This was $4. Despite how one may feel about his political views, no one embodies folk music in the 20th century like Pete Seeger (1919-2014). He was in a class of his own in terms of not only performing and songwriting, but in the collection of folk songs. Perhaps it is the last feat which was Seeger’s strength and lasting legacy.
Pete Seeger Appreciation Page
This album was recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1963 right before Seeger was to set off on a tour of the world with his wife and children. The album is a pretty good collection of diversified folk and protest songs of the time with selections from Dylan, Guthrie, Paxton, and Seeger himself. On the back cover, Seeger thanks the songwriters, the teachers, and the song collectors who influenced him. It is quite a long list but if anyone wants to learn folk music, it is a good reference place to start. This is just my gut feeling and I have no real evidence to back it up, but I feel that Seeger had no lessors or juniors. Anyone who sang a song with conviction was to him his peer, despite all his contributions to the genre. Perhaps I am dead wrong on this issue, but I do not feel so. Anyway, the performance on the album is good here as well as the song selection. In all it makes for a good album.
For a sample, Bobby Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Going To Fall’ stuck in my mind. I always felt the song could have benefited if Dylan wrote it just a bit later in his career (1965 perhaps). At times, I feel it is a bit too derivative of Guthrie. However, Seeger recognized it as a masterpiece and at the time, I believe he felt it would be the song Dylan would be remembered for which is a pretty heavy statement that early in one’s career. As far as Dylan goes, it is just one masterpiece in a collection of masterpieces. One thing about Seeger is you can tell he enjoyed playing the songs he played. I think he really enjoyed playing this one.
While I was doing research on this (which I do less of these days), I came across the video on YouTube. I was taken aback on two things. First, how white the audience was, which was I guess was standard for the time. Second, I was taken aback with all the stunned looks from the audience. There are a lot of blank faces. Some people even look asleep. It is as if the bused the crowd in from some social dance. If you don’t like socially conscious folk music, why would you go to a concert where it was played? In contrast, the crowd on the record sound more supportive.
Anyway, this is a very fine record. Top Rating. I should add a disclaimer that a good chunk of this post was based on opinion rather than fact but why should you hold Music Blogs to a higher standard than Cable News?