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Archive for January 28th, 2014

Pete SeegerPete Seeger died yesterday at the age of 94.  He had a pretty remarkable life, using the power of music as a hammer to pound against the powers of social injustice.  The thing that I admire most is his always evident conviction to whatever cause he was devoted.  For as gentle and jovial a man as he appeared to be, there was no wishy-washiness in Pete Seeger.  He always spoke the truth to power on the most pressing matters of the day– the labor movement, civil rights, the Viet Nam war and the environment.

Of course, anyone with such strong and visible views, wil have some controversy surrounding him and Seeger was no different.  He was blacklisted in the 1950’s for his early affiliation with Communism and his slowness to finally condemn Stalin followed him through the years.  But, to his credit, he did own up to his actions and admit mistakes when he felt they were made.  Probably more so than most of those in power would be willing to admit.

Of course, the music is the legacy of Pete Seeger.  Songs like If I Had a Hammer , Where Have All the Flowers Gone?  and Turn! Turn! Turn! have  all have been covered innumerable times, becoming so ingrained in the American songbook that it seems hard to believe that they weren’t written even longer ago than they were.  Well,  the lyrics of  Turn! Turn! Turn! were a bit earlier as they use the words from Ecclesiastes in the Bible.  I grew up with a single of the Byrds’ version of  Turn! Turn! Turn! never far away from our old stereo console and I still get a chill when I hear those opening chords and a little teary when I listen to the lyrics..

So, for  Pete Seeger, to every thing there is a season.  Thank you.

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