Dust Bowl Ballads

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Dust Bowl Ballads
Dust Bowl Ballads 1940 Album Cover.jpeg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1940 (1940-07)
RecordedApril 26, May 3, 1940, Camden, New Jersey
LabelVictor Records
ProducerRobert P. Weatherald
Woody Guthrie chronology
Dust Bowl Ballads
The Columbia River Collection
Professional ratings
Review scores
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[1]
Allmusic5/5 stars[2]

Dust Bowl Ballads is an album by Woody Guthrie, recorded for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey in 1940.[3] It was Guthrie's first commercial recording and the most successful album he made. It is considered to be the first or one of the very first concept albums.[4]

The Dust Bowl Ballads was originally released as two three-disc collections of 78 rpm records. Twelve sides, including the double-sided "Tom Joad", were included in this release, but two of the thirteen songs, "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Dust Bowl Blues" were left out due to length. All tracks were recorded at Victor studios in Camden, New Jersey on April 26, 1940, except "Dust Can't Kill Me" and "Dust Pneumonia Blues" which were recorded on May 3. In 1964, during the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, a reissue including all tracks from the sessions was released in LP format by Folkways Records after RCA refused Guthrie's request to re-issue the album.[5] The complete Dust Bowl Ballads remains available on compact disc through the Smithsonian Institution's Folkways Collection.[6]

The songs on Dust Bowl Ballads are semi-autobiographical, chronicling Guthrie's experience as a so-called "Okie" during the Dust Bowl era, where Guthrie witnessed the economic hardship that many migrant workers faced in California. Like many of Guthrie's later recordings, these songs contain an element of social activism, and would be an important influence on later musicians, including Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs and Joe Strummer.

Track listing[edit]

The following songs were written by Woody Guthrie, except for "Blowin' Down This Road", which is by Woody Guthrie and Lee Hays.

Track Song Title Other
1. The Great Dust Storm (Dust Storm Disaster) 26622 – A
2. I Ain't Got No Home in This World Anymore 26624 – A
3. Talkin' Dust Bowl Blues[7] 26619 – A
4. Vigilante Man 26624 – B
5. Dust Can't Kill Me 26620 – B
6. Pretty Boy Floyd LPV 502
7. Dust Pneumonia Blues 26623 – B
8. Blowin' Down This Road 26619 – B
9. Tom Joad – Part 1 26621 – A
10. Tom Joad – Part 2 26621 – B
11. Dust Bowl Refugee 26623 – A
12. Do Re Mi 26620 – A
13. Dust Bowl Blues LPV 502
14. Dusty Old Dust 26622 – B
15. Talkin' Dust Bowl Blues (alternate take) Buddha records CD reissue only

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Rolling Stone review
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ https://www.loc.gov/collections/woody-guthrie-correspondence-from-1940-to-1950/articles-and-essays/timeline-of-woody-guthrie/
  4. ^ "The return of concept album". The Independent. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  5. ^ Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On Episode 20. Broadcast February 21, 2010.
  6. ^ Dust Bowl Ballads. Smithsonian Folkways Records.
  7. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 18 – Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.