Holy Ground on Throwback Thursday by Woody Guthrie

The Jewish Holiday of Passover begins tomorrow evening. We at CMN would like to wish Chag Sameach to our Jewish friends and members, and share this wonderful classic by Woody Guthrie.

photo by Rabbi Moish Soloway
photo by Rabbi Moish Soloway

Woody’s Mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt, was an accomplished Yiddish poet. She lived across the street from Woody and his family in 1940’s Brooklyn. Woody and Aliza often discussed their artistic projects and critiqued each other’s works, finding common ground in their shared love of culture and social justice, despite very different backgrounds. After his death, Woody’s daughter Nora was surprised to discover a wealth of Jewish songs Woody had written. She shared them with The Klezmatics, and Wonder Wheel was born. Woody wrote Holy Ground in 1954.

Wonder Wheel is a 2006 album by neo-Klezmer band The Klezmatics. It features lyrics by Woody Guthrie which were unrecorded during his life. It won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album at the 49th Grammy awards.

Take off, take off your shoes
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
Take off, take off your shoes
The spot you’re standing, its holy ground

These words I heard in my burning bush
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
I heard my fiery voice speak to me
This spot you’re standing, it’s holy ground

That spot is holy holy ground
That place you stand it’s holy ground
This place you tread, it’s holy ground
God made this place his holy ground

Take off your shoes and pray
The ground you walk it’s holy ground
Every spot on earth I trapse around
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground

Every spot it’s holy ground
Every little inch it’s holy ground
Every grain of dirt it’s holy ground
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground

Read more: Woody Guthrie – Holy Ground Lyrics | MetroLyrics

3 comments

  1. Fantastic and moving contribution. Thank you! Loved finding out about another facet of
    WG’s life.

  2. Also very appropriate for “Earth” month– thanks so much for finding and sharing this!

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