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Pete Seeger In His Own Words  RSS feed

 
Rick Roman
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I wanted to compile an in depth retrospective / homage to Pete Seeger who died this year. I've scrapped that idea, but I feel compelled to post this talk. I hope viewers will take the time to see this 40 minute (unfortunately incomplete) film to the end. I think it's important to see the complete talk and question segment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrM_TGX-KMk


Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3, 1919 -- January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture, and environmental causes.

As a song writer, he is best known as the author or co-author of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (composed with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and "Turn, Turn, Turn!", which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world. "Flowers" was a hit recording for The Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). "If I Had a Hammer" was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while The Byrds popularized "Turn, Turn, Turn!" in the mid-1960s, as did Judy Collins in 1964 and The Seekers in 1966.

Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome" (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, soon after folk singer and activist Guy Carawan introduced it at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. In the PBS American Masters episode "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song", Seeger stated it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional "We will overcome" to the more singable "We shall overcome".

The long television blacklist of Seeger began to end in the mid-1960s when he hosted a regionally broadcast, educational folk-music television show, Rainbow Quest. Among his guests were Johnny Cash, June Carter, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, The Stanley Brothers, Elizabeth Cotten, Patrick Sky, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Donovan, Richard Fariña and Mimi Fariña, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mamou Cajun Band, Bernice Johnson Reagon, The Beers Family, Roscoe Holcomb, Malvina Reynolds, and Shawn Phillips. Thirty-nine hour-long programs were recorded at WNJU's Newark studios in 1965 and 1966, produced by Seeger and his wife Toshi, with Sholom Rubinstein. The Smothers Brothers ended Seeger's national blacklisting by broadcasting him singing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on their CBS variety show on February 25, 1968, after his similar performance in September 1967 was censored by CBS.

Pete Seeger was one of the earliest backers of Bob Dylan and was responsible for urging John Hammond to produce Dylan's first LP on Columbia and for inviting him to perform at the Newport Folk Festival, of which Seeger was a board member. There was a widely repeated story that Seeger was so upset over the extremely loud amplified sound that Dylan, backed by members of the Butterfield Blues Band, brought into the 1965 Newport Folk Festival that he threatened to disconnect the equipment. There are multiple versions of what went on, some fanciful. What is certain is that tensions had been running high between Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman and Festival Board members (who besides Seeger also included Theodore Bikel, Bruce Jackson, Alan Lomax, festival MC Peter Yarrow, and George Wein) over the scheduling of performers and other matters. Two days earlier there had been a scuffle and brief exchange of blows between Grossman and Alan Lomax; and the Board, in an emergency session, had voted to ban Grossman from the grounds, but had backed off when George Wein pointed out that Grossman also managed highly popular draws Odetta and Peter, Paul, and Mary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_seeger


Edit: Sorry folks.... my computer is "owned".

I posted this in Social Justice out of respect for Mr. Seeger.
If moderators feel this should be moved to CiderPress Politics, please do so. Thanks



 
Judith Browning
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Thanks for posting this, Rick....I think 'social justice' was a perfect spot for Pete's words and life. I added it to 'politics' also, though just because I can. he really would fit well under any and all of the 'cider press' forums, I think. The man is an icon and an amazing example of the part music can play in social change.
 
Dan Boone
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I should add that at least some of those old "Rainbow Quest" episodes are available on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22rainbow+quest%22
 
Rick Roman
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Thank you Judith, you are wise, compassionate and brave.
I read you were having trouble with your computer. I have a nice laptop I'm donating with free shipping. I can't think of a more deserving recipient. The permaculture community needs your experience and guidance. If interested send me a PM.

Dan Boone Thanks!
I'm searching for the first appearance of Mr. Seeger on the Johnny Cash TV show. Not just Seeger's performance, but Johnny's introduction / monologue. If I remember the story correctly.... Johnny Cash agreed to do a variety TV show only if he was allowed to invite his longtime friend Pete Seeger who was still being censored.
 
John Polk
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It should be pointed out that Pete had been called testify at the House of UnAmerican Activities Committee.
Before him, many had plead the 5th Amendment (self incrimination).
He chose NOT to. Instead, he plead that his 1st Amendment rights were being violated !
I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.
 
Rick Roman
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Hi John. That's why I posted his talk in social justice instead of politics. Thank you for posting his testimony.

I would also like to thank Wayne Stevens for the one and only post on permies commemorating his passing.

Pete Seeger was a humanitarian, a Permie at heart.
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