It's Pete Seeger's 93rd birthday today and I try not to let the occasion pass on NewsCut each year. No sense repeating myself, I suppose.
"It's not enough to say 'you have rights,'" former Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines once said of Seeger. "You have to use them."
Nothing scares people in power like a person who can carry a tune.
I saw Seeger perform in Madison Square Garden at a national Luther League convention in 1970. He was crowding 60 then but had no trouble holding the attention of over 10,000 young people, most of whom were considerably to Seeger's right.
A talented entertainer and an indefatigable cultural warrior who was going after the 1% long before it was fashionable. And no, I cannot remember the last time I saw Pete Seeger on television other than in some PBS special about The Weavers.
A rightwing banjo player with one-tenth the talent would win awards and be on late night television constantly. Pete Seeger? The only coverage the media would like to give Pete Seeger would be the publication of his obituary.
"former Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines"
- Band went on hiatus, I believe they are in studio recording new stuff,
last I heard, the sisters got tired of waiting for Maines to decide whether she wanted to tour again or not, so they reformed their old banjo group.
I grew up in New York's Lower Hudson Valley. I was a kid when the the sloop Clearwater first hit the river. I always associate Pete Seeger with the Clearwater first and everything else after that.
My favorite Pete Seeger song is "Katmandu."
Natalie Maines is still the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, and the Dixie Chicks are still a band they are just on hiatus for now. On October 17, 2011, The Dixie Chicks played the Concert For Wildfire Relief in Austin, Texas in front of 16,000 people.
I first heard Pete singing for a group of elementary school kids in Vermont in -- was it 1954? He had no trouble holding the attention of the maybe 12 people in that small room. And he has never had any trouble holding my attention ever since, even when heard on a bad record player thorough an open window. You just can't help wanting to hear what Pete has to say....
Saw Pete and Arlo Guthrie on a magical night at Northrup in 198?. It was just the two of them, a whole bunch of instruments and a large oriental rug on which each of them lounged when not performing. They took turns singing solo and together, covering lots of folky ground, but featuring lots of music by Woody Guthrie. A real hootenanny!
Bob - Thanks for posting this. You're a man of fascinating contradictions. ( One of the many things that keep me coming back :-)