All posts by Deborah Lagutaris

The Ash Grove: Pete Seeger: Precious Friend


Pete Seeger: Precious Friend
Another chapter closes, but the book is not yet finished. A tribute to Pete Seeger will not do his memory justice, if it does not look forward – and continue the dedication to progress and a humanist world. The Ash Grove is sponsoring a tribute to Pete Seeger on Saturday, April 5, from 2p-4p at the First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, 2938 West 8th Street.

Performers and speakers who knew and loved Pete’s music and his mission will be there to share and build community through music, art and ideas. The tribute will feature Ross Altman, Len Chandler, Claudia Lennear (20 Steps), Bernie Pearl, and several other great performers; along with dynamic speakers including (City of Glass, et al) Mike Davis and Art Goldberg. This will be an historic and unforgettable event. So please come – bring your children, grandparents and grand kids, friends and neighbors.

Tickets are $20 – a donation – from which net proceeds will benefit the First Unitarian Church that continues its progressive mission (building a new and vital children’s center) and neighborhood programs. No one will be turned away. But we do anticipate a big crowd – so come early. Free parking at the First Baptist Church lot, across the street. Harriet Aronow, Ash Grove Music Secretary From:] Subject: [Bulk] Pete Seeger: Precious Friend by Ross Altman for FolkWorks Pete Seeger: Precious Friend (May 3, 1919—January 27, 2014) ( ( ) By Ross Altman Just when I thought all was lost You changed my mind You gave me hope Not just the old soft soap You showed that we could learn to share in time (You and me and Rockefeller) I’ll keep plugging on Your face will shine Through all our tears And when we sing another little victory song Precious Friend, you will be there (Singing in harmony) Precious Friend, you will be there.

–Pete Seeger Pete Seeger, America’s tuning fork, the folk singer who revived the five-string banjo who taught We Shall Overcome to Dr. Martin Luther King at Highlander Folk School in New Market, Tennessee and turned an obscure Georgia Sea Island hymn into an international anthem for freedom from the March on Washington to Tiananmen Square who saved the most polluted waterway in the country with a replica he built from a 19th Century schooner and made the Hudson River run clean again who fought the House Committee on Un-American Activities tooth and nail, refused to name names on the basis of the 1st Amendment and six years after he was sentenced for Contempt of Congress saw his conviction overturned by the United States Supreme Court who popularized not only his own songs but an entire library of American folk music who single-handedly built Folkways Records into a national institution now preserved by the Smithsonian who put the songs of the King of the 12-String guitar Huddie Ledbetter and the

Dust Bowl Balladeer Woody Guthrie on the lips of students from California to the New York Island who stood up to the Ku Klux Klan with Paul Robeson at Peekskill, New York in 1949 at the most dangerous concert ever held in this land, and proudly displayed the rocks they threw through his car window in the fireplace of his log cabin in Beacon who taught Dave Guard of the Kingston Trio and Eric Darling of the Rooftop Singers and Alex Hassilev of the Limelighters, and Don McLean and Michael Cooney and my friend “Banjo” Fred Starner and a thousand lesser known and unknown musicians like me to play the long-neck banjo with his mimeographed instruction book How to Play the Five-String Banjo who taught audiences around the world to sing along with their own folk music who made a children’s book based on his cante-fable Abiyoyo from an old South African collection of stories his father gave him when he was ten into a New York Times bestseller who introduced the songs of “Woody’s Children” Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Peter La Farge and Malvina Reynolds to a new generation of fans and singers through the Newport Folk Festival—which he helped launch from his living room in 1958 who created the two most important singing groups in American folk music history—the Almanac Singers and the Weavers who turned Leadbelly’s theme song Goodnight Irene into the number one song of the half century in 1950 according to Life Magazine—which remained in the top spot on the Hit Parade for 17 straight weeks—longer than any song by Elvis Presley or the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or anyone else until 1975 who was told by Jack Linkletter of the shameful ABC show Hootenanny (a word invented by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger during their Almanac days) that he, and I quote, “couldn’t hold an audience,” which was why they wouldn’t book him who was similarly blacklisted by all the major networks including CBS for 17 years after the Weavers were blacklisted by Red Channels in 1950 until the Smothers Brothers invited him onto their Comedy Hour—only to be told that he couldn’t sing Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by CBS censors because “someone might think he was referring to President Johnson,” but then was invited back by the Smothers Brothers in 1968 when he triumphantly sang the best antiwar protest song ever written—by a World War II veteran who managed to make a living after he was blacklisted in the 1950s by singing at elementary schools and colleges and summer camps where he taught an entire generation of students to appreciate their own musical heritage and history through the songs that were born out of social struggle, until those students grew up and became the rebels of the 1960s who thereby exempted Pete from their own rule “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” who raised five children on a folk singer’s wages until his own songs like Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn, Turn, Turn and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine and If I Had a Hammer made so much money from hit recordings by the Kingston Trio and the Byrds and Jimmie Rogers and Peter, Paul and Mary that he was embarrassed by it and refused to look at his own bank balance again and let his wife Toshi handle all their financial affairs who paid his own way to all of his benefit concerts, paid for his own tickets to the same concerts, and then made a substantial donation himself to add to the funds he raised Precious Friend ( ) ( who told his manager Harold Leventhal, “I don’t want to know what they are paying me to perform; that’s your department” who quit the Weavers after their 1955 Christmas Eve Reunion Concert at Carnegie Hall—the one that was recorded and released on Vanguard Records and launched their new label—the label that then recorded Joan Baez and Buffy Ste. Marie and all the Newport Folk Festivals—and started the Folk Revival of the 1960s—because they agreed to star in a cigarette commercial and Pete refused to have his name used to sell cigarettes or any other commodity but the music he stood for who then went back out on the road as a solo folk singer who had nothing to sell and refused to sell out who showed what one life lived with integrity could accomplish and finally reaped the rewards of his convictions with the Kennedy Center Honors and hearing President of the United States Bill Clinton refer to him as “an inconvenient artist” when bestowing the National Medal of the Arts—our government’s highest honor for the Arts—on him in 1993 who was then invited by President Barack Obama to perform on the National Mall for his 2008 Inauguration where he sang all six verses of Woody’s This Land Is Your Land, including the one that says: As I went walking Out on that highway I saw a sign say, “No Trespassing,” But on the other side It didn’t say nothing That side was made for you and me!” who fell in love with the five-string banjo in 1935 when he was just sixteen years old and his father folklorist and ethnomusicologist Charles Seeger took him to the Asheville Folk Festival in North Carolina and he heard the Appalachian Minstrel Bascom Lamar Lunsford play it for the first time, and ever afterward told his audiences “Don’t learn to play the banjo from me—learn it from the people I learned it from—Pete Steele and Uncle Dave Macon and Doc Boggs and Wade Ward and Frank Proffit—always directing us back to his sources and away from himself who often referred to himself as “a born-again agnostic” who taught young kids up and down the river when he sailed the Clearwater along the Hudson to raise money and awareness of what it would take to clean it up, and inspired a new generation of environmental activists to do just that, including Bobby Kennedy’s son Robert F. Kennedy, Jr who started the group River Keepers to carry on Pete’s pioneering work who founded not one but two great folk music magazines People’s Songs Bulletin and Sing Out! to publish both old and new songs from across the country and around the world—such as the Spanish Civil War songs he rescued from oblivion and brought to Folkways’ Moses Asch to record when he was on a three-day leave from the island of Saipan during World War II—where he met future KPFK broadcaster Mario Cassetta and commandeered him to come to Los Angeles after the war to start a chapter of People’s Songs here so they could claim with Woody that their little magazine went all the way “From California to the New York Island” who inspired me to pick up a banjo when I first heard him play Uncle Dave Macon’s Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase on an old Stinson Record—from their American Folksay Series—and to think that one day I too could make a living as a folk singer who showed us how and told us why who sang Bob Dylan’s Ye Playboys and Playgirls with him at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival and introduced him to a national audience and sang Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall on his world tour later that year to give him international exposure (both performances were recorded, the first on Vanguard Records and the second on Columbia Records) who sang Tom Paxton’s Rambling Boy with the Weavers at Carnegie Hall also in 1963 (he eventually forgave them for the cigarette commercial, like he forgave Burl Ives for naming names before HUAC and appeared with him in concert at Town Hall in New York City to show that friendship is sometimes more important even than principle and people can make mistakes and be forgiven), and who made a hit out of Malvina Reynold’s Little Boxes—giving them all a platform for the rest of their careers who wrote “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender” on his banjo who paid tribute to his devoted wife Toshi after she passed away last year by saying “she was the brains of the family” who was still chopping wood out behind their cabin just ten days before he died “of natural causes” who stood out on a street corner in Beacon on the Hudson in upstate New York every week even during their snowy winter with just an American flag and a small sign that said simply, “Peace,” during the entire Iraq war, inspiring me to do the same with Neighbors for Peace and Justice in Studio City who made a fabulous three-egg cheese and mushroom omelet with strawberry shortcake for dessert for me when I stayed over at his log cabin in 1976, a newly-fledged songwriter who drove up to his cabin from my graduate school studies at SUNY-Binghamton to show him my songs, and then quietly put them back in my guitar case when I heard him sing My Rainbow Race for the first time during the Hoot after their regular monthly meeting of the Beacon Sloop Club (for which I had timed my pilgrimage) and thought “that’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard,” learned it on the spot and realized my songs needed some more work before I would ask him to listen to them who showed me how much he loved Toshi when he came out to perform at The Barn Folk Concert Series at UC Riverside with both Mike and Peggy Seeger—the first time they had all performed together in a quarter century—and the one time Toshi left his side I heard him sing to her like a bird over the heads of hundreds of concert-goers outside the Barn, just to establish where she was and reconnect, his fabled Adam’s Apple bobbing up and down and his voice doing somersaults until he heard her sing back to him, “Pete, I’m here!” who inspired Dylan to write “and the saintliness of Pete Seeger,” in the album liner notes to Bringing It All Back Home who when the networks banned him from appearing on TV in the country he went to war to defend during World War II—while the chicken hawks on HUAC got away with calling this most American of artists “Un-American”—started his own public television show Rainbow Quest—to bring his favorite fellow artists and America’s folk songs to yet another new generation of listeners and viewers who like Walt Whitman heard America singing and over seventy-five years gave Americans their most sacred national heritage—the songs and stories from the unknown cowboys and sailors and loggers and housewives and slaves, former slaves, industrial workers and coal miners and farmers and immigrants and rebels and yes outlaws too, the anonymous poets’ voices that make up the Great American Songbag who was and always will be America’s greatest folk singer, has died. He was 94 years old and forever young. How can he keep from singing, “Toshi, I’m here!” Rest in Peace.

Bernie Pearl’s “Take Your Time” Review on F.A.M.E.

Hi. If you weren’t there, you missed an unforgettable evening. ( I almost said ‘some enchanted evening). The music, the performances, connection with folks in the full house, and the audience itself were amazing. Honestly, it took me back to some of the best of the original Ash Grove, itself. -Ed

Bernie Pearl’s “Take Your Time” Review on F.A.M.E. Music writer Mark C. Tucker has written on my work since “Live at Boulevard Music: Somebody Got To Do It” His review of “Take Your Time” appears in the latest edition of Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange (FAME). Bernie “Take Your Time is ample demonstration that no matter how long you work at it, the guitar and the blues contain depths that just keep opening up. And that’s what you get this time out: the added luster, warmth, and degree of exposition that comes only of toil, discretion, long familiarity, and an irreducible love for the fullest dimensions of the art.

Frankly, you can start listening to Bernie Pearl at any point in his growing catalogue and be nothing but happy and engrossed, but, even so, the guy’s a purist and ceaselessly refining his craft, sometimes taking a year or more — sometimes a hell of a lot longer — before satisfying himself that he’s got a particular song right, letting the public in on the result. Thus, there’s a subtle but definable evolution to his mastery that reminds me of a quip by Segovia after a White House performance, wherein the maestro was asked how, after more than 60 years of playing, he felt about the guitar. He answered, with a glowing smile, “You know…I think I’m just beginning to understand this instrument”. To see the full review, click on this link ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved.

The Ash Grove; Bernie Pearl and Barbara Morrison, Live and a new CD: Sat. night, Feb. 15

Bernie Pearl and Barbara Morrison, Live and a a new CD: Sat. night, Feb. 15

Valentine’s Day is here, and tomorrow night we celebrate the release of my new CD, “Take Your Time”, with a Champage Reception, CD Concert, and Blues Jam at Barbara Morrison’s Performing Arts Center. It’s always great to hear that people are enjoying the music. I’d like to share a quote from concert promoter, musician, and fan, Michael Gliona: “Technically this is the best self produced CD I have ever heard. Vinyl has nothing over this one. Bernie’s guitars sound like they are right there in your room. Plenty of natural ambience. Artistically it is a knockout. Bernie Pearl ( digs deep. The incomparable Barbara Morrison ( adds perfect vocal support.” If you love the Blues, you’re going to want to join us at Barbara’s place tomorrow night! On Saturday, February 15, The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center will host a Champagne Reception and CD Release Concert to celebrate blues guitarist Bernie Pearl’s just-released recording, “Take Your Time”. The evening will start with a 7:30-8:00 champagne and hors oeuvres reception in the atrium. At 8:15 the focus moves to the theater stage where Pearl, Morrison & Band will perform selections from the CD. An All-Star Blues Jam follows at 9:30, featuring sizzling New Orleans guitar master Big Terry DeRouen, and L.A.’s greatest real-deal blues singer, Jamie “Blues Boy” Powell. Joined by Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer, Mike Barry, Albert Trepagnier, and special guests, they will jam the Blues. And for the dancers, the venue has recently been remodeled for that purpose. All guests will be offered a complementary “Take Your Time” poster, designed by EK Waller, as a memento of this special evening. Copies of the CD will be offered for sale, and Barbara, Bernie, and the Band will be available for autographs. Tickets are $20, available at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at Parking – Ample metered parking adjacent to the Center runs until 8:00, free thereafter. Bring coins. Reception, Concert, & Jam Admission $20 Saturday, February 15, 7:30 – 10:30 The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center 4305 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008 Information: (310) 462-1439 ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved.

Sing Out! Lessons from the Extraordinary Life of Pete Seeger

Sing Out! Lessons from the Extraordinary Life of Pete Seeger

Kathy M. Newman

Like thousands of fellow Americans, I have spent the last week listening to Pete Seeger’s recordings, poring over his many obits, and inhaling Alec Wilkinson’s wonderful short biography, The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger. With this work behind me, I offer seven lessons that those of us committed to working-class justice and working-class studies can glean from Seeger’s extraordinary life. Scholars of working-class culture have a lot to offer working-class movements.

Some of Seeger’s first paid work was for the legendary folk music authority, John Lomax. As Wilkinson notes in his bio of Seeger, each week Seeger listened to hundreds of records at the Library of Congress—“English and Scotch Irish ballads kept alive in the South, rural blues, farmer songs, widow’s laments, millworker songs, soldier songs, sea shanties, slave songs, tramp songs, and coal miner songs.” By the end of Seeger’s time in the archive, he had flagged a collection of protest songs that he wanted to make into a book, but “his father thought it too controversial.” But soon enough Seeger found someone like himself, Lee Hays, who had “compiled a book of union songs.” Hays and his roommate, Mill Lampell, along with Woody Guthrie, became the nucleus of Seeger’s first band: The Almanacs. Embrace the relationship between music and social movements. Seeger believed that if you could get a crowd to join in a song, you could get a crowd to join in a movement. Like his father, Charles Seeger, who argued that “to make music is the essential thing—to listen to it is an accessory ( ,” Pete Seeger believed that song brought the individual out of the self and into something larger: “I’ve never sung anywhere without giving the people listening to me a chance to join in—as a kid, as a lefty, as a man touring the U.S.A. and the world, as an oldster. I guess it’s kind of a religion with me. Participation. That’s what’s going to save the human race ( .” Of course, Seeger could have chosen other vehicles for participation, but he believed that there was something special about songs. “Songs,” he explained, “are a way of binding people to a cause.” It’s OK to be middle class. Seeger came from a family of “doctors, shopkeepers, and intellectuals.” (,+shopkeepers,+and+intellectuals+%22pete+seeger&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7vzuUpuiOc-zsASHlIDIBA&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=doctors%2C%20shopkeepers%2C%20and%20intellectuals%20%22pete%20seeger&f=false) His parents were also classically trained musicians who divorced when he was young. But even Seeger’s step-mother encouraged him, noticing that he had a special talent for “song leading.” Seeger went to a boarding school in Connecticut, and, later, Harvard, which he did not like. After Harvard, Seeger made the transition from scholar of working-class culture to maker/participant. The Almanacs were so named because every working-class home had two books ( : a bible for the next life and an almanac for this one. Seeger’s next band, The Weavers, was named for a play by German author Gerhart Hauptmann about a group of Silesian (now Poland) weavers who rebelled against the mechanization of their craft in the 1840s. Seeger, who was not from a working-class family, was a champion of workers, workers’ folk traditions, unions, the labor movement, and the dignity of work. Moreover, he was embraced by workers wherever he went, from the CIO struggles in Pittsburgh and Detroit in the 1940s, to the postal workers organizing against the hiring of non-union workers in 2014. ( Make stuff with your own hands. On the other hand, perhaps, Seeger might have been a voluntary member of the working class. In the 1940s, he bought a piece of land next to the Hudson River for $1700 ( .There he built his own log cabin. It took him several tries to get the giant stone fireplace right, but as he was finishing it he placed a few of the rocks thrown at him in the infamous Paul Robeson/Peekskill riots ( in the structure as a reminder. To build furniture for the house, Wilkinson writes, Seeger scavenged the wood from abandoned packing crates in New York City on his way home from singing gigs. By mastering the world with his hands, Seeger was able to connect the future of the human race to the future of the planet: “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production ( .” You have to choose sides, but you can have as many causes as you like. Seeger embraced every progressive American cause, from the labor struggles of the 1930s and 1940s, to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, to environmentalism, the anti-war movement, the AIDs epidemic, and even the 2011 Occupy Movement. There were songs that explained how to negotiate and use a union to improve your life on the job (Talking Union Blues ( ) and songs about union towns, their smog and their devotion to the CIO (Pittsburgh ( ). There were songs about how to build stuff with your own hands (If I had a Hammer) ( and songs about how to keep hope in the face of racial oppression (We Shall Overcome ( ). There were songs about heroic and legendary black workers (John Henry ( ) and songs about women union organizers (Union Maid ( ) and songs about how America belongs to all of us (This Land is Our Land ( ). There were songs about the Hudson river, which he was instrumental in cleaning up (Sailing Up my Dirty Stream ( ), and songs about the Vietnam war (Waist Deep in the Big Muddy ( ), and even songs condemning Stalin (Big Joe Blues ( ). You can have a long, productive life if you do not define your success according to the market. Seeger famously testified in front of HUAC in 1955, refusing to answer any questions that violated his right to religion, free speech, and association. He has jokingly called this moment a “relief,” because the fame he was experiencing with The Weavers was overwhelming him. By contrast, for most blacklisted artists, the 1950s were a nightmare. Some betrayed their former friends and comrades, others died from the stress. Some left the country, some wrote under false names, and many languished without a steady livelihood for years. Seeger was undaunted by more than a decades’ worth of rebuff from HUAC, anti-communists who canceled his performance contracts and picketed his concerts, and TV executives who refused to let him perform on television. Seeger simply kept singing, accepting invitations from any group that would have him, year after year, until mainstream American culture finally accepted Seeger’s unique sound. Think small. Perhaps you are a union organizer, trying to get a little more justice for your members. Perhaps you are a graduate student writing about worker struggles, or worker culture. Perhaps you have a bit of talent on an instrument, and you perform for money or just gather with friends to raise your voices in unison. Whatever you are doing, no matter how small it might seem, it matters. Seeger tells us: “Too many things can go wrong when they get big.” Instead, he insists, “The world will be solved by millions of small things ( .” ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove

Reception and Show for New Bernie Pearl Blues CD, incl. duets with noted diva Barbara Morrison

———————————————————— Tha Ash Grove Reception and Show for New Bernie Pearl Blues CD, incl. duets with noted diva Barbara Morrison Press Release February 1, 2014 Contact: Bernie Pearl (562) 426-0761 Reception and Show for New Bernie Pearl Blues CD in February “Take Your Time” also boasts several duets with noted diva Barbara Morrison On Saturday, February 15, The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center will host a Champagne Reception and CD Release Concert to celebrate blues guitarist Bernie Pearl’s just-released recording, “Take Your Time”. The album title, suggested by a Mississippi Fred MacDowell saying, comprises some fourteen mainly acoustic tracks of classic and original blues, including three duets featuring the renown Morrison. Bernie and Barbara met while working on a 1981 production of “Yerma”, where a mutual admiration for sax legend Eddie Cleanhead Vinson sealed their frienship. Long wanting to record the down-home blues together, they took the opportunity offered by “Take Your Time” to do so – In Honor of Mr. Cleanhead Vinson. The evening will start with a 7:30-8:00 champagne and hors oeuvres reception in the atrium. At 8:15 the focus moves to the theater stage where Pearl, Morrison & Band will perform selections from the CD. An All-Star Blues Jam follows at 9:30, featuring sizzling New Orleans guitar master Big Terry DeRouen, and L.A.’s greatest real-deal blues singer, Jamie “Blues Boy” Powell. Joined by Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer, Mike Barry, Albert Trepagnier, and special guests, they will jam the Blues. And for the dancers, the venue has recently been remodeled for that purpose. All guests will be offered a complementary “Take Your Time” poster, designed by EK Waller, as a memento of this special evening. Copies of the CD will be offered for sale, and Barbara, Bernie, and the Band will be available for autographs. Tickets are $20, available at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at and at beginning February 1. Reception, Concert, & Jam Admission $20 Saturday, February 15, 7:30 – 10:30 The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center 4305 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008 Information: (310) 462-1439 (562) 426-0761 ———————————————————— ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The greatest concert Pete Seeger never gave

———————————————————— The Ash Grove The greatest concert Pete Seeger never gave ** The greatest concert Pete Seeger never gave ———————————————————— By Joel Bellman | January 29, 2014 9:36 PM It was 30 years ago at the Universal Amphitheatre when I saw Pete Seeger for my first and only time, but despite valiant support from Arlo Guthrie, Holly Near and his old Weavers bandmate Ronnie Gilbert, the years by then were taking their toll. His hands were trembling and his voice unsteady, but Seeger, who died this week at the age of 94, was still a powerful musical presence on that stage – a living link between the Old Left of the Popular Front and New Deal that battled the Depression in the 1930s and fascism in the 1940s, and the New Left of the anti-war, human rights and environmental crusades of the 1960s and beyond. For us, the music that night was secondary: we were paying tribute to a cultural monument, and the air was thick with emotion. But some 20 years later and nearly two thousand miles away, I witnessed the greatest Pete Seeger concert he never gave, and out of the hundreds of shows that I’ve seen through the decades, that’s the one I’ll never forget. This story begins the previous summer. On August 29, 2005, as I celebrated my 50th birthday with a houseful of close friends in Los Angeles, Hurricane Katrina made landfall outside New Orleans. By mid-day, the situation was spinning out of control into unimaginable catastrophe, but the worst was yet to come. The levees breached in more than 50 locations, the water from the storm surge continued to pour into the drowning city. Two days later, Katrina had dissipated, but by then roughly 85% of New Orleans was under water. The vast majority of residents had been successfully evacuated beforehand, but many had ignored the evacuation orders. While at least 15,000 people were subsequently rescued, nearly 1,500 lost their lives in what is considered the worst engineering disaster in American history. And so it was that eight months later, when I had the opportunity to join my wife for a legal convention in New Orleans, I strongly resisted. The city couldn’t possibly be ready for convention business yet, I argued. It would be disaster porn – out-of-towners gaping voyeuristically at the ruined homes and debris-strewn streets, a decidedly un-magical misery tour of human suffering. I thought the convention planners, union-side labor lawyers, epitomized political correctness run amok – determined to express their solidarity with the Crescent City victims in the most vulgar and misguided way possible. As it turned out, I was entirely wrong on every count. Tourism is the lifeblood of the city, and conventions like ours represented a desperately needed transfusion. The residents were only too eager to show and tell what they’d experienced. Their relief and gratitude that somebody still cared enough to visit – during a time when some were writing off the city altogether – was genuinely touching. The hotels and restaurants went overboard to share their hospitality and prove they could keep up their standards. I felt humbled, and deeply ashamed of myself. The convention business concluded, we still had the weekend – and so on April 30, 2006, we found ourselves at the New Orleans Race Track for that year’s Jazzfest, a massive annual musical bacchanal that few thought possible to mount successfully so soon after the disaster. But the show must go on, and once again, we had underestimated the city’s grit and determination to pick itself up and forge ahead. After several days spent sampling the wide variety of indigenous talent and local Cajun, zydeco, gospel and blues groups, the grand finale that Sunday afternoon was Bruce Springsteen, who’d been announced as previewing his upcoming album for the first time before the general public (after a small out-of-town tryout a month before in his own Asbury Park, New Jersey.) a big Springsteen fan, I found myself intrigued by this project: “The Seeger Sessions” was Springsteen’s wildly anti-commercial effort to mount a rock ‘n’ roll hootenanny built around traditional American folk songs and spirituals popularized by Pete Seeger. Springsteen had assembled a band of nearly two dozen musicians – guitar, bass and drums, yes, but also horns, fiddles, accordion and keyboards – held a couple of rehearsals, and gathered everyone over the course of a few days to just bang it out live in the studio, old-school. And there they were, filling the stage like excited kids auditioning for a talent show. The set blasted off with Springsteen’s rousing version of “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” a full-throated treatment of an old Civil War-era Negro spiritual first recorded in 1915 and widely popularized by Seeger during the civil-rights era. The next few songs, “John Henry” and “Old Dan Tucker” sent me hurtling back to my elementary school singsongs. Then things turned solemn with the purposeful gospel ballad, “Eyes on the Prize” – “Freedom’s name is mighty sweet/And soon we’re gonna meet/keep your eyes on the prize/hold on.” At the time of its release, some criticized the album for eschewing politics, a “missed opportunity” for pointed criticism targeting the Bush presidency, growing economic inequity and misguided military adventures abroad. But the critics, not surprisingly, got it all wrong. The collection is arguably Springsteen’s most political album – and a fitting tribute to Seeger’s skill for weaving sharp social commentary into accessible, non-threatening and easily singable folk songs. “My Oklahoma Home,” a superficially jokey tune written by two of Seeger’s fellow Almanac Singers in the 1940s (a group that also included Woody Guthrie), tells the tale of a man whose Oklahoma farm is destroyed by drought and tornados, which also carried away his wife – “Mister, as I bent down to kiss her, she was picked up by a twister” – and concludes sadly, “Yeah, it’s up there in the sky, in that dust cloud over ‘n’ by, my Oklahoma home is in the sky.” Things turn even darker with “Mrs. McGrath,” a mournful ballad about a poor Irish widow talked into sending her son off to join the British fleet, from which he eventually returns, maimed, his legs torn off by a cannonball. The anguished woman cries, “All foreign wars, I do proclaim, live on blood and a mother’s pain, and I’d rather have my son as he used to be, than the King of America and his whole Navy.” The set continued with “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” (including another pointed Bush reference), another spiritual, “Jacob’s Ladder,” Seeger’s civil-rights anthem “We Shall Overcome,” then a song that Seeger first performed with The Weavers, “Pay Me My Money Down,” and more. But by then, I had been seized by a kind of emotional delirium that I’ve never experienced in any concert before or since: I can only compare it to the kind of ecstatic religious fervor of a revival meeting. As I said, Pete Seeger – by then, 86 years old – never performed at that concert. But he was surely there, channeled through the music and clarity of moral purpose and determination to stand up and sing out against injustice. That afternoon, beside the wreck of the city, we felt Pete’s power of song lifting us up. He lifts us still. Photo of Seeger and Springsteen at Barack Obama inauguration concert in Washington, January 2009. 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Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and more) 1/23: Fear, anxiety & dread- Scott Stossel w/David Kipen; searching for peace of mind Read more ( Advertise on LA Observed ( ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (

The Ash Grove: Sandy Carter in Z Magazine: Celebrating Pete Seeger

Daily Digest Sandy Carter in Z Magazine: Celebrating Pete Seeger Hi. Yesterday’s NY Times obit was written just after news of Pete’s death, just three readers had commented. As of late last night, there were more than 11,000. This review below gives a much deeper understanding of Pete, his guiding philosophy and politics, as well as of history, folk music and the times, as they change. It’s one to save. -Ed Celebrating Pete Seeger By Sandy Carter ( April 1, 1998 Posted in: Activism ( , Africa ( , Asia ( , Canada ( , Caribbean ( , Cuba ( , Ecology ( , Europe ( , Human Rights ( , North America ( , South Africa ( Our songs are like you and me, the product of a long human chain… —Pete Seeger Ever since the radical tradition of American folk music incubated in the 1930s, a loosely defined, loosely tied “folk music community” has inspired strains of popular music linked to radical politics and struggles for social justice. In musical forms such as blues, gospel, work songs, traditional ballads and old-time country sounds, left-wing musicians, and activists have discovered and cultivated authentic “people’s music” giving voice to the experiences of ordinary men and women. The progressive social tradition embedded in American folk music is, however, much more than a body of songs or musical style. The folk community has long been defined by certain attitudes about how music should be made. In “true” folk music there are no superstar celebrities or hits, no big distinctions between performers and audience, no elaborate musical productions. Folk places emphasis on lyrics and the human voice. Its subject matter is the totality of real life. The aesthetic measure of quality is more emotional honesty than musical technique. In sum, the left folk tradition is explicitly opposed to the conventions of “commercial” or mass music making. At the end of the 20th century with historical amnesia rampant, no popular political rebellion on the horizon, and so many of the songs of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly circulating in the mainstream of American cultural life, it is difficult to recall a time when folksingers or folk music could be considered subversive or worthy of repression. But with the release of the double CD compilation Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger (Appleseed Recordings), the music of one of the great torch bearers of alternative music making renews the spirit of radical song. Celebrating Seeger’s remarkable six-decade career as a folksinger/activist, Where Have All The Flowers Gone draws together a broad array of progressive minded musicians to perform songs and poems Seeger has penned or sung in his efforts to chronicle a people’s history through music and encourage the struggles of labor, anti-war and civil rights movements, environmentalists, and any number of other fights against injustice. Well known performers such as Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Indigo Girls, Nanci Griffith, Roger McGuinn, Ani Difranco, and actor Tim Robbins are on hand to pay homage and draw attention to the Seeger legacy. But the 39 performances on this deeply moving collection also pulls in a sterling cast of lesser known multicultural activist artists from around the globe and across generations. Author Studs Terkel and singer Ronnie Gilbert (a Seeger colleague in the Weavers) are among the elders. Sweet Honey In The Rock, Guy Davis, Tish Hinojosa, and John Trudell bring the sounds of black gospel, blues, Mexican folk, and spoken word to the program. The international delegation includes Tommy Sands and Delores Keane (Ireland), cellist Vedran Smailovic (Bosnia), Dick Gaughan (Scotland), Bruce Cockburn (Canada), and Billy Bragg (England). One of Pete Seeger’s great contributions to the folk world has been his ability to unearth traditional songs along with their social and historical roots. Viewing song as a bridge to other times, other cultures, and a vibrant connection between the past and present, he then brings to his concert performances a masterful weave of anecdotes and music evoking a common humanity and shared social vision. On Where Have All The Flowers Gone, the stories behind the songs are provided by liner note comments by Seeger, various artists, and producer Jim Musselman. While the humor and generous humanitarian spirit of Seeger’s live shows is missed, the song performances are consistently strong and imbued with the conviction and integrity associated with the Seeger name. The stunning title track opens disc one, with Belfast singer/peace worker Tommy Sands and the legendary Irish vocalist Dolores Keane blending their voices in a quiet, anguished prayer for peace against a vocal backdrop of Catholic and Protestant school children, haunting uillean pipes and accordion, and the mournful cello of Vedran Smailovic. Though not well known in the U.S., Smailovic gained worldwide attention when he refused to stop playing his cello on the streets of Sarajevo after his opera theater was destroyed and 22 of his neighbors died from a mortar attack. Asked by a CNN reporter if he was crazy for playing music with bombs falling, Smailovic replied, “You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello, why do you not ask if they are crazy for shelling Sarajevo?” Such a poignant performance sets a high standard for everything that follows, but this is an album loaded with inspiring, heartfelt music. The everlasting hymn of hope, “We Shall Overcome,” is interpreted with stirring dignity by Bruce Springsteen. Ani Difranco’s restrained rendering of “My Name Is Lisa Kalvelage” (the true story of a woman who stopped a Vietnam bound shipment of napalm by refusing to leave a loading platform), and Dick Gaughan’s angry take on the anti-Vietnam “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy” burn with timeless relevance. With an eerie vocal mix and drums and guitars crackling, the Indigo Girls translate the biblically inspired “Letter To Eve” as a feminist anthem for peace. Santee Sioux poet/activist John Trudell delivers a tough, personalized rendering of “The Torn Flag,” nailing hypocrisies and broken promises to a tarnished symbol of freedom. Other highlights such as the reggae flavored duet of Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt on “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”; John Gorka’s melodic, delicate singing on “The Water Is Wide”; Studs Terkel’s readings of “Oh Sacred World” and “Blessed Be The Nation”; Greg Brown’s loving version of “Sailing Down My Golden River”; and the profound soulfulness of Odetta on “One Grain Of Sand,” suggest the enormous scope and versatility of Seeger’s writing. However, even with nearly two and a half hours of music, Where Have All The Flower Gone is still a slim introduction to the Seeger heritage. Born in New York City in 1919 to musicologist Charles Seeger and concert violinist Constance Edson Seeger, Pete Seeger discovered his musical interest early on, picking up ukulele, guitar, and banjo by his teenage years and finding, at age 15, a developing interest in folk music. After a brief two years at Harvard, he dropped out of college in 1938, wandering about New England painting barns and houses, touring New York state with a puppeteer troupe, and joining with other musicians playing concerts and rallies in support of a dairy farmers union. After a short stint as an assistant to folklorist Alan Lomax, then organizing a Library of Congress Archive Of American Folk Songs, Seeger’s life took a decisive turn. In 1940, when he hooked up with Woody Guthrie in New York after performing at a benefit in support of California migrant farm workers, Seeger’s politics were socialist and he was intent on advancing his views through music. In Guthrie he had a kindred spirit and together they took off across the country paying their way with “the music of the people.” After splitting up, Seeger continued hoboing by himself, along the way polishing performance skills, absorbing songs, and writing a few of his own. By 1941, with Guthrie, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, he had formed the Almanac Singers to fuse traditional folk music with social protest focused on contemporary issues. The group performed at union rallies and leftist fundraisers and recorded two albums, Songs For John Doe and Talking Union And Other Union Songs, before disbanding shortly after the United States entered World War II. Drafted into the army in 1942 and serving in the Pacific, Seeger continued to collect traditional American songs of all kinds. Following the war, he helped launch Sing Out! The Folk Magazine to encourage social protest and the folk revival. The key turning point for the folk movement, however, occurred in 1948 when Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman convened the Weavers. Within three years the folk quartet sold four million records, while popularizing Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene,” Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” and the South African song “Wimoweh” (appearing on Where Have All The Flowers Gone in a 1980 version recorded at a Weavers reunion concert). In the wake of McCarthyism, the fortunes of the Weavers changed drastically. Finding themselves blacklisted from radio, television, and many concert halls, the group broke up in 1953. Seeger continued to record as a solo artist on Moe Asch’s Folkways label, but in 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Committee On Un-American Activities. While offering to discuss his songs or perform for the committee so that they might better understand his work, he cited the First Amendment and refused to talk about his politics. Though his conviction for Contempt of Congress was overturned by higher courts in 1961, Seeger was effectively blacklisted from the mass media for 17 years. Nonetheless, with the folk revival and political turmoil of the 1960s, cover versions of Seeger songs (“If I Had A Hammer,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Bells Of Rhymney”) became chart toppers. With his appearances on college campuses, and at civil rights and anti-war demonstrations, he was again on the front lines of social change, becoming in the process a cultural hero of unquestioned integrity. Decades later, constant touring and crusading have kept that image intact. His songs have traveled over the face of the earth provoking empathy, compassion, thought, and resistance. With a steady output of recordings, he has produced a rich and vast catalog of traditional songs that stands as a national treasure. Skimming through Seeger’s discography, one will find collections of children’s songs, love songs, frontier ballads, civil war tunes, Christmas carols, Leadbelly and Guthrie songs, blues, banjo instruction, nature songs, industrial protest ballads, Bantu choral folk songs, old time fiddle tunes, and numerous other gems imparting hidden or forgotten people’s history. With this huge body of work in mind, Appleseed Recordings founder Jim Musselman promises to release at least another two volumes of Seeger material. Though much of his work (including classic live performances) remains in print, the varied interpretations of his songs on Where Have All The Flowers Gone demonstrate the enduring vitality of his music and message. Whether dressed in the “epic theatre” tradition of Bertolt Brecht, the plain garments of traditional folk, or the multicolored hues of rock, jazz, and gospel, Seeger’s “sound” is humanity. Though he is a teacher of a brand of American history not taught in schools and a living link to a legendary community of singers (Paul Robeson, Earl Robinson, Aunt Molly Jackson, Sara Orgon Gunning, Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Leadbelly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, to mention a few) whose mission expressed specific historical concerns, his music is of the ages, conveying an abiding faith in an egalitarian dream. Appropriately, Where Have All The Flowers Gone gives Seeger the final track, “And Still I Am Searching,” to sing his message in his own voice: And I’m still searching Yes I’m still searching For a way we all can learn To build a world where we all can share The work, the fun, the food, the space, the joy, the pain and no one ever ever need or seek to be a millionaire. Appleseed Recordings is a genuine independent label, not a subsidiary of a major entertainment corporation. Appleseed accepts no corporate or outside funding, and donates a percentage of its profits to environmental, human rights, and other progressive organizations. Carter’s: Z Magazine Z Commentary * 2001 In Music ( * Talking About Myths, Heroes, And Scoundrels ( * Reviews ( * Ralph Stanley’s Old-Time Music ( * Amy Ray Goes Stag ( * Spring Reviews ( * Best of 2000 ( * The Great Folk Scare Continues ( * The Grammies: Follow the Money ( * Buena Vista Social Club ( * When Kids Kill ( * Littleton ( * Kazan and the Oscars and Us ( ZNet ( | ZMagazine ( | ZBlogs ( | Z Media Institute ( | Z Video Productions ( | ZBooks ( | Contact Us ( | ZCommunications 2014 ( | ( BACK TO TOP ? ( ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. Ed’s Daily Digest News We have recreated the list in a program called MailChimp that promises to stop unsubscribing you. Please let us know if you experience problems with this new format by writing to Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, Ca 94606 882 Cleveland St. #21 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove Oakland Ca 94606 ** follow on Twitter ( ** friend on Facebook ( ** forward to a friend ([UNIQID]) ** Add us to your address book ( ** Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ( ** unsubscribe from this list ([UNIQID]&c=f18293085f) ** update subscription preferences ([UNIQID]) follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) | friend on Facebook (# ) | forward to a friend ( Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. 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The Ash Grove: NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

This obituary has complementary material and focus than Ross or Democracy Now’s presentations. -Ed

** Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 ———————————————————— By JON PARELES ( JAN. 28, 2014 Inside View slide show|14 Photos ** Pete Seeger: A Life Lived in the Power of Song ———————————————————— Pete Seeger (, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y. His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama. For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

** Related in Opinion ( ———————————————————— * ** Dot Earth Blog: Pete Seeger is Gone, but His Circles of Song Ring OnJAN. 28, 2014 (

Pete played a concert in Ithaca NY on an extremely cold night in the winter of 1970 at a small hall holding less than 2,000 people. At 11PM,… ** Lance Diskan ———————————————————— 16 minutes ago

No words – even song – can capture the deep, pervasive impact of Pete Seeger’s life on America and our planet. A person of authentic… ** D. Annie ———————————————————— 16 minutes ago

We have lost a fine man. He would want us to pick up and carry on. He wanted us all to sing along, not watch him perform alone. There is… * See All Comments * Write a comment In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem. Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” ( — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” ( which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” ( became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” ( Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural ( . At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.” Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve. Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time. During the McCarthy era Mr. Seeger’s political affiliations, including membership in the Communist Party in the 1940s, led to his being blacklisted and later indicted for contempt of Congress. The pressure broke up the Weavers, and Mr. Seeger disappeared from television until the late 1960s. But he never stopped recording, performing and listening to songs from ordinary people. Through the decades, his songs have become part of America’s folklore. “My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.” Peter Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, to Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, a concert violinist. His parents later divorced. He began playing the ukulele while attending Avon Old Farms, a private boarding school in Connecticut. His father and his stepmother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, were collecting and transcribing rural American folk music, as were folklorists like John and Alan Lomax. He heard the five-string banjo, which would become his main instrument, when his father took him to a square-dance festival in North Carolina. Young Pete became enthralled by rural traditions. “I liked the strident vocal tone of the singers, the vigorous dancing,” he is quoted in “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a biography by David Dunaway. “The words of the songs had all the meat of life in them. Their humor had a bite, it was not trivial. Their tragedy was real, not sentimental.” Planning to be a journalist, Mr. Seeger attended Harvard, where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League. After two years, he dropped out and came to New York City, where Mr. Lomax introduced him to the blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly. Mr. Lomax also helped Mr. Seeger find a job cataloging and transcribing music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Mr. Seeger met Mr. Guthrie, a songwriter who shared his love of vernacular music and agitprop ambitions, in 1940, when they performed at a benefit concert for migrant California workers. Traveling across the United States with Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Seeger picked up some of his style and repertory. He also hitchhiked and hopped freight trains by himself, trading and learning songs. When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group. During World War II ( the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. But the group’s earlier antiwar songs, the target of an F.B.I. investigation, came to light, and the group’s career plummeted. Before the group completely dissolved, however, Mr. Seeger was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a unit of performers. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta while on furlough in 1943. When he returned from the war he founded People’s Songs Inc., which published political songs and presented concerts for several years before going bankrupt. He also started his nightclub career, performing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Mr. Seeger and Paul Robeson toured with the campaign of Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, in 1948. Mr. Seeger invested $1,700 in 17 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Beacon and began building a log cabin there in the late 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman started working together as the Weavers. They were signed to Decca Records by Gordon Jenkins, the company’s music director and an arranger for Frank Sinatra. With Mr. Jenkins’s elaborate orchestral arrangements, the group recorded a repertoire that stretched from “If I Had a Hammer” to a South African song, “Wimoweh” (the title was Mr. Seeger’s mishearing of “Mbube,” the name of a South African hit by Solomon Linda), to an Israeli soldiers’ song, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” to a cleaned-up version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Onstage, they also sang more pointed topical songs. In 1950 and 1951 the Weavers were national stars, with hit singles and engagements at major nightclubs. Their hits included “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and Mr. Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh),” and they sold an estimated four million singles and albums. But “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet listing performers with suspected Communist ties, appeared in June 1950 and listed Mr. Seeger, although by then he had quit the Communist Party. He would later criticize himself for having not left the party sooner, though he continued to describe himself as a “communist with a small ‘c.’ ” Despite the Weavers’ commercial success, by the summer of 1951 the “Red Channels” citation and leaks from F.B.I. files had led to the cancellation of television appearances. In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigated the Weavers for sedition. And in February 1952, a former member of People’s Songs testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers were members of the Communist Party. As engagements dried up the Weavers disbanded, though they reunited periodically in the mid-1950s. After the group recorded an advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Mr. Seeger left, citing his objection to promoting tobacco use. Shut out of national exposure, Mr. Seeger returned primarily to solo concerts, touring college coffeehouses, churches, schools and summer camps, building an audience for folk music among young people. He started to write a long-running column for the folk-song magazine Sing Out! And he recorded prolifically for the independent Folkways label, singing everything from children’s songs to Spanish Civil War anthems. In 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he testified, “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature.” He also stated: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.” Mr. Seeger offered to sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The committee declined. Mr. Seeger was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a year in prison, but the next year an appeals court dismissed the indictment as faulty. After the indictment, Mr. Seeger’s concerts were often picketed by the John Birch Society and other rightist groups. “All those protests did was sell tickets and get me free publicity,” he later said. “The more they protested, the bigger the audiences became.” By then, the folk revival was prospering. In 1959, Mr. Seeger was among the founders of the Newport Folk Festival. The Kingston Trio’s version of Mr. Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reached the Top 40 in 1962, soon followed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “If I Had a Hammer,” which rose to the Top 10. Mr. Seeger was signed to a major label, Columbia Records, in 1961, but he remained unwelcome on network television. “Hootenanny,” an early-1960s show on ABC that capitalized on the folk revival, refused to book Mr. Seeger, causing other performers (including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary) to boycott it. “Hootenanny” eventually offered to present Mr. Seeger if he would sign a loyalty oath. He refused. He toured the world, performing and collecting folk songs, in 1963, and returned to serenade civil rights advocates, who had made a rallying song of his “We Shall Overcome.” Like many of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “We Shall Overcome” had convoluted traditional roots. It was based on old gospel songs, primarily “I’ll Overcome,” a hymn that striking tobacco workers had sung on a picket line in South Carolina. A slower version, “We Will Overcome,” was collected from one of the workers, Lucille Simmons, by Zilphia Horton, the musical director of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., which trained union organizers. Ms. Horton taught it to Mr. Seeger, and her version of “We Will Overcome” was published in the People’s Songs newsletter. Mr. Seeger changed “We will” to “We shall” and added verses (“We’ll walk hand in hand”). He taught it to the singers Frank Hamilton, who would join the Weavers in 1962, and Guy Carawan, who became musical director at Highlander in the ‘50s. Mr. Carawan taught the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at its founding convention. The song was copyrighted by Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Carawan and Ms. Horton. “At that time we didn’t know Lucille Simmons’s name,” Mr. Seeger wrote in his 1993 autobiography, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” All of the song’s royalties go to the “We Shall Overcome” Fund, administered by what is now the Highlander Research and Education Center, which provides grants to African-Americans organizing in the South. Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.) As the United States grew divided over the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger wrote “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an antiwar song with the refrain “The big fool says to push on.” He performed the song during a taping of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in September 1967, his return to network television, but it was cut before the show was broadcast. After the Smothers Brothers publicized the censorship, Mr. Seeger returned to perform the song for broadcast in February 1968. During the late 1960s Mr. Seeger started an improbable project: a sailing ship that would crusade for cleaner water on the Hudson River. Between other benefit concerts he raised money to build the Clearwater, a 106-foot sloop that was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The ship became a symbol and a rallying point for antipollution efforts and education. In May 2009, after decades of litigation and environmental activism led by Mr. Seeger’s nonprofit environmental organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, General Electric began dredging sediment containing PCBs it had dumped into the Hudson. Mr. Seeger and his wife also helped organize a yearly summer folk festival named after the Clearwater. In the ‘80s and ‘90s Mr. Seeger toured regularly with Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, and continued to lead singalongs and perform benefit concerts. Recognition and awards arrived. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1993 he was given a lifetime achievement Grammy Award ( . In 1994, President Bill Clinton handed him the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest arts honor, given by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, he traveled to Cuba to receive the Order of Félix Varela, Cuba’s highest cultural award, for his “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism.” In 1996, Mr. Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Arlo Guthrie, who paid tribute at the ceremony, mentioned that the Weavers’ hit “Goodnight, Irene” reached No. 1, only to add, “I can’t think of a single event in Pete’s life that is probably less important to him.” Mr. Seeger made no acceptance speech, but he did lead a singalong of “Goodnight, Irene,” flanked by Stevie Wonder, David Byrne and members of the Jefferson Airplane. Mr. Seeger won Grammy Awards for best traditional folk album in 1997, for the album “Pete,” and in 2009, for the album “At 89.” He also won a Grammy in the children’s music category in 2011 for “Tomorrow’s Children.” 195Comments Mr. Seeger kept performing into the 21st century, despite a flagging voice; audiences happily sang along more loudly. He celebrated his 90th birthday, on May 3, 2009, at a Madison Square Garden concert — a benefit for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater — with Mr. Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Emmylou Harris and dozens of other musicians paying tribute. In August he was back in Newport for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival. Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in 2013, days before the couple’s 70th anniversary. Survivors include his son, Daniel; his daughters, Mika and Tinya; a half-sister, Peggy; and six grandchildren, including the musician Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who performed with him at the Obama inaugural. His half-brother Mike Seeger, a folklorist and performer who founded the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009. Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. “The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, “is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” Gerry Mullany contributed reporting from Hong Kong, and Emma G. Fitzsimmons from New York. ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. 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Pete Seeger RIP

———————————————————— The Ash Grove Pete Seeger RIP Dear Folk Music Friends, The first article below is the excellent AP obituary for Pete Seeger, who passed away last night in New York City at the age of 94. The second article is the notice from the Grammy web site of the first ever Woody Guthrie Prize bestowed by the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma which Pete was scheduled to receive next month in NYC at a ceremony/concert with Arlo Guthrie. Sadly, that event will probably now become a memorial for Pete. I have included all of the photos from both articles. One of his songs is called To My Old Brown Earth, where Pete will now Rest in Peace, Ross Altman Essential News from The Associated Press AAA Jan. 28, 2014 2:25 AM ET Folk singer, activist Pete Seeger dies in NY By MICHAEL HILL ( By MICHAEL HILL File-This Oct. 14, 1994, file photo shows President Clinton presenting folk musician Pete Seeger with a 1994 National Medal of Arts, in Washington at the White House. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/Joe Marquette, File) File-This Oct. 14, 1994, file photo shows President Clinton presenting folk musician Pete Seeger with a 1994 National Medal of Arts, in Washington at the White House. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/Joe Marquette, File) File- This Feb. 25, 1984, file photo shows folk singer Pete Seeger performing in a one-man benefit concert in Berkeley, Calif., at the Berkeley Community Theater. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/Mark Costantini, File) File-This May 1993 file photo shows Pete Seeger, left, age 74, who hadn’t sung with Burl Ives, right, age 84, for at least 40 years, singing together in rehearsal at New York’s 92nd St., Y. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal, File) File-This May 13, 1975, file photo shows folk singer Pete Seeger, left, performing at the Rally for Détente at Carnegie Hall in New York. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) File-This Aug. 28, 1948, file photo shows Henry A. Wallace, listening to Pete Seeger, his banjo-playing singer, on a plane between Norfolk and Richmond, Va. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died Monday Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94. (AP Photo/File) . . 1 of 5 . . Buy AP Photo Reprints NEW YORK (AP) — Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died Monday at the age of 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson said his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him. “He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” Cahill-Jackson recalled. Seeger — with his a lanky frame, banjo and full white beard — was an iconic figure in folk music. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his 90s, leaning on two canes. He wrote or co-wrote “If I Had a Hammer,” ”Turn, Turn, Turn,” ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his banjo strapped on. “Be wary of great leaders,” he told The Associated Press two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.” With The Weavers, a quartet organized in 1948, Seeger helped set the stage for a national folk revival. The group — Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman — churned out hit recordings of “Goodnight Irene,” ”Tzena, Tzena” and “On Top of Old Smokey.” Seeger also was credited with popularizing “We Shall Overcome,” which he printed in his publication “People’s Song,” in 1948. He later said his only contribution to the anthem of the civil rights movement was changing the second word from “will” to “shall,” which he said “opens up the mouth better.” “Every kid who ever sat around a campfire singing an old song is indebted in some way to Pete Seeger,” Arlo Guthrie once said. His musical career was always braided tightly with his political activism, in which he advocated for causes ranging from civil rights to the cleanup of his beloved Hudson River. Seeger said he left the Communist Party around 1950 and later renounced it. But the association dogged him for years. He was kept off commercial television for more than a decade after tangling with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955. Repeatedly pressed by the committee to reveal whether he had sung for Communists, Seeger responded sharply: “I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.” He was charged with contempt of Congress, but the sentence was overturned on appeal. Seeger called the 1950s, years when he was denied broadcast exposure, the high point of his career. He was on the road touring college campuses, spreading the music he, Guthrie, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter and others had created or preserved. “The most important job I did was go from college to college to college to college, one after the other, usually small ones,” he told The Associated Press in 2006. ” … And I showed the kids there’s a lot of great music in this country they never played on the radio.” His scheduled return to commercial network television on the highly rated Smothers Brothers variety show in 1967 was hailed as a nail in the coffin of the blacklist. But CBS cut out his Vietnam protest song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” and Seeger accused the network of censorship. He finally got to sing it five months later in a stirring return appearance, although one station, in Detroit, cut the song’s last stanza: “Now every time I read the papers/That old feelin’ comes on/We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool says to push on.” Seeger’s output included dozens of albums and single records for adults and children. He also was the author or co-author of “American Favorite Ballads,” ”The Bells of Rhymney,” ”How to Play the Five-String Banjo,” ”Henscratches and Flyspecks,” ”The Incompleat Folksinger,” ”The Foolish Frog” and “Abiyoyo,” ”Carry It On,” ”Everybody Says Freedom” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” He appeared in the movies “To Hear My Banjo Play” in 1946 and “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon” in 1970. A reunion concert of the original Weavers in 1980 was filmed as a documentary titled “Wasn’t That a Time.” By the 1990s, no longer a party member but still styling himself a communist with a small C, Seeger was heaped with national honors. Official Washington sang along — the audience must sing, was the rule at a Seeger concert — when it lionized him at the Kennedy Center in 1994. President Clinton hailed him as “an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them.” Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as an early influence. Ten years later, Bruce Springsteen honored him with “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” a rollicking reinterpretation of songs sung by Seeger. While pleased with the album, Seeger said he wished it was “more serious.” A 2009 concert at Madison Square Garden to mark Seeger’s 90th birthday featured Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder and Emmylou Harris among the performers. Seeger was a 2014 Grammy Awards nominee in the Best Spoken Word category, which was won by Stephen Colbert. Seeger’s sometimes ambivalent relationship with rock was most famously on display when Dylan “went electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Witnesses say Seeger became furious backstage as the amped-up band played, though just how furious is debated. Seeger dismissed the legendary tale that he looked for an ax to cut Dylan’s sound cable, and said his objection was not to the type of music but only that the guitar mix was so loud you couldn’t hear Dylan’s words. Seeger maintained his reedy 6-foot-2 frame into old age, though he wore a hearing aid and conceded that his voice was pretty much shot. He relied on his audiences to make up for his diminished voice, feeding his listeners the lines and letting them sing out. “I can’t sing much,” he said. “I used to sing high and low. Now I have a growl somewhere in between.” Nonetheless, in 1997 he won a Grammy for best traditional folk album, “Pete.” Seeger was born in New York City on May 3, 1919, into an artistic family whose roots traced to religious dissenters of colonial America. His mother, Constance, played violin and taught; his father, Charles, a musicologist, was a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression. His uncle Alan Seeger, the poet, wrote “I Have a Rendezvous With Death.” Pete Seeger said he fell in love with folk music when he was 16, at a music festival in North Carolina in 1935. His half brother, Mike Seeger, and half sister, Peggy Seeger, also became noted performers. He learned the five-string banjo, an instrument he rescued from obscurity and played the rest of his life in a long-necked version of his own design. On the skin of Seeger’s banjo was the phrase, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender” — a nod to his old pal Guthrie, who emblazoned his guitar with “This machine kills fascists.” Dropping out of Harvard in 1938 after two years as a disillusioned sociology major, he hit the road, picking up folk tunes as he hitchhiked or hopped freights. “The sociology professor said, ‘Don’t think that you can change the world. The only thing you can do is study it,'” Seeger said in October 2011. In 1940, with Guthrie and others, he was part of the Almanac Singers and performed benefits for disaster relief and other causes. He and Guthrie also toured migrant camps and union halls. He sang on overseas radio broadcasts for the Office of War Information early in World War II. In the Army, he spent 3½ years in Special Services, entertaining soldiers in the South Pacific, and made corporal. Pete and Toshi Seeger were married July 20, 1943. The couple built their cabin in Beacon after World War II and stayed on the high spot of land by the Hudson River for the rest of their lives together. The couple raised three children. Toshi Seeger died in July at age 91. The Hudson River was a particular concern of Seeger. He took the sloop Clearwater, built by volunteers in 1969, up and down the Hudson, singing to raise money to clean the water and fight polluters. He also offered his voice in opposition to racism and the death penalty. He got himself jailed for five days for blocking traffic in Albany in 1988 in support of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager whose claim of having been raped by white men was later discredited. He continued to take part in peace protests during the war in Iraq, and he continued to lend his name to causes. “Can’t prove a damn thing, but I look upon myself as old grandpa,” Seeger told the AP in 2008 when asked to reflect on his legacy. “There’s not dozens of people now doing what I try to do, not hundreds, but literally thousands. … The idea of using music to try to get the world together is now all over the place.” ___ Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles and Mary Esch in Saratoga Springs in contributed to this report. Associated Press ( Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ( © Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. © Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. The Woody Guthrie Prize event The Woody Guthrie Prize thumbnail tickets Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space Sat, Feb 22, 2014 8:00pm buy now ( ( . For more information on the life and legacy of Woody Guthrie, please visit ( . multimedia ** Photos (6) ———————————————————— ============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove, All rights reserved. A new format for The Ash Grove list! Hope you like it. Our mailing address is: Ed Pearl- The Ash Grove 882 Cleveland St. #21 Oakland, CA 94606 USA Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp ** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized ) ** friend on Facebook (# ) ** forward to a friend ( ** unsubscribe from this list ( ** update subscription preferences (