Friday, July 11, 2008

Good-Bye Girls I'm Going To Boston



For two days I've had Arlo Guthrie's twang in my head, reminding me that I want to write this post. I can't go to bed without telling you that I adore Arlo, sure, but I'm really in love with Pete Seeger.

My four-year-old recently learned how to take charge of the cd player. She has a cd by Woody and Arlo Guthrie, and her favorite song on it is "I'm Gonna Mail Myself to You". Arlo sounds like he fell into the bottom of a well, which makes his voice that much more chipmunk-y on this catchy tune. "This Land is Your Land" follows "I'm Gonna Mail Myself to You" and it is sung by Woody. He always gets cut off after the first verse or so, when my daughter realizes "This Land is Your Land" has nothing to do with sticking bubble gum in anybody's mouth.

I started thinking about Arlo, Alice's restuarant, box car jumping, Wilco and Billy Bragg, musical storytellers, activism through art, and Pete Seeger. About this time last year I checked out a cd from the library entitled A Child's Celebration of Folk Music. The whole album was enjoyable, but I was drawn to the sounds made by Pete Seeger. I searched my library's database to find that Mr. Seeger worked hard to entertain children and adults, and I put holds on several of his cds, all of them excellent.

Sometimes I think of the songs as a musical version of waldorf-inspired toys: simple, natural, well-made and open-ended. Enduring. They invite the listener to interact, imagine and explore. A man and his banjo, sometimes whistling or clapping his hands, always singing with inviting joy. If you like folk music, maybe even if you don't, you can't go wrong with Woody, Arlo or Pete, but my heart belongs to Mr. Seeger.

I'm Gonna Mail Myself to You
(written by Woody Guthrie, but sung by Arlo in my house)

I'm gonna wrap myself in paper
I'm gonna dot myself with glue
Stick some stamps on top of my head
I'm gonna mail myself to you

I'm gonna tie me up in a red string
I'm gonna tie a blue ribbon too
Climb up inside my mailbox
I'm gonna mail myself to you

When you find me in your mailbox
Cut the string and let me out
Wash the glue from off my fingers
Stick some bubblegum in my mouth

When you find me in your mailbox
Wash the glue from off my head
Fill me up with ice cream sodas
Tuck me into a nice warm bed.

I'm gonna wrap myself in paper
I'm gonna dot myself with glue
Stick some stamps on top of my head
I'm gonna mail myself to you

2 comments:

Melinda said...

Like the post, and agree with your music thoughts. My 6 year old daughter loves this album, too, especially the "mail" song.
We're big folk fans in this household, too ~~ and in fact, we just named our new son (3.5 mos old) Arlo :)

rachel said...

i LOVE the name Arlo. a few kids here and there are popping up with that name and it always makes me feel warm inside.