Friday, May 26

The Legendary Pete Seeger

"A good song can only do good, and I am proud of the songs I have sung."
- Pete Seeger statement to federal district court while on trial for contempt, 1961

Thanks to the current release by Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger has been getting a great deal of attention lately. Seeger is a legendary folk musician and surely deserves the renewed interest in his catalog. He was greatly influenced by such music pioneers and contemporaries as Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie, and later became friendly with the latter as well as a young Bob Dylan. Seeger's political outlook was leftist and sometimes controversial; he was among those targeted by the now-infamous House Un-American Activities Commitee during the Red Scare of the 1950s. It may not be surprising that some of his work was appropriate for Springsteen's recent effort and its statement about contemporary American politics.

Featured here are two tracks of a political nature, including one covered on Springsteen's album, as well as two additional tracks. Nirvana fans may be particularly interested in checking out "Black Girl" as they may know it as "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" from Cobain and company's great MTV Unplugged performance. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is included here simply because it's a fun romp, even if it is a tale of a hobo's fantasy of a utopian land with lemonade springs and cigarette trees.

Pete Seeger - John Brown's Body
Pete Seeger - Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep
Pete Seeger - Black Girl
Pete Seeger - The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Seeger, born in 1919, is still living and resides in New York. He remains a committed political activist and environmentalist. Learn more about Seeger at Wikipedia or The Pete Seeger Appreciation Site.

The Pete Seeger Appreciation Site also features recordings of Seeger performing each of the songs included on Springsteen's Seeger Sessions album. Very, very cool to hear.

Buy Pete Seeger recordings from Amazon.


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