I was lucky enough to hear Pete Seeger in a small, intimate venue when I was in my teens, and I was impressed by his humor, talent, and humility. How wonderful that he just keeps going and going and going!
Here’s a nice five minute interview he did in 1994 with Bill Moyers, “Pete Seeger on What it Takes to Change the World.”
And here, just for the fun of it, is Bruce Springsteen and the band he formed to record,”The Seeger Sessions,” a tribute to Pete and one of my favorite albums. The song is “Mrs. McGrath,” an Irish anti-war song published in 1815 that Pete Seeger popularized and Springsteen set to rock-jazz-celtic rhythms. Enjoy!
In the late 60s, we lived in Poughkeepsie, NY. One summer day we (Dave, his two young sons, and me) were at a gathering by the Hudson River. I think it was something about getting the river cleaned up. Pete Seeger was there, and as the gathering broke up, my husband asked him if he would tell our son how to become a great guitar player. Seeger turned to me and asked if it was okay with me for him to do that. I was fine with it. He knelt down and looked Mark right in the eye and said, “When you get home, pound a big nail in the wall over your bed. Hang your guitar on it and every time your mother tells you to do some chores, you go get that guitar down and play it. If you do that every time she tells you to do chores, one day you will be a great guitar player.” He is quite a guy and a great musician. Thanks for the music and the post.
My father worked for IBM, and in January, 1965, we moved to the south of France for a two year assignment. IBM guaranteed suitable education for my sister and me, but at the end of the first term, the Headmaster of the bilingual school, an Englishman, ran off with the funds. For me, the choice was going to a boarding school in Switzerland, or going back to the US. Oakwood, in Poughkeepsie, was one of the choices. Since I’d been born there and it was somewhat familiar, I chose this option and was there for my sophomore and junior year in HS.
Since it was a Quaker school, Seeger liked it and would stop by when he could to play and talk to the students. I remember that Bonnie Raitt was a student a year ahead of me and used to sing folk songs with a beautiful voice.
I really enjoyed his comment to Moyers about the man holding a “Peace” sign in 1952 – “I’m not doing it to change the world, I’m doing it so the world doesn’t change me.”
So we were in Poughkeepsie at the same time. We lived there from ’65 to ’70. Amazing. Bonnie Raitt is another great singer. I wonder how influenced she was by Seeger.
Much of it was the mood of the times at a Quaker school, eg. my math teacher refused induction, so most everyone resonated to Seeger’s message. Musically, not so sure, other than the example of going one’s own way. Bonnie had a voice as fine as the best women folk singers at the time. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear her on the radio, though her turn toward blues initially was counter to my expectations.
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