Item #List2441 An Archive of Songs, Some Annotated, and a Partial Draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People from the Collection of Harold Ambellan, Guthrie’s Collaborator and Benefactor. Music - Folk Music, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, Harold Ambellin.
An Archive of Songs, Some Annotated, and a Partial Draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People from the Collection of Harold Ambellan, Guthrie’s Collaborator and Benefactor.
An Archive of Songs, Some Annotated, and a Partial Draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People from the Collection of Harold Ambellan, Guthrie’s Collaborator and Benefactor.
An Archive of Songs, Some Annotated, and a Partial Draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People from the Collection of Harold Ambellan, Guthrie’s Collaborator and Benefactor.
[Music - Folk Music] Guthrie, Woodrow Wilson; Ambellin, Harold

An Archive of Songs, Some Annotated, and a Partial Draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People from the Collection of Harold Ambellan, Guthrie’s Collaborator and Benefactor.

New York: 1940s. Eighty-five pages, including sixty loose pages and a partial draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People, totaling twenty-five pages. With one handwritten page. One page - a typewritten copy of “The Ballad of Harry Bridges” - with a handwritten note by Guthrie to Ambellan. With photocopies of several letters from Guthrie to Ambellan included. Also with a broadside of the Carol Tree Carol by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax (1940) and a notecard with the lyrics to “Hawl Away Joe” written Inscription states “Here you are Harold, hope it aint late. Well if it is will be singing about old Harry for a many a day to come. Pour it on em, Boy. Woody G.”. Item #List2441

A fascinating collection of material from the collection of Harold Ambellan, Woodie Guthrie’s friend, collaborator and landlord during an important creative period for Guthrie in the 1940s. The group contains a partial draft of Guthrie’s Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People, which was written while Guthrie was living in Ambellan’s loft, as well as a collection of over sixty loose songsheets not included in the book. Of these, over thirty are not listed in Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center finding aid. The sixty pages include variant titles and verses to recorded and published versions, with some items attributed to Ledbelly, and overall the group should shed light on scholar’s efforts to map out the landscape of the American folk song at the time of Guthrie’s work. The typescript draft generally matches the published version, with the occasional typo.

Nora Guthrie writes in her introduction to Hard Hitting Songs of the influence of Ambellan on Guthrie’s creative process. Ambellan was an artist and sculptor and part time musician, and Guthrie lived in Ambellan’s loft on 21st Street. “The loft was mostly filled with Ambellan’s sculptures, which were abstract and very large. However, the couple managed to throw a cot up in the back of the loft for Woody to crash on… Evenings at the loft often included impromptu hootenannies, where Woody and Pete’s [Seeger] musician friends would gather to raise some money to help pay the Ambellans’ rent… There was a lot of singing, and a lot of songwriting, and it was in the 21st Street loft that Hard Hitting Songs came into existence.” Guthrie wrote “Vigilante Man” and “Hard Travellin” while staying at the Ambellans’ loft.

Nora Guthrie continues: “ Alan Lomax’s father, John Lomax, had collected a group of songs that dealt with migrant workers’, share crop farmers’, and industrial workers’ issues, many of the lyrics protesting workers’ conditions and advocating for their rights. At the time, the material was considered ‘too hot to handle’ by government employees, so Alan handed it over to Pete [Seeger] and Woody to browse through. They loved the material and together with Alan, they decided to create a new songbook they would embellish with their own writings and commentary, as well as some additional original songs. Working fourteen hours a day, they completed the songbook in about five months. […] The manuscript, which they had titled Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People, was left behind in the loft, literally saved by Elisabeth Higgens until its existence became known in the 1960s, when it was first published in 1967.”

Overall a very scarce relic of an important period in Guthrie’s career with a fantastic association. Guthrie ephemera and archival pieces are notoriously scarce on the market, with single letters occasionally surfacing.

Price: $12,500.00