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Topic: RIP Pete Seeger
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Jan 28, 2014 02:55AM)
A giant has died:


RIP, Pete.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jan 28, 2014 04:25AM)
A major figure in folk music. May he rest in piece.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 28, 2014 04:27AM)
Here's the NY Times obit:

Arguably, and not so arguably, the single most important influence on American music besides Louis Armstrong. Songs that we think of as having been around forever--"We Shall Overcome," "Wimoweh," "If I had a Hammer" were the direct results of his singing, writing, and adaptation.

He was indeed a giant, and continued singing and contributing his talent up until the end. I saw him as recently as this summer at an outdoor concert in a small town in upstate NY--fewer than 1000 people--and he gave his all. The songs he sung that day were aimed at the next generations. Here's a version of "Turn, Turn, Turn" that he sung that day. The new words had been written by his recently deceased wife Toshi:

Toshi’s Turn, Turn, Turn

(Chorus:) To everything, Turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time for every purpose
Under heaven.

A time for work, A time for play,
A time for night, A time for day,
A time for sleep, A time to wake
A time for candles, blow out the cake.


A time to dress, A time to eat
A time to sit and rest your feet,
A time to teach, A time to learn
A time for all to take their turn.


A time to cry, A time to make a fuss
A time to leave and catch the bus
A time for quiet, A time for talk
A time to run, A time to walk.


A time to get, A time to give,
A time to remember, A time to forgive,
A time to hug, A time to kiss
A time to close your eyes and wish.


A time for dirt, A time for soap,
A time for tears, A time for hope,
A time for fall, A time for spring,
A time to hear the robin sing.


Here's a photo I took at the concert. The inscription on the banjo says: "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender." Rest in Peace, Pete. You of all people deserve Peace.

Message: Posted by: gypsyfish (Jan 28, 2014 07:05AM)
He was a giant. I have no idea how many times I've seen him in concert (often with Arlo Guthrie). Nobody could inspire an audience to join in song like him.

I haven't lived in the USA for quite a while and the last time I saw Pete in concert, his voice wasn't what it had been. (No reason it should have been, it just saddened me.) But the last time I SAW him was a couple years after the concert at a book signing. He'd sign a few books, then pick up his banjo and sing, encouraging the thirty, or so, people in attendance to join in. Then he'd sign a few more books and he'd ask somebody to sing something or recite a poem and we did. And he praised us. Then he'd sign a few more books.

It was the best way to see him. In concerts, nobody connected with the audience like him; to see him in such a small venue though was magic. His voice wasn't as strong as it had been, but it was strong enough. He still led us through the songs, he threw his head back and craned his neck like he was singing so the angels could hear him. I'll never forget it and it's the way I'll always remember him.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 28, 2014 11:01AM)
Sorry to hear this, though I know he was up in years. And I've got a song to sing. :) Thankyou for the photo, landmark.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 28, 2014 11:03AM)
Launched my banjo playing career as well as that of countless others.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 28, 2014 11:41AM)
Landmark, that is a great photo. Thank you Stone for starting this thread and all of you for the kind words. Without giving away family privacy, I got a call from one of Pete's daughters last week, "Dad's in the hospital again," she said. Even though he seemed to be after Toshi's death six months ago and his heart surgery last month, we were all afraid this was coming. They were inseparable and as often happens in cases like that...

A little after 3:00 this morning came another call. The caller ID told me what is was about before I even picked it up. "Grandpa and Grandma are together now," his grandson said.

He had a valve replacemant in his heart last month which was sucessful and was not a factor now. But he became very weak and couldn't speak for the last three days.

I cried myself to sleep. This morning as I held my long-neck banjo that he wrote not his famous phrase on, but onew just for me, I tried to play along to a video of us singing together. I just gave up and decided to watch it and look at pictures instead. Then I came here for a diversion and read these wonderful thoughts by you all.

We certainly lost a world treasure. And he was my friend.

Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 28, 2014 11:47AM)

Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn,
This thought keeps me moving on.
If we could heed these early warnings,
The time is now quite early morning
If we could heed these early warnings,
The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won't long endure
But what makes them feel
So dog-one sure?
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing

And so we keep on while we live until we have no more to give
And when these fingers can strum no longer, hand the old banjo to young ones stronger
And when these fingers can strum no longer, hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it's darkest before the dawn
This thought keeps me moving on
Through all this world of joy and sorrow,
We still can have singing tomorrows.
Through all this world of joy and sorrow,
We still can have singing tomorrows.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jan 28, 2014 12:02PM)
I actually met him once. I was 7 years old, and went to summer camp with Pete's nephew. He came up on visitors day to see him. Nice guy. Saw his concert once, he was a fine performer.

Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Jan 28, 2014 05:53PM)
Not a big folk music fan, but I did see him once in Boston, around the mid-1970's, performing at a free outdoor concert which also featured Arlo Guthrie and his band.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 29, 2014 06:24AM)
A proposal has been made to name the new bridge spanning the Tappan Zee part of the Hudson River after Pete Seeger. I think this would be a wonderful and fitting tribute to a man who basically singlehandedly spearheaded the clean-up of the Hudson. He started the Clearwater campaign with his boat at a time when such an action was considered impossibly quixotic. If you're in the vicinity, please talk it up to your friends and acquaintances.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 29, 2014 09:15AM)
I'm very much in the vicinity Landmark since I look out on the Tappan Zee bridge every morning: it is right outside my window. But I haven't heard anyone talking about naming the Tappan Zee bridge after him. Personally, if we are going to name a bridge, (as much as I love Pete) I'd rather they named it after Edward Hopper who is actually from here. Pete lived up in Beacon, about an hour north of here.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 29, 2014 11:25AM)
Sounds good to me, landmark. Why Edward Hopper, Slide?





Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 29, 2014 11:57AM)
More on the bridge:

Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 29, 2014 12:07PM)
Hey Laurie, listen, I'll be the last person to complain if they name the bridge after Pete Seeger, (and it is fascinating to watch them build this thing - I can see the whole thing from my back windows and decks - the largest crane in the world is supposed to show up here any day.)

But Edward Hopper? Well, the Rockland side of the Tappen Zee Bridge (the bridge runs between the New York counties of West Chester and Rockland) empties out into Nyack NY, the Home of Edward Hopper. Hopper's childhood residence in Nyack is a historic monument and gallery/museum. So many of Hoppers iconic works were painted right here in Nyack, including the famous painting of the gas pumps and a deserted road: that is about 2 miles from my house and is now a gourmet deli, lunch spot. If you were to get off the highway and explore Nyack as soon as you got off the bridge, you would see many of Hoppers subjects before your eyes.

To me, no one represents this particular area better than Hopper. So, there are my two cents. My guess is that it will eventually be named after some crooked politician.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 29, 2014 12:12PM)
Thanks, Slide. Sounds like an appropriate option, too. It may very well be that Mr. Seeger wouldn't want his name on it. I guess he'd appreciate the sentiment, maybe. :)
Message: Posted by: lynnef (Jan 29, 2014 12:33PM)
My favorite song of his is little known ... "Old Devil Time"! I met him once in the 60's at the Berkeley Folk Festival, when I was with a blues player named Sam Chatmon (from Mississippi Shieks)... on the spot Pete made friends with the old man, and this helped Sam to feel more comfortable with the crowd when it came time to mount the stage. RIP Pete Seeger. Lynn
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 29, 2014 09:20PM)
Slide, I believe they are talking about naming a new bridge, not yet built, to span the Tappan Zee, not the already existing one.

Edit: Oh, I see you're already aware of that. Okay.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 29, 2014 09:30PM)
It's spanning the Hudson. :)

They are actually building two bridges, one going west and one going east across the hudson. The renderings are impressive. It is a 5 year project, they say. It will be interesting to watch.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 29, 2014 09:57PM)
Maybe they can name the west bound bridge after Hopper and the east bound bridge for Seeger. :)
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 29, 2014 10:07PM)
Seeger deserves at least the left lane.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 29, 2014 10:51PM)
[quote]On 2014-01-29 23:07, landmark wrote:
Seeger deserves at least the left lane.[/quote]
He probably would be uncomfortable with naming a bridge after him. But I dare say he'd have enjoyed this comment.

Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 29, 2014 10:53PM)
What if it was a banjo bridge?
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 30, 2014 01:02AM)
Only if it looked like this.


Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Jan 30, 2014 03:22AM)
WHOA! Don't want to derail this topic (though Pete probably wouldn't mind), but who made that bridge? What effect do those extra feet have on the sound? Looks very practical,too. The bridge would never accidentally flip down over to one side. Not that such a thing has ever happened to me, mind you. :)

Looks way cool!
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 30, 2014 08:58AM)
Anotehr article on Pete's local work up in Beacon: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/nyregion/the-man-up-the-hill-in-his-log-cabin-who-sang-and-sailed-to-save-his-river.html?_r=1

It makes you wonder: what have I accomplished in this life and how do I want to be remembered. Pete was a true American
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 30, 2014 11:20AM)

You probably already know that Pete was quite an experimenter with banjos. He invented the longneck model. His frist one, which was stolen, had two extra frets. All of the replacements and (semi)massed produced have three.

He had a friend, Stu Jamieson, who was experimenting with banjo bridges and made two of those for him to try out. When he told me about it, over 20 years ago, he said he couldn't remember exactly why they tried it or what is was supposed to do. I thought that was odd because Pete remembered details of almost everything in his life. And he could name almost every person he ever met that he made even the smallest connect with. He said the bridge did effect the sound. It made it not as full sounding and a little quieter; not what he realy wanted but he liked the fact that it never tipped over. Pete strummed really hard sometimes. He called it "whamming".

I never made one. I don't know why. I thought about it often but just never got a round tuit. That picture is from a forum online where someone was trying to duplicate it. He gave up after a few tries. FRETS magazine published instructions and full-size drawings a long time ago.

The material Pete's is made from is all but impossible to get now. The closest thing is circuit-board material. It is brittle, leaves very sharp edges when cut, and the dust from cutting and sanding it is toxic. Maybe that's why I and others have never tried.

One of the coolest moments in my life was the time, and the few minutes right after, he said, "Here, give it a try."

Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Jan 30, 2014 11:23AM)

Thanks for posting that link. The article is right on about how he was in to his neighbors. And you're right on about how he can make us think about "the power of one".