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Thursday, June 30, 2016

When Woody Guthrie stood up to the Trump empire... June 30th special edition, 2016

Here's a single-story special edition. The June 28th edition has multiple topics, news, and events. This is about one thing. A voice from the past improbably speaking now. The power and enduring reach and relevance of American Folk Music. Enjoy.



Holeeee-moleee. A song named "Old Man Trump" written by WOODY GUTHRIE about his landlord, Donald Trump's father, Fred. Never recorded by Woody. But recorded now, and played on "Democracy Now" on June 30th.

Music video by The Missin' Cousins at:


There are several "latest" full stories out today, June 30th, on how this came about — starting with the fact that Woody knew real estate mogul Donald's real estate mogul father Fred Trump. And that Woody found him so reprehensible that he warranted a song. And how that song, though never recorded, was rediscovered, in time to resonate in our time.

Now, a comment is in order here. It is this:

Is it fair to talk disparagingly about someone in terms of their father? We answer that we are applying Donald Trump's own standard. It was he who pulled a stuffed rabbit out of a hat with his claim that rival Ted Cruz's father was an unindicted co-conspirator involved in the assassination of JFK. Trump never produced a shred of evidence for that. But Woody's own lyrics have been produced for this. And Donald's life has been all about building on his father's empire and making a big deal out of being a more profitable cutthroat than the old man. Than Old Man Trump.

Here's the url from today's story (June 30th) in The Guardian newspaper. (Provided so you can find and explore the embedded links where the story originally appears). The full text of that story is below, here on our site, with additional resources.

Old Man Trump: Tom Morello gives new life to Woody Guthrie's protest song

• Three artists are finishing and producing Guthrie’s song criticizing Donald Trump’s father and reflecting on race – a very current topic in his campaign

Ciara McCarthy in New York

More than 60 years ago, Woody Guthrie bemoaned his landlord –Donald Trump’s father,Fred Trump –in unrecorded song lyrics. Now a group of artists has turned his writing into a modern protest song as Trump’s son Donald continues his candidacy for US president.

Three artists have collaborated to finish and produce Old Man Trump, Guthrie’s song inspired by Fred Trump. The track,which had never been previously recorded,was released last week by Firebrand Records just months after the lyrics were re-discovered and publicized. Old Man Trump was recorded by riot folk singer Ryan Harvey with Ani DiFranco and guitarist Tom Morello.

“You’ve got Donald Trump talking about making America great again ... and so here’s Woody Guthrie,one of the definers of American history, coming out after his death and saying ‘No,it wasn’t a great era and in fact your father was part of the problem,’” Harvey said.

Guthrie,a pillar of American protest music most famous for the alternative national anthem This Land Is Your Land,signed his Brooklyn lease with Trump senior as his landlord in 1950. The real estate developer inspired song lyrics and other writings,whose existence and relevance remained forgotten until recently.

In January,Will Kaufman,a Guthrie expert and professor at the University of Central Lancashire, brought to light Guthrie’s impassioned writings about Trump. Kaufman said he found the Guthrie’s writings before Donald Trump had announced his candidacy while doing research for an upcoming book about Guthrie. After Kaufman re-publicized Guthrie’s writings, Harvey began looking to record the song for the first time because of the lyrics’ enduring relevance,he said.

“It’s about how stuff was racist in the 50s and how stuff is racist now,” Harvey said of the song. “This is a modern song that just happened to be written in the past.” Harvey found enthusiastic collaborators looking to stand against the “politics of hate”.

In a video introduction to the song, guitarist Morello implores listeners to “stand up” against Trump.

(That video is online at: )

“When it comes to race relations, he’s like an old-school segregationist. When it comes to foreign policy,he’s like an old-school napalmist. When it comes to women’s issues,he’s like a frat-house rapist,” Morello says in the video. “So let’s not elect that guy.”

The elder Trump was Guthrie’s landlord for two years in the 1950s. The public housing complex,named Beach Haven,was built near Coney Island and almost exclusively housed white tenants. (Kaufman described the neighborhood as “lily-white”.) Trump,who built Beach Haven using federal loans,made significant profits from the project.

