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American Favorite Ballads, Vols. 1-5

Pete Seeger

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Album Review

In his 60-some years as a public performer, Pete Seeger has left an indelible footprint on popular music. As a member of the Almanac Singers in the '40s and the Weavers a decade later, Seeger helped midwife the urban folk boom of the '60s. His comfortable voice and graceful banjo style give his many compositions and folk adaptations an easy and elegant dignity, and on the political front, well, he's been a kind of canary in the coal mine for decades, speaking (and singing) out on any number of vital issues. This wonderful five-disc set (each disc comes with its own booklet) shows Seeger at his calm, plainspoken best as he runs through the American folk songbook accompanied only by guitar or banjo. The discs were originally released by Moses Asch's Folkways Records as individual LPs between 1957 and 1962 (in all, Seeger recorded some 40 albums for Folkways between 1950 and 1964), and Smithsonian Folkways reshuffled and reissued them as stand-alone CDs in the digital era, but put together like this, they make a grand and sweeping survey of the songs America has been singing for a century or two, all filtered through Seeger's wise, politically aware perspective. It adds up to some six hours of music, history, and memories, a fine testament to Seeger, Asch, Folkways, and the grand music of the American people.

Biography

Born: May 03, 1919 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Perhaps no single person in the 20th century did more to preserve, broadcast, and redistribute folk music than Pete Seeger, whose passion for politics, the environment, and humanity earned him both ardent fans and vocal enemies ever since he first began performing in the late '30s. His battle against injustice led to his being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, celebrated during the turbulent '60s, and welcomed at union rallies throughout his life. His tireless efforts regarding global concerns...
Full bio

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