Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Pete Seeger, America's most influential folkie, has finally admitted that Stalin was not a very nice man. Remember, back during the Nazi-Soviet Pact, old Pete made a whole album of antiwar songs. Anti-World War II songs, that is, calling Roosevelt a warmonger and charging him with scheming to get us into a capitalist-imperialist war to save the British Empire. As of June 23, 1941, Pete stopped doing those tunes, for some reason, and the album was pulled.

Of course, Pete Seeger is an educated and cultured man, rather than a real hillbilly, and he was popular among the educated and cultured left. I doubt many real hillbillies knew who he was, since they were busy listening to the Hag and Buck Owens.

To Seeger's credit, he knows and loves American music and has done a lot to spread it. Also, everyone says he is a nice guy. He's really self-righteous, though, and he had never before criticized the Party until now. He has terrible judgment, both politically and morally.

A set of Pete Seeger videos:

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone," live in Stockholm in 1968.

"Guantanamera," live on TV in the late '60s. Seeger's Spanish is excellent. Note fashions worn by audience.

"Careless Love," live with Doc Watson, Clint Howard, and Fred Price.

"Solidarity Forever," with the Weavers. Recorded version with slides of old labor movement photos.

"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," live on TV in the late '60s. This one was notoriously censored by the network when Seeger was going to sing it on the Smothers Brothers show.

Medley of American soldiers' songs, from the same TV program.

"This Land Is Your Land," with Arlo Guthrie and a full band. Live at Wolf Trap in 1978.

"So Long, It's Been Good to Know You," with the Weavers in the early '50s.

"Bring 'Em Home," live during the Vietnam era. Very misguided politically, of course.

"Ramblin' Boy," with Tom Paxton. Live on TV in 1965.

"I Am Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," with June Carter on lead vocals and Johnny Cash, from a late-'60s TV show called Rainbow Quest.

"As Long as the Grass Shall Grow," with Johnny Cash on lead vocals and June Carter. From Rainbow Quest.

"Turn, Turn, Turn," with Judy Collins on lead vocals. From Rainbow Quest.

There are lots of clips on YouTube from the Rainbow Quest show that are well worth checking out.

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