Jump to content

Pete Seeger - R.i.p.


Recommended Posts

 

I found the tribute to Pete written by fellow folk musician and singer Tom Paxton in today's "Washington Post" to be a fine evocation of the spirit of music making that both Pete and Tom have championed for these many decades.

Here's the link.

 

 

Thank you for that, Jim - and here's the conclusion to which the author has come and which as I believe can be shared right here without embarrassing anyone:

 

Was Pete political? Of course. He was political as Walt Whitman was political, as Clarence Darrow and Woody Guthrie were political; as, for that matter, all of us should be political. He felt that ordinary people deserved protection from bullies of all stripes and his was the gift of being able to express this belief in music and in the way he lived his life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pete's passing marks the end of an era - an era that most of us were born into. Where do we go from here?

 

The Internet banjo fraternity is, of course, in deep mourning. The special long-necked 5-string banjo was Pete's hallmark, and many banjoists have learned their instrument directly or indirectly from him. But I think it's significant that Pete Seeger is known, and will be remembered, as a musician, not merely as a banjoist.

 

Perhaps we can emulate that in our more humble way. If we take our concertinas and try to make music with them, I think we'll fulfil our mission of bringing people pleasure more effectively than by just trying to play the concertina.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pete's passing marks the end of an era....

I hope not.

 

Pete was unique -- aren't we all? -- but he was far from alone.

 

Many who knew him and worked with him are also "gone", but many others -- even some of us -- are still alive and active. So are many of the activities he nurtured, including (but hardly limited to) the sloop Clearwater and the Hudson River Revival festival, but also and especially the use of both song and cooperative effort to energize social movements.

 

His legacy and spirit aren't dead. They're being carried forward by those of us he inspired, and not just "big names" like Dylan, Paxton and Springsteen... nor just the "over-50's", either.

 

I dreamed I saw old Pete last night,

Alive as you and me.

Says I, “But Pete, you’re three days dead.”

“I never died,” said he;

“I'm with Joe Hill,” said he.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Much as I admire Pete Seeger - what a wonderful contribution to folk music! - I would not support renaming that bridge. The Dutch named that wider part of the Hudson for a 'Tappan' branch of the Delaware Indians (one of the groups who bore the brunt of first contact with the Europeans); Zee means Sea in Dutch, meaning that wide part. There are few enough place names that take us back to that earliest European period in our history (what happened to New Amsterdam?) and to the Indian tribes who lived here before being pushed out. And in general I prefer not to rename things for popular current events.

 

Nobody is advocating renaming anything.

 

The body of water will still be the Tappan Zee.

 

The Tappan Zee Bridge will be torn down after being replaced by a newer, as yet unnamed, bridge. The web site describing the project calls it "The New NY Bridge" suggesting that it will not be called "The Tappan Zee Bridge." The petition suggests naming this bridge (the first span is scheduled to open in 2016, the second in 2018) after Pete Seeger.

 

 

 

Well, David, that website may call it "The New NY Bridge", but that is because it is owned by pragmatic and perhaps political types running State and Federal Agencies, who know that sometimes they need to name something after a politician to get a project moving at a critical time (BTW, the road served by the bridge is officially the Governor Dewey Thruway, but no one calls it that; it is the New York State Thruway to everyone who uses it). Have a look at this page on that same website, where nearly all of the many persons voicing public support for the effort call it either the 'Tappan Zee Project' or the 'new Tappan Zee Bridge.' Not one of them calls it 'The New NY Bridge' or suggests that a name change is needed. In like manner, the Brooklyn Bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

 

I agree with Jim on the critical point here: Pete Seeger would not draw attention to himself in that way. His legacy is far too important for someone to splash his name on a bridge like some politician. That is all I was trying to say. Not being a New Yorker, I won't have a vote. But I promise to play a Pete Seeger song on my concertina the next time I camp at Lake LBJ.

 

Edited by Dan Worrall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Pete would likely be more pleased if they would name some water purification plant for him!

Actually, I think Pete would prefer that nothing be named after him, and certainly not some grandiose man-made construction, no matter how useful. Pete was never about getting people to know the name "Pete Seeger"; he was about getting people interested and involved in the things he loved... the music, the Hudson River, the greater environment, freedom, equality, peace....

 

For those who feel a need to "honor" Pete in naming this new bridge (or anything else, for that matter), I think a much better name would be "Clearwater" or "Hudson". (The name "Peace Bridge" is already taken; it joins Canada and the US above Niagara Falls.)

 

Well, it's not a building but:

Just before high school one of my guitar playing friends got a banjo from a uncle of his, (if I remember this correctly), but the important thing is that the banjo was named "Pete" and it was apparently very important for his uncle that he kept referring to this banjo as "Pete". First my friend thought it was named after some old dog or cat of his uncle, so I still remember my friends lightning face when I met him at the local library with a Pete Seger LP under the arm, the banjo wasn't named after a dog at all! :) And if that banjo is still around I'm pretty sure some one is still calling it Pete...

Edited by Hasse
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I dreamed I saw old Pete last night,

Alive as you and me.

Says I, But Pete, youre three days dead.

I never died, said he;

I'm with Joe Hill, said he.

 

 

Thanks, Jim. I think that's the most apt comment I've seen so far.

 

Chris

Jim's lyrics made me smile (guess you know what I mean by that) as well...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I dreamed I saw old Pete last night,

Alive as you and me.

Says I, “But Pete, you’re three days dead.”

“I never died,” said he;

“I'm with Joe Hill,” said he.

 

 

Thanks, Jim. I think that's the most apt comment I've seen so far.

 

Chris

 

Doesn't get any better than this. Thanks. What Pete left us is a legacy that will be hard to follow, but follow we must if we are to have a truly free society. The only musician I know of that is really following that tradition is David James, but I'm sure (or at least I hope) there are many others. Pete became famous. But he had fame "thrust upon him." He didn't ask for it, he just lived life as his beliefs dictated. Neither money nor fame was important to him, but music and music's power to bring the world together in common causes were. A living example for everyone regardless of their beliefs...speak your mind honestly and politely and best through music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there was an obituary broadcast tonight at 8:30 on the BBC radio 4 program Last Word. it should still be available on the BBC website listen again feature for up to 7 days. there were contributions from Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Roger McGuinn and Peggy Seeger.

 

If this link does not work, visit the BBC website radio pages and search for last Word.

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03sb3x6

 

- John Wild

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never got to see him perform, but I will never forget the reactions of people all throughout the Hudson valley when I was working on Clearwater a few years ago; everyone I met had nothing but praise for Pete and the sloop, and most shared stories of how their lives had been positively influenced by his life and the Clearwater's presence, it was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life to this point.

What a loss to the entire world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...