Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pete Seeger at 90 (2)

Pete's parents traced their ancestry back to the Mayflower. In 1940 the Pete and Woody Guthrie helped form the Almanac Singers, a loosely organized musical collective that included Lee Hays, Millard Lampell, Sis Cunningham, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and others.

In 1955 Seeger was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee and became one of the few witnesses called that year who didn't invoke the Fifth Amendment. In a dramatic appearance before the committee, Seeger claimed that to discuss his political views and associates violated his First Amendment rights.

In 1961 he was found guilty of contempt and on April 2 he was sentenced to one year in prison for each of ten charges (all ten sentences to be served concurrently). The following year his ordeal ended when the case was dismissed on a technicality.

Seeger had cultivated a folk music revival in the 1950s, and the movement gathered momentum from 1958 into the early 1960s. ABC decided to cash in on the craze with a weekly television show, Hootenanny, but enthusiasm for the program waned when it was discovered that Seeger had been blacklisted and would not be permitted to appear.

Pete Seeger spent a considerable amount of time in the South during the civil rights marches of the 1960s. It was his variation of an old spiritual, which Seeger called "We Shall Overcome," that has become an anthem of the crusade for equality in America.

NYC Labor Chorus

Bernice Johnson Reagon

A brilliant rendition

Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers)

Billy Bragg

Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Del McCoury

Billy Nershi (String Cheese Incident)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Bruce Cockburn

Pete Seeger @SqueezeMyLemon

Pete Seeger

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