5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2012
This is a treasure trove of old American folk songs sung by the one and only Pete Seeger, accompanying himself on the banjo. My favourite is Casey Jones, but Beans, bacon and gravy sticks in your head!
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The first CD here mainly contains songs that I was not generally familiar with, while the songs on the second CD are generally familiar. Other than that, the two albums are similar in style and scope, containing traditional folk songs that Pete sings while playing his banjo. Some of the songs I was familiar with from childhood (Jesse James, Blue tail fly, I ride an old paint) while others became familiar after I started to take a serious interest in music (Wabash cannonball, Frankie and Johnnie, Wreck of the old 97, Home on the range) and some of them were new to me when I bought this set. All of them are worth hearing and I didn't notice anything that was obviously political. In that much, these two CD's present a stark contrast to the third CD.
The bonus tracks on the first two CD's seem a little arbitrary and it seems to me that they added a couple of Weavers tracks among them although no mention is made of how these bonus tracks were chosen or where they came from.
The third CD has no bonus tracks and lives up to its title. Like the first two CD's, this CD finds Pete singing while playing his banjo, but it is filled entirely with stories of hard lives for working men, some of the songs merely reflect on the hard lives while others are political to varying degrees. Casey Jones, the story of a train driver who lost his life in the course of duty, is the only song here that I was familiar with from other sources, though I'm familiar with some of Pete's political songs through earlier compilations of his music, notably If I had a hammer: songs of hope and struggle.
Whether you agree with Pete's political beliefs or not, these songs provide an interesting look back into a world long gone. Technological progress, including electricity and piped water, has made life for modern workers far easier than it was in the nineteenth century. Yes, life can still be tough, but nothing like as it was back then.
Pete Seeger is a legendary singer and deservedly so. This collection of some of his fifties music shows why.