Solo performer: Woody Guthrie (vocals, guitar, harmonica). Reissue producers: Rob Santos, Nora Guthrie, Glenn Korman. Recorded in New York, New York on April 26 & May 3, 1940. Includes liner notes by Dave Marsh & Woody Guthrie. Digitally remastered by Doug Pomeroy (Pomeroy Audio). American folk music has produced few artists as gifted and complex as Woody Guthrie. Guthrie's talents as a singer, harmonica player, and guitar player were merely ordinary, but as a songwriter, storyteller, and provocateur Guthrie had few equals. Guthrie's genius lay in his gift for seamlessly integrating his leftist political principles into his tales of common folks. Nowhere is this gift more evident than on DUST BOWL BALLADS. The fourteen-song set, originally released in 1940 on two albums of 78s, contains some of Woody Guthrie's most immediate and vibrant compositions, not surprising given that Guthrie had lived through the horrific Oklahoma dust storms of the early '30s. DUST BOWL BALLADS benefits from its thematic cohesion, which allows it to play as a travelogue through the hard lives of Okie refugees. A number of tunes here will be instantly familiar: "I Ain't Got No Home," "Vigilante Man," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "Do Re Mi," and "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh" are all campfire standards. The less well-known tunes here, however, are no less great. Particularly memorable are "Tom Joad" (a seven-minute Cliff Notes version of "The Grapes of Wrath"), and "Talking Dust Bowl Blues." A classic album.