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StoryCorps in Oklahoma: "Wow, That Was Really Cool!" Mom's Musical Influence (ENCORE) (Dec 30, 2011)
Wednesday, a Tulsa-based foundation announced the Woody Guthrie Archives would be moved from the New York home of the songwriter's daughter to Oklahoma in time for the centennial of Guthrie's birth. Judith Blake and her daughter shared memories of discovering the music of Oklahoma's most well-known Dust Bowl troubadour at StoryCorps in Oklahoma.

Caroline Denham:
"Do you remember any of the songs you used to sing to me when I was a baby?"

Judith Blake:
"Oh, yes! We used to sing 'Toura Loura' to you, and 'Home on the Range'…"

"…and the other one I remember is 'You Are My Sunshine.' And I was thinking about that because now I’m so interested in folk songs. I just started wondering, did your mom sing those to you, or why did you choose those to sing to your kids?”

JB: "I’m not quite sure. I don’t remember my mom singing songs, ever. My dad liked to dance, and watch The Lawrence Welk Show. He liked to listen to such a variety of music. How do you think you learned to like so many different kinds of music?"

CD: "I don’t know. I think [music] always really compelled me as a kid. Just hearing things in different places, I guess I always noticed music. It wasn’t ever really background to me. I remember you dragging me, in protest, to the Woody Guthrie museum."

"I didn’t really realize how much you liked it until much later on. I think just recently you were telling me you remembered it."

"Well, I was reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles recently, and I had this really vivid memory of the first time I heard Bob Dylan being in that museum. We listened to a lot of 60s music in the house growing up. I remember Beatles records and that stuff, but not really Bob Dylan. So I remember at the Woody Guthrie museum listening to a bunch of his songs. And this song came on, and it just really blew me away. I really noticed it above all the other songs, and remember having this vivid experience with it. I asked you to buy every CD, and I just poured over them, and I could never find that song. Then I realized a lot later, that it wasn’t Woody Guthrie that had that impact on me, it was Bob Dylan. And it was 'Song to Woody.'"

"But in the process of pouring over all those Woody Guthrie songs, I also really came to love those, and the stories."

"What I think is so funny is how, as a parent, you always wonder what effect it’s going to have on your kids. Are they going to eventually turn around and say, ‘Wow, that was really cool!’”

Produced for KGOU by Brian Hardzinski, with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording and collecting stories of everyday people. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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