The latest installment in this definitive four-volume collection of Woody Guthrie’s recordiings focuses on his social and political material. As such, Asch Recordings, Vol. 3—Hard Travelin’ goes further than the earlier discs in the series toward showing how Guthrie influenced Bob Dylan and others who followed in his wake. In fact, several early Dylan songs are almost exact re-creations of tunes on this CD.
The 27-track collection includes lots of material about unions, and also about fighting Hitler, but it’s not all serious business: witness “Howdjadoo,” a children’s tune about a man who liked to shake hands with everyone, and “Ladies Auxiliary,” a witty look at women’s fashions. Some of Woody’s best-known songs are here, including “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You,” “Vigilante Man,” and “I Ain’t Got No Home in This World Anymore,” but there are also some obscurities, among them several previously unreleased tracks and the marvelous “Ship in the Sky,” a simple yet p[oignant ditty about the interdependency of all people.
Like the other CDs in this series, Volume 3 boasts superb sound quality and extensive liner notes, with detailed info on each track. All in all, a masterfully assembled reissue.