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Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and one of the most significant figures in American folk music. His work focused on themes of American socialism and anti-fascism. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new generation of young people were inspired by folk singers such as Guthrie. The American Folk Revival was beginning to take place, focused on the issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and Free Speech Movement. Pockets of folk singers were forming around the country in places such as Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. One of Guthrie's visitors at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital was the 19-year-old Bob Dylan, who idolized Guthrie. Woody Guthrie died of complications of Huntington's disease on October 3, 1967. By the time of his death, his work had been discovered by a new audience, introduced to them through Dylan, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and his son Arlo.
The Asch Recordings, recorded between 1944 and 1949, are a series of albums featuring some of the most famous recordings of US folk musician Woody Guthrie. The recordings were recorded by Moses "Moe" Asch in New York City. The songs recorded by Asch comprise the bulk of Guthrie's original material and several traditional songs. They were issued on a variety of labels over the years under the labels Asch, Asch-Stinson, Asch-Signature-Stinson, Disc, Folkways and Smithsonian Folkways. The Smithsonian Folkways label repackaged and arranged these sessions in a series of 4 discs between 1997 and 1999; this is the most current release of these recordings.