Back in the mid-1950's I attended a summer camp in New Hampshire for 5 years. For most of those years, sometime in the middle of the summer a tall, lanky redhead came striding up the camp's dirt road with two instrument cases slung across his back. He'd stay with us for 10 days or so, and every night we'd meet in the rec hall or by the lake and he'd teach us songs and sing with us. There was a small group of us who played instruments like guitar or (in my case, at that point) mandolin, and he'd meet with us and teach us. All I knew about him was that his name was Pete, that he had an amazing and inspiring, trumpet-like voice, infectious optimism and charisma, and that we all sang alot better when we was there than when he wasn't.
I had no idea who Pete was, what his last name was, or anything more about him until my 4th year at camp, when my counselor, who was a banjo player, filled me in (and refused to play in front of Pete because he was embarrassed). "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall" had just come out, and I got that album and lo and behold, most of those songs were ones we'd learned from Pete and there was that amazing voice, that banjo, the driving rhythms, and the charismatic presence bringing people together to sing better than they ever knew they could. Pete was blacklisted then, and made his living going from schools to colleges to summer camps; there were many kids like me who grew up with Pete's warm and human influence.
Any recording of a Pete Seeger concert will give you an inkling of what it was like to be with him, but this one is special -- it's complete, it's long, it's very human, and it catches Pete at the height of the folk music revival and before the crucible of the late-1960's. It's all here. I suspect you'll find yourself singing along, stamping your feet, and at the end feeling a lot better about yourself, more committed to making life better for yourself and others, and more optimistic about this world. That's the hallmark of Pete's humanity. He wanted people to be involved, he disliked passive media like TV and recordings, and he played and inspired his audiences like an extension of his beloved banjo and guitar.
Yes, Pete was a member of the Communist Party from 1941 to 1949, but whether his songs after 1949 reflect, or were driven by, his affiliation (as another reviewer suggests) is, I believe, incorrect. Pete's songs were always guided much more by his native optimism, his love of people and the planet, his belief that songs and singing can somehow make a difference, his curiosity and openness, his response to the events around him (which actually made him more radical as he (and we) progressed through the 60's and 70's) and, yes, his open-hearted humanity.
No matter what your affiliation, and even if you've never heard a folk-song record in your life, you deserve to hear this one and let your spirit soar.