All posts tagged: Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

Remembering Pete Seeger

This isn’t a proper obituary of Pete Seeger. If that’s what you want, please read Popdose founder Jeff Giles’ beautifully written retrospective over at Ultimate Classic Rock. Instead, I wanted to write a little more personal about my own history with his music.

This Machine Kills Fascists

Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: Sportin’ a Woody for Folk Music

For almost 80 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose joins the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network to explore the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. This week, we journey back to the future, with a long-delayed songbook that today seems more relevant than ever… America is a nation on the ropes. The economy has been devastated by mismanagement at home and turmoil abroad. In Washington, a divisive Democratic president’s effort to address the crisis lead to accusations of socialism. Crops wither as the southwest suffers under record high temperatures and drought. Class resentments are simmering; the disenfranchised take to the streets to protest the depredations of the wealthy, while monied interests mobilize to break the back of organized labor. But enough about the 1930s. Let’s talk about the present. Just a few weeks from now — right around Labor Day, appropriately enough — the University of Nebraska Press, through its Bison Books imprint, will publish a new …

CD Review: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall”

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has always been rooted in tradition, and at this point, the group is a tradition itself — to the point that quite a few of its albums are compilations with the kind of sepia-toned artwork usually reserved for artists who have been dead for decades. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the band has enjoyed an artistic renaissance over the last decade, and the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — whose destruction forced the temporary closure of the historic Preservation Hall, their home base for nearly 50 years — has only fueled their fire. They don’t venture into the recording studio often — their last album of new material, the wonderful Shake That Thing, was released in 2004, and Preservation Hall Recordings mostly functions as an archival label — but when they do, they make it count. For proof, look no further than Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall, an album whose matter-of-fact title doesn’t even hint at the many treasures it holds in store. For …

CD Review: Pete Seeger, “Live in ’65”

Pete Seeger’s unlikely late-career resurgence continues with Live in ’65, Appleseed Recordings’ latest contribution to the folk icon’s vast catalog. Culled from a performance at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall, these previously unreleased recordings capture Seeger in his post-blacklist prime, leading a loudly appreciative audience through a 31-song set of standards, covers, and originals, including “Oh Susanna,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “This Little Light of Mine,” “Greensleeves,” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” The fidelity, as you might imagine, is a little suspect; though the tapes were cleaned up using the Plangent Process (recently used to tremendous effect on Woody Guthrie’s The Live Wire), they’re still more than 40 years old — and getting a pristine live recording out of Seeger was a tricky proposition anyway, because he had a tendency to move around the stage, and cared more about getting the crowd to sing along than putting himself squarely in the mix. The result is an album that sometimes sounds like it’s been swaddled in cotton, but believe it or not, that doesn’t make Live in …

Live Music: Folk Festival 50, Newport, R.I. (Day Two)

To be honest, I had my doubts about Day Two of Folk Festival 50. First of all, I was still tired from the day one. Next, it appeared that the lineup wasn’t quite as strong as it was on Saturday, and yet it was hard to deny that there were some compelling artists scheduled. The weather was also a bit iffy, with rain and thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. Josh Ritter was the first performer on the Fort Stage on Sunday, and he was one of the prime reasons that I was at the festival. I’m a big fan of the Idaho songwriter, and his set did not disappoint. He appeared with his full band, and they sounded great on songs like “Right Moves,” and “Real Long Distance” from Josh’s most recent album, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, and on the title track from his 2003 album Hello Starling. The real standout however, was one that Josh played solo, the beautiful and powerful anti-war song “Girl In the War.” He dedicated “Another New World” …

CD Review: Simon & Garfunkel, “Live 1969”

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel gave the world something that has never been fully recognized, I think. Now, I enjoy folk music and several of its most recognizable proponents, but I cannot deny the inherent sanctimony of a lot of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan’s most famous tunes. Sure, these were protest songs, and the subjective “us versus them” attitude was an obvious tack, but over time, some of these songs lost luster. Some lost it because of modern cynicism: “Yes, you’re outraged over this Tower of Babel. Where were you when it was being built? Is singing about it all you can do now?” Others lost it because of an overbearing quaintness, hymns to Ralph Waldo Emerson that smacked of being so out of touch, they might as well be alien transmissions. So when Simon & Garfunkel burst on the scene, they freed up the voice and acoustic guitar from the tyranny of the right-minded (or the left, thinking politically). Their songs could be political, but they could also be nonsensical, traditional, …

DVD Review: Pete Seeger, “The Power of Song”

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song purchase this DVD (Amazon) You need to see this movie. He’s happily existed on the outskirts of the pop culture landscape for the last few decades, but Pete Seeger’s influence is still deeply felt — and his music still resonates. Jim Brown’s excellent 2007 documentary, now reaching DVD for the first time, offers a wonderfully comprehensive overview of Seeger’s long career without sacrificing focus or momentum; even without prior knowledge of Seeger’s recorded output, anyone with a soul should find The Power of Song instantly absorbing. Of course, even if you don’t know you’ve heard Seeger’s stuff, you probably have; his voluminous catalog includes a wide array of standards, both those he’s popularized and those he’s written (the latter category includes “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”). He’s one of the most beloved living folksingers in the world — which must be particularly sweet for Seeger, seeing as how he was blacklisted for nearly 20 years after having the guts …

Fall Music Preview: 21 New Releases to Listen For

Ah, the fourth quarter. It isn’t as much of an event as it used to be, but even as the music industry crumbles to dust before our very eyes, artists and labels continue to focus on the last few months of the year for the biggest glut of high-profile releases on the calendar, and 2008 is no exception. Rather than punishing your eyes with a comprehensive fall music preview, or soliciting input from everyone on the staff, I decided to put together a list of the titles I’m either looking forward to (Lindsey Buckingham, Brian Wilson), need to hear to satisfy some dark, unexplained urge (Gym Class Heroes, Queen), or simply find interesting for some reason (Todd Rundgren, AC/DC). If you’ve been waiting for someone to tell you how to spend the “music” portion of your discretionary income for the next few months, look no further — without further ado, here’s my list of 21 fall releases to watch for. Rodney Crowell – Sex & Gasoline (Yep Roc, September 2) In which one of country’s …