March 17, 1998
Appleseed Records
Pop/Rock, Political Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Adult Contemporary, Psychedelic, Folk-Rock, Contemporary Folk, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Album Review

After listening to this multi-artist two-CD celebration of Pete Seeger's songs, you'll be delighted to read in the liner notes that it's "just the beginning of at least four volumes." Producer Jim Musselman calls the package a "labor of love," and that's clearly what it was. Musselman did a terrific job of choosing the songs from Seeger's vast repertoire, and of matching each tune with an artist "based on either the philosophical fit between the artist and the message of the song and/or their unique musical style." Even the extensive liner notes -- which include info on each performer, plus comments on every song by Seeger and the performer -- testify to the effort that went into the project. The result is one of the most consistently successful tribute albums on the market.
The material is wonderful; whether you think of Seeger primarily as an interpreter or a crusader for social justice, you'll be impressed by this reminder of just how many classic tunes he has written or cowritten and how many topics he's covered -- everything from the Byrds-popularized "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Bruce Cockburn) to the lullaby "One Grain of Sand" (Odetta) to "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" (Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt).
The performers, who range in age from five to 85, are a motley crew; and while they include more than a few obscure artists who apparently made the grade because they happen to be signed to Appleseed or its affiliated labels, the collection also features lots of big names. More importantly, nearly all of the 39 recordings are first-rate. Among the many highlights: Bruce Springsteen's gentle reading of "We Shall Overcome"; Greg Brown's "Sailing Down My Golden River"; Roger McGuinn's "Bells of Rhymney" (a song he first recorded with the Byrds); and Ani DiFranco's "My Name Is Lisa Kalvelage."
Perhaps most touching, though, is the concluding number, Pete Seeger's own recording of his newly written "And Still I Am Searching." Sadly, the track does back up Seeger's statement in the liner notes that "I hardly have any voice left." But it also evidences the spirit that gave birth to all these songs. That spirit was still very much alive in the septuagenarian Seeger when this album was released, and thanks to his music, it will be around long after he's gone.
Jeff Burger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
  2. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
  3. The Water Is Wide
  4. Of Time and Rivers Flowing
  5. My Name Is Liza Kalvelage
  6. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
  7. Festival of Flowers
  8. Step by Step
  9. Blessed Be the Nation
  10. My Father's Mansion
  11. Sailing Down My Golden River
  12. Goofing off Suite
  13. Those Three Are on My Mind
  14. How Can I Keep from Singing?
  15. All Mixed Up
  16. Empty Pocket Blues
  17. Get Up and Go
  18. Old Riley
  19. If I Had a Hammer
  20. Wimoweh
  21. We Shall Overcome
  22. The Bells of Rhymney
  23. Oh, Had I a Golden Thread
  24. False from True
  25. Letter to Eve
  26. Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
  27. All My Children of the Sun
  28. Living in the Country
  29. One Grain of Sand
  30. Old Father Hudson-Sailing Down Dirty Stream
  31. The Torn Flag
  32. Doublin'
  33. To Everyone in the World
  34. Over the Hills
  35. I Come and Stand at Every Door
  36. My Rainbow Race
  37. Quiet Early Morning
  38. Oh, Sacred World
  39. And Still I Am Searching