This collection of his songs is fascinating in that it shows a certain aspect of Pete’s music: his songs are designed for “folks.” His songs almost demand audience participation. And so, he has albums for kids (that are weird but wonderful) and other, grown up songs that kids also know, which people have been singing for generations.
And so this disc features more than “studio tracks.” It opens with “Little Boxes” a wonderful song which features some awesome lyrics including this verse:
And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
But in addition, you get some classic tracks that define rebellious folk: “Which Side Are You On?” “We Shall Overcome” and “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.” It also has songs like “Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)” and “Abiyoyo.”
And of course, it features, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn Turn Turn” songs which I’ve known since I was a little kid, but whose lyrics never meant anything to me until I became an adult. There’s even “If I Had a Hammer” with the final verse:
It’s the hammer of justice;
It’s the bell of freedom;
It’s the song about love between my brothers and my sisters;
All over this land
For a really comprehensive collection of his “studio work” the ideal disc is If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope and Struggle (where he sets the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to a song called “Solidarity Forever” (Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, For the union makes us strong.)
Pete Seeger is indeed a national treasure, and a man who fights in his own way for each of us.
[READ: August 23, 2010] Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm
After reading Letters of Insurgents, I felt the need for a palate cleanser. Melissa suggested this title. And it really did wonders for me.
All along while I was reading Insurgents, I felt like everyone in the book was misguided about their role in society and, frankly about their ability to undermine the world. I never understood the idea that people were “making” them work. They didn’t have to work. They could have lived off the grid somewhere and eaten berries. What else is the point of a strike than to improve working conditions, not to abolish work altogether (that whole apart about the plants’ foreign offices plugging along despite their big lockdown was particularly hilariously naive).
In many ways I felt like their opinions were on par with what I thought anarchism was, and yet their opinions were nothing I wanted to be a part of. Bookchin argues that their attitudes are examples of Lifestyle Anarchism (this article does not address the book at all, but you can see the characters in what he’s describing.) (more…)