RR Auction will feature Woody Guthrie’s original lyrics to an apparently unrecorded song titled Hoovers Ville in its upcoming online sale.
Hooverville was a slang term for the shanty towns that sprang up on the edges of American cities during the worst years of the Great Depression.
Woody Guthrie wrote this song in Los Angeles in 1941
They’re named for President Herbert Hoover, who received much of the blame for the nation’s tanking economy.
Guthrie was himself a victim of the depression and among the legions of midwesterners who made their way on foot to California to find work.
On his way he learned the folk songs that would inform his development as an artist. When he arrived in California he got a job with local radio station KFVD, playing folk records and performing his own songs.
He was booted off the air in 1939 as a result of his socialist sensibilities and so continued his travels across the US.
Hoovers Ville was written in Los Angeles in May 1941. It describes the squalid conditions of the camps he’d known during the 1930s but was also inspired by the time he spent on LA’s Skid Row.
It was written at the height of his fame. Guthrie had penned his most famous song, This Land is Your Land, the previous year.
Handwritten lyrics by Guthrie are extremely rare at auction.
This is a particularly fine sheet displaying a bold signature.
It’s valued in excess of $7,000 ahead of the April 12 close date.
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