Friday, November 02, 2007

An Un-American American Band

My grandfather was a big fan of Woody Guthrie, and of course Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger was a member of the Almanac Singers when he toured with Woody Guthrie, then went on to play in new band called, The Weavers.

The various members of The Weavers had been playing together at union rallies and promoted various socialist organizations.

When they came together as the Weavers, they dropped politics from their music and performed a wide variety of folk tunes. Their fans from the union and socialist rallies criticized them for abandoning politics to 'go commercial' and then Joe McCarthy and his supporters went after them with accusations that they were communists and sowing dissent. As arguments went back and forth about their politics, they continued to sing and record music without making any political statements as a band.

Joe McCarthy's hearings on Anti-American affairs finally ended The Weavers as a band. They found it increasingly difficult to get gigs and the record companies were facing pressure not to record their music. The band quit in 1952, then reunited after the hearings ended and finally disbanded for good in 1964.

But their legacy lived on. The Folk Revival and protest groups of the 1960s were inspired by the Weavers and their story. Although Pete Seeger remained blacklisted, went on to write and record additional songs that became hits for other bands. Song such as 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' and 'Turn Turn Turn'. My grandfather used to enjoy playing, 'Waist Deep In The Big Muddy'.


Around The World


So Long (It's Been Good To Know Yuh)


And the one everybody knows!
Goodnight Irene

3 Comments:

At 2:16 PM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Arlo Guthrie lives about 30 minutes from me. He's getting cooler looking as he gets older.

My dad used to walk around the house all the time singing goodnight irene.

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Very cool!

I have a couple of musician friends that give glowing testimonials about what nice and friendly guy Arlo is.

One tells me that he got a free concert in exchange for cleaning fish for Arlo. :)

And welcome to my blog Patricia!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Lefty said...

I've met Pete a number of times - I grew up in the Hudson Valley so he's a familiar face. I've also come to appreciate him more and more as I learn more about his life and politics. He was a Communist but said that when he realized what Stalin was doing he left the party. He said that if by some chance Communism had actually taken root here that he would be among the first to be thrown in jail.

I know people from the town he lives in and they say they've seen him out in all kinds of weather, an 89-year-old man standing on the side of the road, holding up a sign protesting the war.

He doesn't sing too much anymore - he says his voice isn't so good anymore. But it's still great to listen to him talk.

The Hudson Valley still has a lot of that old hippie spirit and always will thanks to people like Pete and Arlo.

 

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