[Marxism] Highway 61 Again--A Book Review

Thomas thomasfbarton at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 23 19:07:38 MST 2014

Here’s another road story with political twist.

Hitchhiked from very Southern Indiana to the West Coast and back summer of 1959, college break.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

My road outfit was a short haircut, a blue seersucker suit, a very small suitcase and a pre-war Gibson jumbo guitar.’

That was to play the music of my Indiana place of origin, a combination of old time, bluegrass and Hank Williams style.

I say with all modesty that earlier that summer, yours truly, with Charlotte Bell, and Jimmy Neawedee, won first place at the Bill Monroe Brown County Jamboree Bluegrass talent search program, Nashville, Indiana, picking and singing The Dream Of The Miners Child and Freight Train Careless Love.  We had also learned and did some songs by another country musician we liked, Woody Guthrie.

Hitching hiking back East through Oklahoma, I was picked up by a farmer driving a beat up bailing wire repaired pickup truck, probably 60 or 70 years old.  The farmer, not the truck.

He said he’d give me a ride if I did him some music.

So, being in Oklahoma, I did Pretty Boy Floyd, a Guthrie song about how Floyd, from Shawnee, Oklahoma stole from the rich and gave food and money to poor farmers who had nothing.

When I got done, there was a silence and then the farmer said, “That’s a true song.”

After another silence he said, “Back then, we got our rifles and we came to town.  Lots of us did that.  Lots of towns.  We took the ice house, and the meat locker plant, and the electric, and the phone company and the banks, and tore up the bank paper on the farms.

“Then that son- of-a-bitch Roosevelt came in and made us give them all back.”

“But we’ll get them again someday.”


-----Original Message-----
>From: Gulf Mann via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
>Sent: Nov 22, 2014 12:22 PM
>To: Thomas F Barton <thomasfbarton at earthlink.net>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] Highway 61 Again--A Book Review
>Me and my best buddy hitched from DC to Nuevo Laredo towards the end
>of the Summer of 1958, likewise inspired by Kerouac. We wanted to have
>a life adventure (we did), meet interesting people (we did, including
>one solo driver that picked us up who may have been Paul Newman),
>smoke Mary Jane (we did), get laid (we did), drink (we did), and have
>bragging rights and cred in our college-bound circle (accomplished).
>I, too, wish I'd kept a journal or used a camera.
>>> *****************************************************************
>> On 11/21/14 3:07 PM, Ron Jacobs via Marxism wrote
>>> http://stillhomeron.blogspot.com/2014/11/going-down-highway-61-again.html
>> I hitchhiked from Dallas to Baltimore on Highway 61 in August 1965. It
>> is a miracle I made it in one piece. I was trying to emulate Jack
>> Kerouac, it had nothing to do with civil rights. Had many incredible
>> encounters including a ride with some guy in Maryland driving a hot-rod.
>> I wish I had kept a journal.

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