Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Letter from Woody Guthrie to Alan Lomax, February 15, 1941]
Have made a few bookings out here already, the APM, People's World Forum, etc., and they are as worked up over the songs of the east coast as they are of their own west coast. It is a good thing to see a feeling so solid from coast to coast and to see the songs of the midwest or the old broke down south as welcome in Seattle, San Diego, Boston, or Houston —; and that is sign that folks are just plain folks everywhere you go, all has been hit hard, went through several political cyclones, been sold out so often that they feel like they've got pimps....the thought is about the same everywhere, because the song on one side of the map is the same on the other side — and when newspapers and radios and records wont carry these songs, nor help these people out, it is good to see the song spread anyhow, like their war scare, only bigger — just like on any other subject, folks has got something to say about it; they might not let on around high society ginks, but the people has got just a plenty to say about every little thing that's said and done that's a leading us down this lonesome road to the war — and of course you know how folks always has pretended to be dumb or blank in the presence of officers of the law that they dont trust or like. With every invention of modern times turned against them, the people sing their song just the same as they ever did. Everywhere you go they tell you they dont believe what you hear on your radio. They point and smile and listen the same as they play cards or pool or checkers, just to have something to pass the time away — as far as soaking up all of this war scare and bloody talk and hooray stuff —, they've had hard luck enough to wake them up and put them away above that stuff — that comes from great big overgrown rich folks. They control everything that's said and done on every single radio. (Everything but the feelings of the people). We'll have some real honest to goodness singing and playing on the air waves some of these days, when the real peoples songs and programs can be broadcasted instead of what we have got now.
Los Angeles and southern California is thickly settled. This little station covers a strip about 100 miles in each direction. It is full of people that work and talk a working man's lingo, no matter what tongue or color; so I thought, beings our program on WABC was overloaded, beings it only come on 3 times a week, beings it didn't ever get released onto a nationwide chain, that it might be better for me to step off out here and take a swing at her six times a week, and cover this country that's so newly settled and where there's a possible chance for alot of new things to get started.
My best regards to all of the gang on Back Where I Come From. Tell them all to set their self down and write me a big long letter.
Take it easy but take it,