In 1954,after Guthrie had already moved out,Trump was the subject of a federal investigation for overstating the cost of developing Beach Haven and pocketing the $3.7m difference. A Village Voice investigative series published in 1979 looked at the Trumps’ real estate empire,including the cases brought by the US justice department alleging “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents”.

Guthrie’s writings focus in particular on the racial segregation within the housing complex: “I suppose/Old Man Trump knows/Just how much/Racial Hate/he stirred up/In the bloodpot of human hearts/When he drawed/That color line/Here at his/1800 family project”.

Guthrie penned Old Man Trump at a time when he was thinking deeply about race and segregation in the US,Kaufman said. In a letter to his friend activist Stetson Kennedy, Guthrie described the Beach Haven complexas a “JimCrow [sic] town”.

“His landlord Fred Trump is in essence the mayor of ‘JimCrow town’,this segregated town,” Kaufman explained. Guthrie lived in Beach Haven for two years until his wife broke the lease with Trump when Guthrie became increasingly ill after being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. Kaufman said he returned to Guthrie’s writings on Fred Trump as Donald Trump began to discuss race on the campaign trail. Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from the US and said an Indiana-born federal judge was biased because of his Mexican heritage.

“I think it is really important that Woody is speaking to us from beyond the grave now,” Kaufman said.

There's more:

Woody Guthrie, 'Old Man Trump' and a real estate empire's racist ... The Conversation  woody-guthrie-o Mobile-friendly - Jan 21, 2016 - In the 1950s, Woody Guthrie lived in one of Fred Trump's buildings. ... He had written songs such as “The Ferguson Brothers Killing,” which condemned ... 'Old Man Trump's' color line.

Woody Guthrie wrote a song about 'Old Man Trump' - San Francisco ...  garchik art Mobile-friendly - 4 days ago - If you're wondering about the current relevance of Woody Guthrie, just think of the music you already ...

Woody Guthrie wrote some moving lyrics about Donald Trump's ... New Republic  minutes  woody-gu Mobile-friendly - Writing in Raw Story, Kaufman quotes some song lyrics Guthrie wrote to denounce “old man Trump”: I suppose.

Top stories

Old Man Trump: Tom Morello gives new life to Woody Guthrie's protest song The Guardian -  1 hour ago

Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald ... The New York Times  2016/01/25  Mobile-friendly - Jan 25, 2016 - Mr. Guthrie, in writings uncovered by a scholar working on a book, invoked “Old Man Trump” while ...

The unbelievable story of why Woody Guthrie hated Donald Trump's ... Washington Post  news 2016/01/Mobile-friendly - Jan 22, 2016 -Woody Guthrie, folk singer supreme, is known for the magisterial portraits he ... Old Man Trump knows

Woody Guthrie Wrote Angry Songs About Donald Trump's Dad | TIME Time Magazine  woody-guthrie-don Mobile-friendly - Jan 21, 2016 - In his notebooks, Guthrie wrote: I suppose. Old Man Trump knows. Just how much. Racial Hate.

'Ain't Got No Home': Why Woody Guthrie Despised Donald Trump's ... NPR  2016/01/22  aint-got-no-hom Mobile-friendly - Jan 22, 2016 - ... has discovered unpublished lyrics by Woody Guthrie, in which the folk singer denounced Fred Trump, Donald's father. ... into a protest song against the man he called old man Trump.

Woody Guthrie Loathed His Racist Landlord: Donald Trump's Father Huffington Post  entry woody-gut Mobile-friendly - Jan 21, 2016 - "I suppose Old Man Trump knows just how much Racial Hate he stirred up." ... Guthrie had written that white supremacists like the Trumps were “way ahead of God” because. God dont ...

Woody Guthrie wrote lyrics against the Trump family in the 1950s ... The Independent uk  ...  America Mobile-friendly - Feb 1, 2016 - Woody Guthrie, writer of the classic 'This Land is Your Land' and widely ... Old Man Trump knows.

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