Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to Our New Catalog

The library has just switched to a new catalog. All the content is still there, but the interface is new. Even though it does offer improvements such as auto-suggest, we realize that its merely being different can make it difficult. We are more than happy to help you.
  • Come in and stop at the desk.
  • Phone us at 617-747-8002.
  • Email us or use Google Talk to chat with us at

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ask a Librarian: Now via Google talk

Chat reference is now available through Google talk. Because all Berklee students, faculty and staff have accounts through Google, a big advantage over our previous Meebo service is that we will already have your email address if you are no longer online when we answer your question.

The Google talk section is located at the bottom left of your Berklee Gmail web browser window. If you don't see it, look in your email settings under Chat and make sure it is turned on.

As always, you can click on the Ask a Librarian link on the library home page, and you can also email us with your reference questions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Billy Bragg on Woody Guthrie

July 14 marks the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birthday.

As part of the festivities, Billy Bragg is touring in support of Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, his recordings with Wilco of Woody Guthrie's unrecorded lyrics, and played the Somerville Theater recently.

Bragg's concerts have always included just as much talking as singing, and he devoted his first set to Woody Guthrie material and discussion about it. Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter, approached Bragg, a socialist punk-influenced folky, and Wilco with the project out of concern that her father's legacy had been reduced to a 2-dimensional character. Guthrie was known only for writing "This Land Is Your Land" and for influencing Bob Dylan, and Bragg embraced the opportunity to showcase the many aspects of his work. Besides displaying the range of Guthrie's lyrics, he also emphasized the range of Guthrie's life experiences. Although the Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma native is thought to have embodied Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (PS3537.T3234 G7 1993), he lived in Coney Island after WWII, where Bragg explained that his life resembled On the Town, the 1949 Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra musical about sailors on leave in New York. In describing a song with the tempo marking "supersonic boogie," Bragg recalled a story from Guthrie's son Joady, that Woody was always fascinated by gadgets and that he asked Joady to bring him an electric guitar when he was hospitalized with Huntington's Disease; Bragg joked that had Guthrie been in better health and lived longer, he could have pissed off Pete Seeger at Newport.

Bragg also commented that Guthrie had become the captive of academics, and that Bragg was thrilled to rescue him. While our Woody Guthrie Centennial does include scholarly analysis of his life, work, and cultural impact, it also includes scores of his songs. So check out some Guthrie scores and breath new life into this American icon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

NPR Salutes Woody Guthrie

Stan Getz Library aren't the only ones honoring the Woody Guthrie centennial.

NPR's Talk of the Nation devoted a segment to him, noting:
While Guthrie left a lasting mark on music, culture and politics, he struggled with family poverty, tragedies and personal demons.

Jeff Place, head archivist of the Smithsonian Folklife Collection, and Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum, joined NPR's Neal Conan on the National Mall to celebrate the Guthrie centennial. Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell joined them there to play some of Guthrie's most memorable songs.
Woody Guthrie's Indelible Mark On American Culture

In addition Terry Gross interviewed Neil Young for Fresh Air about his new album Americana (CD 34182), which includes Young's version of Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Young discusses the forgotten, controversial verses to the song.

Neil Young's Fascination With 'Americana'