After some thought, and some prodding by an old-time classmate who had stayed in town and who had been in the class with me, I pinpointed the first time I heard a Woody song to a seventh grade music class, Mr. Dasher’s class whom we innocently then called "Dasher the Flasher" just for rhyming purposes when being a rhyming simon was the cat's meow and was the subject of many strange rhyme schemes, some not publishable even today, but which also with today’s sensibilities in mind about the young would not play very well and would probably have him up before some board of inquiry just because a bunch of moody, alienated hormonally-crazed seventh graders were into a rhyming fad that lasted until the next fad a few weeks or months later, when he in an effort to have us appreciate various genre of the world music songbook made us learn Woody’s This Land Is Your Land.
Little did we know until a few years later when some former student confronted him about why we were made to learn all those silly songs he made us memorize and he told that student that he had done so in order to, fruitlessly as it turned out, break us from our undying devotion to rock and roll, you know, Elvis, Chuck, Jerry Lee, Wanda, Brenda, Bo, Buddy, the Big Bopper and every single doo wop group, male or female we could get our hands on at Chip's Record Shop downtown or on the jukebox at the Dew Drop Diner where we corralled ourselves on many an after school afternoon. If anybody wants to create a board of inquiry over that particular Mister Dasher indiscretion complete with a jury of still irate "rock and roll will never die" aficionados you have my support.
Pete put a lot of it together, a lot of interests. Got the young interested in going back to the time when old cowboys would sing themselves to sleep around the camp fire out in the prairies, when sweat hard-working black share-croppers and plantation workers down South would get out a Saturday night illegal homemade jug and head to the electricity-less juke joint to chase the blues away, and when the people of the hills and hollows down in Appalachia would Saturday night get out the self-same illegal and homemade jug and run over to Bill Preston’s old seen better days red-painted barn and dance that last dance waltz to that weeping mountain fiddle as the mist rolled in from the damps.