Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Soundtrack The Grapes of Wrath

Often, whilst devouring the latest read, songs rolled through my head.   They might have matched the tone of the passage or the language of the writer.  They crept into my brain and imprinted the scenes like pictures in a movie.   My dream job would be Music Supervisor.  Short of that, I humbly put forward the soundtrack to The Grapes of Wrath, as I hear it:

1.  "The Worrisome Years" - Greg Brown.  Minus the anachronistic mention of television, this song fits the beginning of the book, as they prepare for their journey.  I like the feel of the music for this section.

2.  "All That You Need" - Joe Ely.  This was the first song that came to mind reading of the plight of a farmer.  This Texas songwriter exemplifies the hard-work and stone-faced determination of the entire generation.

3. "I've Seen That Old Highway" - Ray Wylie Hubbard.  After Granpa passes.

4. "Poor Man" - Old Crow Medicine Show.  This one speaks for itself.  Refrain: "And there ain't a thing for a poor man in this world."

5. "Lungs" - Townes Van Zandt.  A reference to one of my favorite lines from Ma.

6.  "All the Rain" - Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez.  For the dance scene at the government camp.

7.  "Pa" - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals.  Captures the sense of loss the Joad's experienced along the way.  Favorite pertinent line: "Like a joining of hands." 

8.  "Broken Plow" - Chris Knight.  Texas songwriter inspired by The Grapes of Wrath.  A recap of the story.

9.  "Shelter Me" - Buddy Miller.  For the flood.

10.  "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad" - Woody Guthrie.  Speaks specifically to the dust bowl experience.  Guthrie actually wrote a bunch of songs about the dust bowl, including two specifically about Tom Joad.

11.  "To the Harvest Look Ahead" - Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Fats Kaplin.   Closing song of hope.

12.  Bonus track: "This Land is Your Land" - Woodie Guthrie.  Touches on the "red" undertones of the novel.  Bet you never thought about one of the "great" patriotic songs being socialist?


  1. Just hopping by to say, hi.
    Kelly Bookend Diaries

  2. Love this. Very interesting, and I have to say I really like your song choices. I also wrote a quick post letting my readers know about it.

  3. Jennifer: wow, thanks for the shout-out! It is so interesting how books and music are linked in my mind. I am so glad to have found someone else who thinks along the same lines!

  4. If you are looking for an excellent contextual ad network, I recommend you try Chitika.