war, they dated fast. In fact, some of them became obsolete even before the U.S. entered the war. The earliest songs are three tracks by the Almanac Singers (who included Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and others) from the spring of 1941 decrying the actions of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration that inclined the country toward the war. When the songs were recorded, they expressed a commonly held sentiment. But only a couple of months later, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the singers themselves repudiated their sentiments, and another six months later, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they seemed positively treasonous. The rest of the album's songs are patriotic, pro-war expressions of the need to overcome Hitler and win the war. But even amid such mainstream sentiments, the left-wing folksingers slip in lyrics in support of unions and civil rights, more long-standing views for them. They also find space to praise U.S. ally the Soviet Union in songs that became politically unacceptable after the war. Fifty years later, of course, all of this makes for a musical, historical curiosity, and a listener's primary interest is likely to be the opportunity to hear previously unissued music by Guthrie, Seeger, Leadbelly, Josh White, Burl Ives, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and a host of other excellent folksingers.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/20/1996
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074002124
catalogNumber: 40021
Rank: 62417

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lead Belly   Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee   Harmonica
Woody Guthrie   Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Track Performer
Cisco Houston   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer,Vocal Harmony
Burl Ives   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Pete Seeger   Banjo,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Track Performer
Josh White   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer,Vocal Harmony
Almanac Singers   Track Performer
Tom Glazer   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Track Performer
Agnes "Sis" Cunningham   Accordion,Choir, Chorus
Alan Lomax   Vocals
Brownie McGhee   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Track Performer
Pops Foster   Bass Guitar
Lee Hays   Vocals
Willie "The Lion" Smith   Piano
Sonny Terry   Harmonica,Track Performer
Bess Lomax Hawes   Mandolin,Vocals
Butch Hawes   Guitar,Vocals
Dupree   Track Performer
Vincent "Jimmy" Longhi   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Track Performer
Hally Wood   Vocals
Millard Lampell   Vocals
Arthur Stern   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Union Boys   Track Performer
Doc Reese   Vocals

Technical Credits

Woody Guthrie   Composer
Almanac Singers   Contributor
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Jeff Place   Liner Notes
Guy Logsdon   Liner Notes
Dupree   Contributor

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