Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pete Seeger at 89

At 89
At 89 by Pete Seeger
I have always loved Pete Seeger's music. I was very happy to see the Ron had posted some of his stuff. A great album by him is Pete Seeger at 89. According to;
On At 89, iconic folk musician and activist Pete Seeger's first CD since the Grammy-nominated 2003 Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 3 2-CD set, the peaceful warrior for human dignity surveys the progress that's been made in his lifetime and what still needs to be done to create a society of equals and to assure continued world survival.

Lovingly sequenced by producer/musician David Bernz, At 89 segues similarly themed songs into organic suites, using brief solo instrumentals and spoken introductions by Pete as links. Of the CD's 32 tracks, 26 have never been previously recorded by Pete. After the opening amble of Pete's "Nameless Banjo Riff," 89-year-old Seeger acknowledges on "False From True" that he's now of an age when it's time to reassess what's left to do - separating false from true, more important now than ever in this age of misinformation. He is joined on the next few songs of welcome and fellowship by the voices of his fellow Hudson River Valley, New York, musicians and friends, who are also heard singing and making music throughout the CD, adding to its sense of community. Among the contributing musicians are the members of Work o' the Weavers, a quartet (which includes Bernz) devoted to the repertoire and spirit of Pete's long gone but much-loved group; the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus; the After Hours Quartet; the Hudson River Sloop Singers, and other guests.

"The Water is Wide," a soothing duet between recorder and 12-string guitar, both played by Pete, provides the transition to the next set of songs ("It's a Long Haul," "Throw Away That Shad Net," "Song of the World's Last Whale," "If It Can't Be Reduced," "The First Settlers"), which address two of Pete's leading concerns - ecology and peaceful coexistence. The tragic uselessness of war ("When I Was Most Beautiful," "Bach at Treblinka") is lightened by a version of The Weavers' old favorite, "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena," that adds a hopeful mingling of recently added Arabic lyrics to the existing verses in Hebrew and English. The last segment of the CD circles back to the dangers of blind obedience (a new rendition of the Vietnam, and now Iraq, War parable, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"), and the need for personal involvement to save our planet from ourselves ("Or Else!" "Arrange and Re-arrange," "If This World Survives"). There's a particularly poignant moment on "Little Fat Baby" when Pete confronts his own mortality: "Some day, we'll be saying so long/Some day, it'll be time for me to move on").

But that day hasn't yet arrived. Pete is still sowing the seeds of peace and justice, whether inspiring Bruce Springsteen to carry on his legacy of musical tradition and personal activism or getting a classroom of school kids to sing songs in other languages. Like Tom Joad or Joe Hill, when there are wrongs to be righted or victories, however small, to be celebrated in the war between good and evil, that's where we'll always find Pete Seeger: in the flesh - leading a singalong - or in our hearts.

Track Listing

1. Nameless Banjo Riff 0:39
2. False from True 2:48
3. Now We Sit Us Down 1:15
4. Pete's greeting (spoken) 0:32
5. Visions of Children 2:12
6. Wonderful Friends 3:18
7. The Water is Wide 2:32
8. Pete talks about Clearwater (spoken) 0:31
9. It's a Long Haul 1:11
10. Throw Away That Shad Net (How Are We Gonna Save Tomorrow?) 4:45
11. Song of the World's Last Whale 2:39
12. The First Settlers 5:00
13. The D Minor Flourish / Cindy 0:45
14. Pete's intro to If It Can't Be Reduced (spoken) 0:47
15. If It Can't Be Reduced 2:12
16. Spring Fever 0:50
17. Pete speaks about World War II (spoken) 0:30
18. When I Was Most Beautiful 2:53
19. Bach at Treblinka 1:16
20. We Will Love or We Will Perish 1:31
21. The story of Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (spoken) 1:02
22. Tzena, Tzena, Tzena 2:21
23. One Percent Phosphorous Banjo Riff 1:34
24. Pete speaks about involvement (spoken) 0:13
25. Or Else! (One-a These Days) 3:20
26. Waist Deep in the Big Muddy 3:36
27. Little Fat Baby 4:48
28. Arrange and Re-arrange 3:16
29. Alleluya 1:58
30. Pete's extroduction (spoken) 1:14
31. If This World Survives 1:37
32. How Soon? 1:08

Pete Seeger @SqueezeMyLemon

Pete Seeger

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