When Woody Guthrie died in 1967 at 55, among his belongings were thousands of complete song lyrics for which he had not written out music or made recordings. Many were written in the 1940s and ’50s, in the Guthrie family home on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
I love that they are called the Mermaid Sessions after where the family home was located. Also, get this next part…
The lyrics remained in boxes for decades, but once his daughter Nora found them in the 1990s, she knew they had to be shared. She approached English singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg to select some to set to music. The Chicago rock band Wilco came aboard soon after, with Jeff Tweedy writing music – along with his late bandmate Jay Bennett on some songs – and the band recording with both Tweedy and Bragg on vocals.
I always think this is cool when things are found and people want to collaborate and pay tribute to someone great.
I’m definitely a Wilco fan, and I had NOT heard of the Mermaid Sessions before, so I’m very intrigued to listen to this collection. Come Saturday you will be able to check it out as well…all 48 tracks. Will you be checking it out?