Alamac Singers Line-up:
Biography of Almanac Singers:
The group maintained a very salt-of-the-earth image, portraying themselves almost as hillbillies, before breaking into slaughtering political commentary songs. Their tunes were decidedly anti-establishment, pro-union, and the group itself was supported by the Communist party. Like Joe Hill and others before them, the Almanacs adapted traditional melodies to match their contemporary protest lyrics.
In 1941, Woody Guthrie, who had befriended the trio, joined the group. He was soon followed by Sis Cunningham and folklorist Alan Lomax's sister Bess. Once Guthrie, et al, joined the group, the Almanacs seemed to catch on to the open-door policy that Woody infected everywhere he went.
Artists that joined the lineup or performed with the group included Burl Ives (who would, after the McCarthy era, become famous as an actor and country singer), blues artists Josh White and Leadbelly, and many others.
Each member of the Almanacs was quite politically active in Left Wing politics, and the group was oftentimes a sounding board for the Communist party. While they focused much of their effort on anti-war and protest music, the group changed their tune after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when they began singing anti-Hitler tunes. Their popularity fizzled after newspapers began printing stories reminding music fans of the Almanacs' pre-WWII anti-establishment protest songs.
In fact, the group's affiliation with the Communist party during this period would later mean the undoing of many of their careers. When entertainers were brought to testify in the McCarthy hearings, most of them were accused of being communists. While some, like Josh White, contended that they had been duped by the party, others like Ives provided names of communists he knew, while still others, like Pete Seeger, refused to testify, pleading the 1st Amendment—freedom to associate with any group.