Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Essential Pete Seeger

I made a stop at our local library yesterday and happened to pick up this CD, among others, and later heard of Seeger's passing. This man has been an important part of music and politics for considerably longer than I have been alive and is a major American icon. As I said previously, he helped to create the folk movement of the 50's and 60's - and had been a proponent of the music even before that - and has influenced and collaborated with some of the country's greatest artists. While he lived a long life, it is never long enough when talking about someone with this man's passion and talent.

No one collection could ever cover a career that has spawned 8 decades (!) and, I understand, at least 100 albums (!), but this is a good overview with many of his most well-known numbers. Most of these are solo tracks, with Pete playing his iconic banjo as well as 12 string guitar, though also included is "Goodnight Irene", the big hit for the Weavers of Lead Belly's number. There are a number of live numbers mixed with studio tunes, showing how Pete was always able to connect with his audience and get them to join in. There are versions of "If I Had a Hammer", "Talking Union", "John Henry", "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore", "This Land is Your Land", "Guantanamera", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "Turn, Turn Turn" and "The Bells of Rhymney" that the Byrds covered and closing with "We Shall Overcome".

I know his music isn't for everyone, but anyone who grew up in the 60's grew up with this man's music and this is a fine compilation.