The big music news this week has been the death of Pete Seeger. His brand of music has never been one I was particularly committed to, but he has always been a presence in the world, on TV, on the radio, a name you knew, and a voice you recognized. it was a comforting voice, though I noticed a tendency, especially when I was growing up, to turn his type of folk music into children's music - that was the 70s, and maybe by then, his generation and style of musicians had been squeezed out of the mainstream of the culture, event he mainstream of folk music, and their last bastion was singing pretty old songs for kids on TV. Maybe. Thinking about it that way, I almost feel sympathy for the old stories about Pete trying to take an axe to Dylan's power cords at Newport - it's a sense that there was a place in the world for folk music, and now Dylan was taking that away, turning this thing into rock and roll too. Rock did do that - squeezing a lot of musical styles into the margins - swamping them. It also appropriated them, being greatly enriched by everything that flowed into rock - rock music is better for Dylan, better for Pete Seeger - but it didn't always leave its sources much.
But that's not the point, except maybe to explain how Seeger could seem so marginal to my musical life. It's all right. He made music all the way, and made good music. When you do sit down and listen to him - he brought the goods. Here he is on the Johnny Cash show, bringing the goods.
And now? let's try randomness to close out this month:
1. Jethro Tull - Up to Me (I suppose you wouldn't have Jethro Tull in the world without Pete Seeger)
2. Magic Hour - Rosebud (psychedelic guitar freakouts probably would be here without Pete Seeger; Damon and Naomi, on the other hand - maybe)
3. Melvins - I'll Finish You Off (neo-Sabbath and grunge probably would exist without old Pete too.)
4. REM - e-bow the letter
5. The Raconteurs - Five on the Five
6. Neil Diamond - Kentucky Woman
7. And you will Know us by the Trail of Dead - Ode to Isis
8. Tom Waits - Trouble's Braids
9. Madonna - Crazy for You
10. Blue Oyster Cult - ME 262
and one more video - let's try Tull:
And since guitar freak outs are always good for the soul - here's Magic Hour live.