Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Monday, 14 January 2013

Little Boxes

Pete Seeger
Folk musician, songwriter and activist Pete Seeger was born in 1919.  Son of a composer/musicologist father and concert violinist mother, Pete began to learn to play the five-string banjo aged 17 after hearing it for the first time at a folk festival. Sleevenotes from this record I got from a car boot sale state that,
"In the late thirties Pete took a banjo and set out across the USA.  He visited every state and heard the five-string banjo played a hundred different ways to the accompaniment of a thousand different songs.  He assimilated many banjo styles, learned hundreds of songs, and built up a repertoire of ballads, work songs, dance tunes, play parties, union songs and blues..."

Pete Seeger - Archive of Folk Music (1965)

Since then he has become a giant of American folk music and is also well known for his activism on the environment, civil rights and peace.  I found this LP at a boot sale for £2.


Side 1
1. The Carpenter
2. Three Courting Songs
3. The Greenland Fisheries
4. Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
5. Paddy Works On The Railroad
Go Down Old Hannah

Side 2
1. Road To Eliat
2. Ariran
3. Die Gendaken Sind Frei
4. Bayeza
5. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
6. In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down

Pete formed the Almanac Singers (which at one time included Woody Guthrie, the Dustbowl Troubadour) in 1940 and then the Weavers in 1950.  He later became a central part of the 60s folk revival, gaining attention with songs such as Where Have All The Flowers Gone; Turn, Turn, Turn and his no. 1 cover version of Malvina Reynolds' Little Boxes.

Pete today

The Archive of Folk Music put out this collection in 1965 using songs transferred from their original 78s ("Electronically Stereotized" - why?).  Their "Statement of Purpose" printed on the back cover is rather dismissive of the then-current folk boom:
"With the current renaissance of folk music there has come a proliferation of so-called "folk" recordings.  Most of these efforts are rather slick and facile popularizations of either traditional tunes or "composed" folk tunes.  Though pleasant, these are not folk music".
Fair point, I guess - I wonder what they'd make of Mumford & Sons and the like today?!

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