Peter "Pete" Seeger is an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly 's " Goodnight, Irene ", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Alec Wilkinson, "The Protest Singer: Pete Seeger and American folk music," in The New Yorker , pp. 44–53. ... Read More
It s no overstatement to say that American music and America itself would be very different without the lasting influence of the late singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (1912 1967). He was the prototype of the 20th Century rambling minstrel, turning his travels and observations into a huge body of topical and timeless music songs that contrasted our country s natural glories and sociopolitical shames, pro-labor songs, both anti- and pro-war songs, kids songs, patriotic and left-wing songs, music for everyday people to think about as they sing.
When the 21-year-old Pete Seeger first met Guthrie, six years his senior, backstage at a benefit concert in 1940, he was enthralled by Guthrie s music, lyrical vision, and charisma. The two men started traveling and performing together, which was, in Pete s words, his own big, big education in learning about America. On the new 2-CD Pete Remembers Woody, Pete recounts his vivid firsthand reminiscences, wide-ranging and frequently humorous, of Woody s adult life Guthrie s transmutation of his experiences and omnivorous readings into popular although often controversial songs, his tips on freight-hopping and saloon singing, encounters with musical contemporaries Leadbelly and others, and many of the life lessons Pete has subsequently used in his own career, still ongoing in this Centennial year of Guthrie s birth.
Interspersed with Pete s recollections of Woody are versions of some of Guthrie s most famous songs performed by idealistic links in the topical music chain like Arlo Guthrie (dueting with Pete on one of the few Woody-Seeger co-writes, 66 Highway Blues ), the Work o the Weavers ( This Land is Your Land, So Long, It s Been Good to Know Yuh! ), CD producer David Bernz, whose own three-part Woody s Ghost serves to bookend and provide an intermission between the two CDs, and Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who added music to Woody s lyrics for Howdy Little Newlycome. The Vanaver Caravan, the 40-year-old troupe of musicians and dancers, performs the Depression plaint Do Re Mi, Union Maid, Pastures of Plenty and Peace Pin Boogie, while members of Hope Machine tackle I Ain t Got No Home and I ve Got to Know. Woody himself, with another of his running buddies, Cisco Houston, is heard on a 1940s recording of New York Town. Fink s banjo-playing on various traditional tunes helps tie together the masterful sequencing of spoken stories and related songs.
That two men Guthrie and Seeger with a passion to carry on and expand music s potential for social change among the less fortunate, as well as for entertainment should overlap, interact and inspire fellow and future musicians and listeners was a timely miracle. Listen to how it happened and how it lives on on this lively spoken and sung musical document.
Pete Seeger released 28 songs and stories about animals on two short LP records in 1955 to an enthusiastic audience. Ever since, they have been sung by generations of parents, grandparents, and children. The two original releases have been combined on this single CD creating an irresistible collection of songs to sing along with, to draw pictures about, to play hand games to, and to be enjoyed by the entire family.
A More Perfect Unionis a newly-recorded 16-song collaboration between Pete Seegerand longtime friend and fellow singer-songwriter Lorre Wyatt, on which the duo is joined by newer generations of socially conscious musicians Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, and Dar Williams, among others. (Seeger also has a second new release, Pete Remembers Woody, a two-CD spoken-word/musical tribute to Woody Guthrie.)
Seeger's abiding mission, shared with Wyatt, is to inspire sociopolitical involvement and personal inclusiveness through song. That goal shines through the 14 songs newly co-written with Wyatt. The duo addresses recent and ongoing political, economic and environmental issues alongside gentler appreciations of life s good moments, meditations on the future, and exhortations to individual action. The opening track, God s Counting on Me...God s Counting on You puts the responsibility for battling corporate greed, the BP oil spill, and other manmade catastrophes squarely in our hands. Time to turn things around/Trickle up, not trickle down, rasps Springsteen, while Pete reminds us, What we do, you and me/Will affect eternity.
Other hot button songs include This Old Man Revisited, an ironic scorcher about the joys of war with guest vocals by a never-grittier Steve Earle and deceptively gentle Dar Williams (who also appears on the sorrowful Hurricane Katrina aftermath, Memories Out of Mud). Tom Morello, former guitar-shredder for Rage Against the Machine and now recording and performing as the far folkier Nightwatchman, chips in on vocals and acoustic lead guitar on the CD s title song, which carries multiple layers of meaning. Somos el Barco (We are the Boat ),Wyatt s best-known solo composition, adds Emmylou Harris s sweet voice to Lorre s resolute tenor. There s more to this CD than political commentary.
Among the more lighthearted songs are the delightfully self-deprecating Old Apples (...still can make good sauce ) and Howling for Our Supper, a pet s-eye view of Pete and Lorre writing another pointless ditty when it s feeding time. On the heartwarming side, there are Wonderful Friends, a different version than found on one of two of Seeger s Grammy-winning Appleseed CDs, At 89 (2008), A Toast to the Times, and the closing Bountiful River. Throughout the CD, Pete and Lorre share and split vocal duties; Pete plays banjo and acoustic 12-string guitar, while Lorre handles the six-string acoustic and additional banjo. Providing a rich, acoustic instrumental bed are co-producers David Bernz (guitar, banjo, vocals, harmonica), engineer-percussionist Jeff Haynes, and a host of musicians based near Pete s Beacon, N.Y., home. The use of a wide variety of percussion adds an atmospheric, throbbing Third World tinge to many of the songs. Seeger and Wyatt, more than 25 years his junior, have been friends for more than 40 years and have co-written dozens of songs since then. Massachusetts-based Wyatt was sidelined for much of the last 15 years recovering from a stroke but has fully recovered and is back on [his] musical feet again.
26 topical songs from (along with Woody Guthrie) probably the greatest topical singer-songwriter in American history, the only collection of its kind! The recordings date from 1944 right up to the present with two new songs waxed just for this anthology, and include a previously unreleased version of Turn Turn Turn along with If I Had a Hammer; Talking Union; Where Have All the Flowers Gone; Which Side Are You On?; We Shall Overcome , and other classics.
These songs have been part of the fabric of America for a half century or more-and these five volumes of folk ballads recorded by Pete in the '50s and '60s were an integral part of our folk revival. Here are all 139 folk ballads on 5 CDs, each with its own booklet full of extensive notes; legendary songs and performances abound: John Henry; Clementine; Goodnight Irene; Yankee Doodle; Old Dan Tucker; Hole in the Bucket; This Land Is Your Land; America the Beautiful; Midnight Special; Froggie Went A-Courtin'; Boll Weevil; Erie Canal; Arkansas Traveler , and more!
This famous performance that had all of Carnegie Hall so riveted back in '63 was originally a single LP; this 2-CD set presents the complete concert (over two hours) for the first time! What an astonishing set this is: Deep Blue Sea; Oh, Freedom; Skip to My Lou; A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall; My Rambling Boy; Lady Margaret; This Land Is Your Land; We Shall Overcome , and more.