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Lost live Woody Guthrie recording unearthed

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A previously unheard live recording of folk legend and Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie will be released this fall, according to The Woody Guthrie Foundation's Web site.
 
The 1949 concert was recorded at Fuld Hall in Newark, N.J., and will be released on Sept. 6 with a 72-page accompanying booklet. The 75-minute concert features Guthrie and his second wife, Marjorie Mazia, who is believed to have put on the concert and acted as the master of ceremonies, said Michael Smith, publisher of Guthrie's archives in New York City.

"It's actually pretty funny. She spends a lot of the time keeping Woody on task, who keeps going all over the place talking and telling stories," Smith said.

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The recording features "Black Diamond," a song music historians never thought Guthrie recorded.

The concert originally was captured on a delicate recording wire which was common in the Forties and Fifties. Magnetic recording heads, similar to those used in tape recorders, stored information on the long, stainless-steel wire which was wound into a reel.

Smith said the recording was made by a college student at the time, who informally brought the recorder to the concert and set it up. The recording was turned over to the archive in 2001. Wire recordings are notoriously fragile and many became tangled and snarled, and were discarded before the sounds on them could be transferred.

Several engineers "painstakingly" worked to transfer the audio from the wires and digitally remaster it for release on CD. Smith said this is the first time a live Guthrie concert has been commercially released. "Joe Wertz

 

 

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