Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Pete Seeger: American Favourite Ballads Vol 5 (Folkways/Elite)
Now closing in on 90, Seeger has had a great deal of attention lately: first Martin Scorsese's film on Dylan to '66 included interviews with him, and then Springsteen raided Pete's vast catalogue for his recent studio album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. He was also nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by an e-mail petition. Seeger's contribution to American popular culture has not just been through the songs he wrote (If I Had A Hammer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Turn Turn Turn which enjoyed huge popularity in the protest years of the early 60s), and nor is it just his political activism and unrepentant socialism. One of his most enduring feats was to record a series of album from 1957 which retrieved dozens of folk songs from being lost forever. This album is the fifth in a series which once more brings those songs to life (and adds a few others recorded at the same time). With just his trusty banjo he sings stories of folks in small towns, on the road or living in the backwoods. Down Beat magazine once refered to Seeger as "America's tuning fork" although others described him as his country's conscience. This volume collects up what might be called cowboy or frontier songs (Trail to Mexico, Old Joe Clark, Buffalo Gals, Sioux Indians etc) and also some classic blues (St James Infirmary). A legend in our lifetime.
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