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Great way to start a Pete Seeger Collection
on 21 October 2015
This is a fantastic way to collect original albums by Pete Seeger. Real Gone records have come up with a lot of these sets for different artists. Here the attention turns to Pete Seeger. This set is very basic in its presentation. There is no original art work or covers and sleeve notes. And albums are spread over more than one disc. However there are four original studio albums and two live recordings also released on LP.
Disc one begins with the album American Ballads.
Armed with a banjo to accompany his vocals, Pete Seeger recorded this great album in 1957 after leaving the group the Weavers.
Focusing on Traditional American Folk songs, Pete gave us a wonderful programme of folk songs. His engaging voice and soft banjo playing are a joy to hear.
There are great ballads here. Ballads always tell a story and there is plenty of stories here. There are great songs such as Pretty Polly, John Henry, Sweet William, The Golden Vanity, Barbara Allen and The Titanic Disaster.
Then we move on to the next album American Favourite Ballads volume one. This absolutely fabulous folk album is one of the earliest of his solo recordings. American Favourite Ballads was recorded in 1957 and this is a stunning Folk album.
Pete sings Traditional American folk songs and plays banjo on these recordings. There are some fantastic recordings and a wonderful selection of Traditional tunes here.
Tracks such as Yankee Doodle, The blue tailed fly, Buffalo Gals, On top of Old Smokey, Frankie and Johnny skip to my lou and Old Dan Tucker are all traditional favourites and will be very familiar to the listener. This album is concluded on
Disc Two. Then we move on to Live at Mandel Hall University of Chicago 12th and 13th October 1957. which concludes on Disc Three. Here we get a fabulous performance of both Traditional and self written folk songs. Some are by Woodie Guthrie and some are folk standards.
I have to say that for a live recording this is a great release. The atmosphere of a very warm and enjoyable live set are captured well with good sound. Its good to hear the very engaging Pete Seeger telling us the story of each song. He is a joy to listen to and I can only imagine that it must have been great to see him as well. However the way that he engages the audience shows a great sense of humour and a love of folk music and folk tradition.
Usually live recordings don't fair well with me. But this live set is easily playable again and again. It is definitely worth having as an album in a Pete Seeger collection.
The live recording stands a good testament of his work as a Folk song collector and performer.
Disc four contains two albums. Indian Summer and Rainbow Quest. Indian Summer is a very different kind of album to the normal output by Pete Seeger. Here on this interesting album we get a non Traditional set of recordings.
Pete, together with half brother Michael Seeger, came up with a soundtrack album here. It is in fact the soundtrack to four different films.
The original LP side one was taken up with just the soundtrack to a film called Indian Summer. Here Pete and Mike play fiddle, banjo, guitar, bamboo flute, harmonica, pump organ and drums. Also on the recording are bits of the films soundtrack for sound effects. This includes birds and machinery.
The end result is very different from any Pete Seeger album in that it is an unusual mixture of sounds.
The rest of the music, that formed the original LP side two is three short soundtracks follows simular pattern with Pete overdubbing himself on various instruments and sound effects
There are influences of country fiddle playing and clogging. It is very unusual and despite this it is still of great interest to any Pete Seeger fan.
The rainbow Quest is an album from 1960 by Pete Seeger. Its not one of the really well know albums and has been largely forgotten about. It is however a really good album and it is worth investigating especially if you are a keen Pete Seeger Fan.
Track listing is
1 Medley Colorado Trail/Spanish is the loving tongue/from here on up/Texas girls/ swarthmore girls/we pity our bosses five/the scabs crawl in
2 Medley open the door/road to athay/ why do scotsmen?/hold up your petticoat/Oh there’s two on my back
3 Medley Seek and you shall find/fare welittle fishes/ where have all the flowers gone/ fu ru sato (never again shall we allow another Atom bomb to fall) /step by step/joe hill’s last will
4 Oh had I a golden Thread
5 There’s better things to do
6 The Dove
7 Five fingers
8 To Everyone in all the world
9 We are moving on to victory
10 Don’t you weep after me
The album has a strong message of Peace. The song To everyone in all the world Pete sings has the continuing lyrics, I reach my hand and shake their hand.
The title of the album Rainbow Quest may be more familiar as the title of a TV series starring and presented by Pete Seeger in the Mid 1960s that promoted folk music, with particular focus on Tradtional folk music. The show had many famous guests from the folk world. However this album was recorded much earlier in 1960.
It is a great album with the familiar sound and warmth of Pete Seeger.