12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bedrock of Pete Seeger’s legacy as a musician, songwriter, and activist can be found on this best-of album. Recorded between 1962 and 1966, these tracks keep the spotlight on the folk legend’s vocals, guitar, and banjo as he leads his audience in stirring sing-alongs. Though only his recording of Malvina Reynolds’ “Little Boxes” made the singles charts, Seeger’s own compositions reached millions through cover versions by artists like The Kingston Trio, The Byrds, and Judy Collins. The renditions here of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” “The Bells of Rhymney," and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” testify to his skills as a tunesmith as well as his charisma as a performer. His ability to inspire can be heard in songs as different as “We Shall Overcome,” “Wimoweh," and “Guantanamera”; his folklorist roots are reflected in his vivid treatment of traditional fare like “Darling Corey.” For both curious newcomers and longtime admirers, Greatest Hits is a succinct summation of why Seeger remained an iconic figure to the end of his 94 years.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bedrock of Pete Seeger’s legacy as a musician, songwriter, and activist can be found on this best-of album. Recorded between 1962 and 1966, these tracks keep the spotlight on the folk legend’s vocals, guitar, and banjo as he leads his audience in stirring sing-alongs. Though only his recording of Malvina Reynolds’ “Little Boxes” made the singles charts, Seeger’s own compositions reached millions through cover versions by artists like The Kingston Trio, The Byrds, and Judy Collins. The renditions here of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” “The Bells of Rhymney," and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” testify to his skills as a tunesmith as well as his charisma as a performer. His ability to inspire can be heard in songs as different as “We Shall Overcome,” “Wimoweh," and “Guantanamera”; his folklorist roots are reflected in his vivid treatment of traditional fare like “Darling Corey.” For both curious newcomers and longtime admirers, Greatest Hits is a succinct summation of why Seeger remained an iconic figure to the end of his 94 years.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

daddy frank ,

Great Variety

Seeger travelled the world extensively, and the folk influences from every corner influenced his song selections and self penned compositions. All the while, his committment to working people and their plight caused by greed and abuse of power was always part of his reason for communicating through song. Seeger took that selflessness, which is usually evident only in religious music, and created work beyond the bourgeois, egocentric outpourings of most folk composers. Much has been made of whether or not a singer of roots based music must have lived the life, ala Woody Guthrie and his status as The Dust Bowl Balladeer or Mance Lipscomb as a sharecropper, and the argument is legitimate to a certain extent. However, as a synthesizer of musical strands, Seeger is as good as it gets. Many of his songs serve as anthems for various social justice causes and are therefore timeless. His versatility and mastering of banjo and guitar add to the overall enjoyment (example: 12 string guitar work on "Living In The Country"). Much critical fanfare has accompanied Bruce Springsteen's coverage of Seeger's playbook, and it is deserved, but, to fully appreciate it, this is an important companion piece. One of my best memories as a child was of Pete Seeger, once a week, visiting our class at Downtown Community School in the East Village and teaching us about songs and what was behind them. It has served as a positive inspiration throughout my life, now sixty-four. If this record does even a little of that for you, it is well worth it.

Frank L. Fitzpatrick ,

Half the Flowers Are Gone

The last half of the song is not on this version of Where Have All the Flowers Gone.
I give this 2 stars (any) because Seeger was the great voice of activism in the 20th century, and I expect the other songs are complete. Had Where Have All the Flowers been complete, this would get 5 stars.

Loveminis ,

Guantanamera

Just returned from a trip to Cuba and wanted the version of this song that made it such a hit in the USA. I really apprciate that Pete tells about José Martî and his life and poetry in addition to singing the song.

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