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The Power of Pete Seeger and his banjo.
on October 23, 2009
There is no questioning that Pete Seeger is an icon in the music world. He is a folk legend but also an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - quite a stretch for some people to imagine; but what else could you expect from a man whose music has moved to action civil rights activists and union organizers.
This book describes Pete Seeger's life, mainly from his college years to about 2006. There are wonderful forwards by the editors and Tom Paxton, which will give you an idea of the depth of Seeger, if you have no idea who he is (but how could you not know his music?). Pictures from the collection of Pete and Toshi are integrated throughout the book.
There is much mention of how blue blooded Seeger is, but this is really never gone into in any depth to satisfy my curiosity..
His meeting and collaborations with Woody Guthrie and Guthrie's influence on Seeger is explained; but Pete's private life, his marriage with Toshi and some of his heartbreaks are also described. The period of his life and the effect of the years of the Red Scare are well delved into. The much told story of Dylan and Pete at the Newport Folk Festival is made clear and the birth of the Clearwater Movement for the Hudson is included.
It is interesting to learn how Pete wrote `Where Have All the Flowers Gone' from a Ukrainian folk song and how `We Shall Overcome' was developed. He truly is the beloved father of the American folk movement, even starting David Guard of the Kingston Trio on his way with the Seeger book ` How to Play a Banjo'.
As for the included CD, it is nice to have this 36 minute - 10 songs of Pete in his best voice. It contains his best known pieces.
Turn, turn, Turn/ Talking Union/ If I Had a Hammer/ Where Have All the Flowers Gone/ We shall Overcome/ Waist Deep in the big Muddy/ Sailing down My Golden River/ Abiyoyo/ Winoweh/ My Get up and Go.
The book and CD are truly essential for anyone interested in music of America.