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Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs
Book & CD project - by Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia
CD available at the Woody Guthrie Store


Out of print

In 1990, we received a package in the mail from a librarian at Sarah Lawrence College in New York telling us that she had been cleaning up the library shelves at the college and had come across what appeared to be an original manuscript of children's songs written by Woody and Marjorie Guthrie, dated 1948.   "Is this yours?" she asked.

Upon opening the manuscript, we discovered an amazing collection of songs written for young children, each one colorfully illustrated with Woody's watercolor drawings and musically notated by Marjorie.  The book had been lost for over 40 years.  Only one or two people remembered having seen it, or having heard about it.  How did it get to Sarah Lawrence College?

Marjorie had taught dance briefly at the college when she was part of the Martha Graham Dance Company.  Had she taken it with her to show someone and lost it?  Had she given it to one of the other teachers there to look at?  Had Woody?  We still don't know.Forty years later, Harper Collins agreed to publish it and Arlo came up with the idea that the whole family should get together and make a recording of all the tunes.  Arlo, Joady and Nora Guthrie, along with all their kids, overdubbed harmonies to some of Woody's original vocals and exchanged lead vocals of their own on others.  The album was nominated for a Grammy award in 1992.

Guthrie Family 1992 Family recording session.  Photo by Chris Farrell.

"I remember dancing around the house to these songs when I was real little," Nora recalls. "My mother would play the piano and we'd act them out in the evenings, just before bedtime.  I think they were designed to exhaust kids.  Now we get to use them on our own!"

 

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