life:

Happy Birthday, Woody Guthrie.

On assignment for LIFE in 1943, photographer Eric Schaal followed Guthrie as he gave impromptu performances around New York — in bars, on the stoops of brownstones, on the subway. Engaging and at ease, the Woody Guthrie of these photos is exactly where he liked to be: among working people, and the children of working people, guitar in hand, sharing his own lyrics and the lyrics of countless other folk musicians with the very men and women those lyrics were always written for, and about.

See the photos here on LIFE.com.

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