If you get to watch the HBO-owned video of the pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, don’t miss the performance near the end by Pete Seeger and his grandson, along with Bruce Springsteen and a giant choir, of the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land is Your Land.” The verses that are usually sung are all the warm fuzzes about unity. But Guthrie had a lot more going on than that in this song that and Seeger knows it. I dunno if it was because of him that these two verses were sung, but I betcha he had something to do with it.
In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.
And this one which is actually an even lesser-known version of a similar verse:
There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.
(In 2005, I did an interview with Pete, on the 50th anniversary of his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Recorded it all. You can read my stories and hear some of the audio here. Including Pete’s wonderful recipe for strawberry shortcake.)