Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The spiritual grandfather of the modern folk movement, Pete Seeger, has died.

In the 40s he was a popular performer of folk music which he gathered from around the country.  He was also an outspoken communist, which would get him in trouble soon enough.  In the early 50s he had some big hits as part of the Weavers before they had trouble with the blacklist.  But he made his way back, as big as ever, as a singer and songwriter, not to mention an activist.  (He was also an early backer of Dylan, though he allegedly wished he could cut the cable when Dylan first went electric).

So let's sing out today.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

In Martin Scorcese's Dylan movie, Peter Yarrow and Pete Seeger describe the famous cord-cutting threat incident. Dylan was at an acoustic folk-festival and to everyone's shock he played three very loud electric numbers and then walked off-stage. Seeger was embarrassed because his own father, a scholar of folk music, was wearing a hearing aid and the amplified electric music hurt his ears. So it wasn't anything anti-Bob. Or at least, that's what Seeger said long after the fact. Here's a similar version of his story.

Regardless of that, Seeger was something truly exceptional.

11:25 AM, January 29, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Seeger loved to present folk music to popular audiences (as he did in the Weavers), but he also loved pure undiluted American folk traditions. And unlike Dylan or Guthrie, he was also a virtuoso on the strings. Here's a great clip that shows off his skills.

And here is Seeger leading an audience in a radical old-time union song.

11:36 AM, January 29, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The Dylan story has become such a legend that I'm not sure it matters any longer what really happened.

4:19 PM, January 29, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

One more: Seeger doing a history lesson in period songs. The song from our campaign in the Philippines is quite horrific (a "krag" is a machine gun).

5:35 PM, January 29, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as American folk music, or is it just a bunch of separate traditions from lands across the world that have come here?

11:30 AM, January 30, 2014  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter