April 21, 2009
The Omni Recording Corporation
Folk, Folksongs, Political Folk, Folk Revival, Children's Folk, Traditional Folk

Album Review

This two-disc set collects Pete Seeger's final three LPs for Columbia Records, 1968's Now, 1969's Young vs. Old, and 1971's Rainbow Race, along with the banned and never officially issued single "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag" from 1970, and what emerges is a pretty well-rounded portrait of Seeger's various sides as songwriter, song interpreter, live performer, and cultural and political barometer. There's no denying Seeger's historical importance to both folk and pop music and on the political front, well, he's been a kind of canary in the coal mine for decades, speaking (and singing) out on any number of vital issues. At the time that these albums were originally released, though, Seeger presented a tough marketing problem for Columbia, partly because of the singer's strong political views and partly for his equally as strong aversion to all things mercantile, and at a time when the urban folk boom was at its peak, Seeger, who by all rights should have been in the front and center of it, was marginalized, as much an embarrassment to Columbia marketing execs as he was an asset. Time heals all wounds, however, or at least time covers them up, and Seeger can now be viewed as what he always was, a gifted live performer, songwriter and song preserver who has more interest in bringing people together for social utility than dividing and provoking them to anger. Packaged like this, these three LPs reveal a versatile and thoughtful performer, and there are plenty of gems here, including the stark and startling "Last Train to Nuremberg," the call and response sing-a-long "He's Long Gone," a graceful reading of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" and a beautiful rendition of the gospel folk traditional "Water Is Wide," among others. Seeger has been doing the same sort of thing ever since the Almanac Singers, so nothing here is revelatory, but one wonders why Columbia just didn't market Seeger for what he really was -- an American treasure.
Steve Leggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Last Train to Nuremberg
  2. Last Train To Nuremberg
  3. Sailing Down This Golden River
  4. Sailing Down This Golden River
  5. Uncle Ho
  6. Uncle Ho
  7. Snow Snow
  8. Snow Snow
  9. My Rainbow Race
  10. My Rainbow Race
  11. Our Generation
  12. Our Generation
  13. Old Devil Time
  14. Old Devil Time
  15. The Clearwater
  16. The Clearwater
  17. Words Words Words
  18. Words Words Words
  19. Hobo's Lullaby
  20. Hobo's Lullaby
  21. Adam the Inventor
  22. Adam The Inventor
  23. Letter To Eve
  24. Letter to Eve
  25. Talking Ben Tre
  26. Talking Ben Tre
  27. Backlash Blues
  28. Backlash Blues
  29. He's Long Gone
  30. He's Long Gone
  31. The Torn Flag
  32. The Torn Flag
  33. Michael Row the Boat Ashore
  34. Michael Row The Boat Ashore
  35. Taint But Me One
  36. Taint Me But One
  37. False from True
  38. False From True
  39. Cotton Needed Pickin' So Bad
  40. Cotton Needed Pickin' So Bad
  41. Everybody's Got a Right to Live
  42. Everybody's Got A Right To Live
  43. The Cities Are Burning
  44. The Cities Are Burning
  45. Water Is Wide (O Waly Waly)
  46. Water Is Wide (O Waly Waly)
  47. Who Knows
  48. Who Knows
  49. Bring Them Home
  50. Bring Them Home
  51. When I Was Most Beautiful
  52. When I Was Most Beautiful
  53. This Old Car
  54. This Old Car
  55. Ballad Of The Fort Hood Three
  56. Ballad of the Fort Hood Three
  57. Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase
  58. Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase
  59. Since You've Been Apart
  60. Since You've Been Apart
  61. Lolly Todum
  62. Lolly Todum
  63. My Rainbow Man
  64. My Rainbow Man
  65. Poisoning the Student's Minds
  66. Poisoning The Students' Minds
  67. All My Children Of The Sun
  68. All My Children of the Sun
  69. The Good Boy
  70. The Good Boy
  71. Be Kind To Your Parents
  72. Be Kind to Your Parents
  73. Get Up and Go
  74. Get Up And Go
  75. Declaration Of Independence
  76. Declaration of Independence
  77. Both Sides Now
  78. Both Sides Now
  79. Mayrowana
  80. Mayrowana
  81. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag [#]
  82. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag [#]