Unfortunately due to a prior family engagement I was unable to attend the 4oth anniversary gig tribute to Woody Guthrie in the Empire Music Hall Belfast last Sunday, Guthrie is a man for whom I have the utmost respect.
For those who may not know, Guthrie was a political activist and left wing protest singer.
HE HAD THE REMARKABLE ABILITY TO COMBINE MUSICAL GENIUS WITH A PENCHANT FOR ADDRESSING THE PRESSING SOCIAL ISSUES OF THE LATE 1950'S AND EARLY 1960'S.
As an avid Celtic fan I am partial to his song 'This Land Is Your Land' but am also a fan of his other songs such as his tribute to legendary revolutionary Victor Jara.
Indeed it is Guthries song Deportees that encapsulates all the genius of this unsung hero for me. As someone once commented to me the song shows how the rigours of capitalism has led society to totally disregard those of no property and have cast them aside without a thought.
Indeed it is held that there is not a protest singer of the 60's or 70's that was not either directly or indirectly influenced by Woody Guthrie. Indeed the legendary Bob Dylan viewed him as a mentor and often visited Guthrie in hospital while he was dying from Huntingston Disease. Indeed such was his influence on Dylan, that Dylan penned Tribute to Woody in his memory.
It is therefore sad that today we are devoid of artists of the calibre of Guthrie. Today's 'artists' do not question the status quo but merely reinforce it by providing youngsters with a surfeit of drugs, sex and anorexia.
Guthrie possessed a genius that will never again be recreated and it is safe to say that the world has been the loser in his absence.
Hey Woody when will we see your likes again?