Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Sandtrack: Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger was born in 1919, and everyone knows his name and what he is done. But even if they don't, Wikipaedia does.  If you like Peter Paul and Mary, The Kinston Trio, or thought the Lion King had the best movie soundtrack ever, you like them, in part, because of Pete Seeger.  Pete Seeger is even the force behind Bruce Sprinsteen finally making music worth listening to.    

As best as I can remember, the first Pete Seeger song I ever heard was "If I Had A Hammer", though at the time I thought it was a Peter, Paul, and Mary song.  And this brings me to something that makes me very sad, since he is such an important part of America, but Pete Seeger was and remains a Communist.   

I like to think he is merely deluded and not truly malevolent, but I don't know.   It is hard for me to think anyone can still be a Communist after the events of the 20th Century, but he is.  He joined the communist Youth League in 1936 and the Communist Party in 1942. In 1945 Seeger became head of People's Songs, Inc.  A report by a fact finding committee of the California Senate said of People's Songs that was 
"a vital Communist front … one which has spawned a horde of lesser fronts in the fields of music, stage entertainment, choral singing, folk dancing, recording, radio transcriptions and similar fields. It especially is important to Communist proselytizing and propaganda work because of its emphasis on appeal to youth, and because of its organization and technique to provide entertainment for organizations and groups as a smooth opening wedge for Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist propaganda."
In 2000 he affirmed that he is still a Communist, saying the Soviet union wasn't real Communism.  In 2008 he performed the anti-property verse of This Land is Your Land at the "We Are One" pre-innaugural concert for President Obama.  I pray for his salvation.
This is my favorite Pete Seeger song.  My first experience of the song was in 1982 when the Tokens version of it came over the Florida airwaves from WRBQ to my bedroom.  This mash-up version of the song, containing references to at least three other songs, is by an acapela show choir called Straight No Chaser. 

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