Pete Seeger

January 31, 2014 at 3:36 am (Uncategorized)

The death of Pete Seeger this week was a significant newsworthy event and newspapers across the globe and across the political spectrum ran appreciations for him.

And Seeger was a man of significance: Friend and comrade of Woody Guthrie; Member of the Weavers;.  A victim of the blacklist and a resistor of McCarthyism (he refused to answer questions for HUAC and was convicted of contempt of congress); fellow-travellor of the Communist Party (who eventually parted ways with it); defender of pure folk music (he allegedly tried to sever power cables for Dylan’s electric set at Newport) and so much more. He remained for many a moral centre for music and politics.

To tell you the truth, I’m not overly fond of Seeger’s singing or his banjo player (I don’t hate this, but they don’t move me very much). In fact many songs he has recorded, are bettered by others. But… there’s something about the conviction with which he sings that pulls me in every time, even in a song like “We Shall Overcome” (not one of my favourites, but there’s something about the way he sings it…)

Do yourself a favour and find “Pete Seeger’s Greatest Hits” and “If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope and Struggle.” Both are valuable as artifacts from a bygone era, and as part of the ecord of a man who truly believed a better world was possible. (Even if we don’t quite see eye to eye politically) .

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