George Will doesn’t get “This Land is Your Land”
While breezily discoursing on the emotional pain of the worst unemployment record in decades, Will happened to mention that the “opening soundtrack” to the movie, featuring a new version of Woody Guthrie’s classic This Land is Your Land, was (and I quote) “weird.”
Check out the song for yourself, via the interesting free music site LaLa:
Will, the bow-tied baseball-ed embodiment of white-bread conservatism, is about as stuffy as a man can be, so it’s no surprise that he completely misses the point of this funkified classic by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Jones sounds like a young Aretha unleashed. She and the Dap-Kings turn out to be a fascinating story in their own right, a collective devoted to the classic funk of the James Brown style.
Their sound is brassy and tight, but without synthesizers or digital gear, giving their songs an analog funkiness that’s timeless, sexy, and in your face. They even turn out to be the secret weapon behind the huge success of Amy Winehouse and her hits “Back to Black” and “You Know I’m No Good.”
But the truth is, of course, that George Will could never in a million years say anything good about this greatest of all American folk songs, funkified or not, because the lyrics challenge the unbounded faith in private property espoused by him and other American conservatives.
In the glossy, funny, but not phony movie, we only hear the first of Guthrie’s words. and then an up-dated fade-out of the song from the band, mentioning locales such as Houston and L.A.
Is it possible that after all these decades, the lyrics are still too radical for most movie-going Americans? Take a look or a listen, and decide for yourself …
As I went walking, I saw a sign there
And on that sign it said "Private Property"
But on the other side it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me !