September 23, 2003
Appleseed Records
Folk, Contemporary Folk, Political Folk, Traditional Folk, Folk Revival, Folksongs

Album Review

In his 60-some years as a public performer, Pete Seeger has left an indelible footprint on popular music. As a member of the Almanac Singers (with Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, and Millard Lampell) in the 1940s and the Weavers (again with Lee Hays, as well as Fred Hellerman and Ronnie Gilbert) a decade later, Seeger helped midwife the urban folk boom of the 1960s. His comfortable voice and graceful banjo style give his many compositions and folk adaptations an easy and elegant dignity. Seeds is the third in a trilogy of double-disc albums that feature songs either written or arranged by Seeger, with the spotlight this time on previously unreleased material, most of which is on the first disc. As a writer, Seeger has long been a master of protest songs, whimsical songs, and songs of unbridled optimism, and "Trouble at the Bottom," "English Is Cuh-ray-zee," and "Flowers of Peace" (sung to the gorgeous melody of "Wild Mountain Thyme") are welcome additions to his body of work. "Estadio Chile," the horrifying story of the great Chilean singer Victor Jara, is simply an unforgettable song, if painful to hear because of the cruelty it has to bear. The final song on the first disc, "Sailing Down My Golden River," recorded with the assistance of David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd fame) and orchestrated by Michael Kamen, functions as a sort of elegant autumnal statement from Seeger. The songs on the second disc are sung by contemporary folk artists who share an affinity to Seeger's work and include some of his most famous tunes, including Dick Gaughan's slow, stark, synthesizer-colored version of "Bells of Rhymney" and Natalie Merchant's powerful take on "Which Side Are You On," a song written by Florence Reece but popularized by Seeger and sung at many union gatherings.
Steve Leggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Oh, Sacred World
  2. Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam)
  3. Trouble at the Bottom
  4. The Dove
  5. English Is Cuh-Ray-Zee
  6. A Little A' This 'N' That
  7. Maple Syrup Time
  8. Odds on Favorite (A Long Story Terse)
  9. Estadio Chile
  10. Flowers of Peace
  11. Dr. King on Violence
  12. Take It From Dr. King
  13. Sower of Seeds
  14. Visions of Children
  15. Over the Rainbow
  16. Sailing Down My Golden River
  17. A Lucky Musician
  18. Old Devil Time
  19. Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter
  20. Who Killed Norma Jean
  21. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  22. Bells of Rhymney
  23. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
  24. From Way Up Here
  25. Times A-Getting Hard, Boys
  26. One Man's Hands
  27. Sacco's Letter to His Son
  28. Spider's Web (Natural History)
  29. River of My People [Live]
  30. When I Was Most Beautiful [Live]
  31. Tomorrow Is a Highway [Live]
  32. Which Side Are You On
  33. Precious Friend
  34. To My Old Brown Earth
  35. 50/50 Chance
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