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Dangerous Songs!?

Dangerous Songs!?

May 12, 1998
4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: May 12, 1998
  • Release Date: May 12, 1998
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 49:41
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0013AWVH6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,582 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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Format: Audio CD
JFK, Lyndon Johnson, The Establishment, The Vietnam War . . . Pete Seeger was a well-known artist/folksinger, his mother a composer of quality and renown. And when the era of hootenanny of the fifties and early sixties were gone, and Pete Seeger was no longer one of the Weavers, he challenged the American conscience with these "dangerous songs." And why dangerous? We must not forget that in an age of McCarthy and his witchhunts, people like Pete Seeger were in danger of being labeled communists and being persecuted whenever they gave a wake-up call to common sense, social responsibility and budding eco-awareness. One of the songs,DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI (thoughts are free) an adaptation of a song long used among German-speaking cultures (German, Austrian, Swiss, South Tirolean, German-speaking and -singing Jews) has been around since the 16th or 17thcentury (country or time of origin not entirely clear), needed only to be whistled or hummed to indicate to others that the whistler was a freedom-seeker.What a fine choice of a song to bring to the "silent majority" opposing war in general, and the Vietnam War in particular.
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After Red Channels named them as Communist sympathizers in 1950, Lee Hays of the Weavers took the fifth when he appeared before the HUAC and his partner in this pioneering folk quartet, Pete Seeger refused to even do that (on 1st Amendment grounds). Pete was convicted of contempt and placed under court ordered restrictions. There were additional punishments. DECCA deleted all Weavers recordings from the catalog, a broadcast ban against their songs was put in place and whatever concerts they arranged got disrupted by anti-Red protests.

The Weavers disbanded in 1952 but in Dec. '55 they reunited for a sold out Carnegie Hall show that was recorded by indie label VANGUARD, an LP that sold well. It took until a 1968 appearance on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR for Seeger to finally get beyond the broadcast ban. In that light and given the volatile times, it's surprising COLUMBIA was willing to issue his DANGEROUS SONGS!? (CL 2503/CS9303) album in '66, as some of its tracks were anti-Vietnam War.

The LP's premise is that songs of protest have existed for many centuries, and in some unusual forms.

The nursery rhyme "Robin the Bobbin" dates to Henry the Eighth's takeover of the Church of England. "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" is believed to be an expression of the Scots' disapproval of their Queen, her lavish court and French chef. Although very abstract, "Little Jack Horner" represents a man who in Henry's time testified against the elderly abbot of Glastonbury. As a reward, John Horner was given a portion of seized Church lands (his Xmas pie).
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Format: Audio CD
Pete's politics are hardly outdated. Anyone who thinks so never listened to "Dangerous Songs". making thr connection may be difficult for some and they are in the greatest danger.
Musically, they are as tuneful, musical, and provocative as all of Pete's performances. Buy It.
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Pete Seeger - our great folk and protest singer - was blacklisted during the McCarthy era - and the effects continued throughout the turmoil of the '60s. This CD was his answer to those who try to shut the mouths of people 'speaking truth to power." He unearths the political content hidden in many songs, including old "nursery" rhymes - and offers a cross-section of terrific protest songs. My favorite: "Die Gedanken sind frei" ("Your Thoughts Are Free"), sung by German anti-Nazis among others. I use it as the theme song to my dramatic multimedia lecture program, THE WHITE ROSE STUDENT ANTI-NAZI RESISTANCE - AND HEROES IN THE FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY - based on my book, "SOPHIE SCHOLL AND THE WHITE ROSE" here on amazon. Pete signed a copy of the song's sheet music for me. A great moment!
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