Pete Seeger memories

A great album
A great album

This is a scan of the cover of a CD that I created from MP3s that were converted from a vinyl album. I call it part of my Vinyl to CD Project. I tend to name everything.

I hadn’t planned on posting anything today, but the first thing I saw on the news this morning was that Pete Seeger had died. It was good that they decided to do an obituary segment, but I was disappointed in some of the things they said…and didn’t say. They started out by calling him the grandfather of folk music. I’m pretty sure he would have scoffed at that title. He always paid tribute to other artists, and more importantly to the folks in their homes and churches and gatherings who passed on traditional songs or who created new songs. His memory would be better served if we thought of him as one of the people who brought folk music to people who hadn’t been brought up in the tradition.

While the obituary talked about him being jailed for not cooperating with the House Un-American Activities Committee, they failed to mention how he had been blacklisted by all of the major television networks. He was banned from appearing on one of my favorite television shows Hootenanny, and as a consequence, major artists such as The Kingston Trio and Joan Baez refused to be on the show. That was a loss for all of us.

The first time I saw him on a major network was when he appeared on The Smothers Brothers show. Thanks, Tom and Dick. About a year ago I found DVDs made from video tape recording of Rainbow Quest, Mr. Seeger’s mid-1960’s black and white television show that was originally broadcast on a UHF station that catered mainly to Spanish-speaking people. I’ve bought three of the DVDs so far.

I’ve bought more than a dozen of his albums, mainly on vinyl, over the years. Right now, as I work the keyboard, I’m listening to Pete & Arlo Together In Concert.  It is one of my favorite albums of folk music. I had strayed from listening to folk music while I was in the army, listening mainly to rock, jazz and classical music…but let me state quickly, “NEVER DISCO.” After I was home a few years, well four years, this double album was released, and I bought it on a whim. That was one great whim!

Last year I converted all of my vinyl Pete Seeger albums to MP3 s and then burned CDs of the albums. Today I’ll be listening to those CDs as well as the double 1963  Carnegie Hall concert album that I bought last year, and some of the Weavers albums, and I’ll be watching some of the DVDs. It seems the least I can do.

If you don’t remember hearing Pete Seeger, do yourself a favor and buy at least one of his albums, or get the DVD of his 1963 concert in Australia, or listen to The Byrds version of his song Turn, Turn, Turn or Peter, Paul & Mary’s version of If I Had A Hammer or even The Kingston Trio’s version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone. They are all worth your while.