Woody Guthrie was a troubadour of the people, the 20th century's Robert Burns (Scotland's bard who lived in the 1700's). His songs drew attention to the social and economic injustices of the Great Depression.Woody often performed with a message attached to his guitar: "This machine kills fascists."
He was passionate in his celebration of common people and advocacy for their rights, including the right to a fair wage for work and the right to live with dignity. When performing for audiences in the 1930's, he would hand out copies of the lyrics along with this message:
This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don't give a darn.Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do.