This Land is Your Land

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Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

Three-part documentary series on American folk music, tracing its history from the recording boom of the 1920s to the folk revival of the 1960s.

In the depression of the 1930s, John Lomax found convicted murderer Leadbelly in a southern jail. Leadbelly's music was never quite as pure and untouched by pop as Lomax believed, but it set a new agenda for folk music, redefining it as the voice of protest, the voice of the outsider and the oppressed.

Dustbowl drifter Woody Guthrie fitted the mould perfectly and the two of them teamed up with Lomax's son Alan, Pete Seeger and Josh White - a group of friends who believed 'they could make a better world if they all got together and just sang about it'. Their songs and their radical politics took them to high places of influence, but brought about their downfall in the blacklisting 1950s.

Contributors include Pete Seeger, Rambling Jack Elliot, Anna Lomax, Tom Paxton, Roger McGuinn, Woody Guthrie's sister and daughter and Josh White's son.

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54 items

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