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Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions

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WFDU - Ron Olesko 24 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM
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Liz the Squeak 25 Apr 06 - 10:26 AM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM
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Subject: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM

Having spent part of the weekend listening to this new CD, and having watched the DVD that accompanies the disc, I have to say - this is a superb recording. While the folk elders will surely start to quibble about the arrangements, the use of instruments, and probably the song selection, I think they will be missing the point. Folk music is a living tradition, and Springsteen has breathed new life into this standards and "recontextualized" (a word that Bruce used) the songs for a contempary audience.

While it is important that we remember the original settings and history behind the songs, it is also important that the songs continue to have a life and relate to contemporary themes. This is what happened during the "folk revival" of the 50's and 60's - people interepreted these songs in settings that spoke to the time and style.   Now in 2006, Springsteen is doing the same.

Watching the DVD you will see the sheer joy and the conviction that the musicians give to these songs.    This is not an album of "cover songs" or an attempt to "sell out" the music. It is a celebration of the songs, something that Pete Seeger has taught to generations of audiences. Now, Springsteen is doing the same as a tribute.

The CD goes on sale tomorrow.   I hope some of you will give it a chance. I know Mudcatters can be a tough crowd, but I hope you listen with an open mind and recognize the beauty behind this recording.

This is a historic recording.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM

I missed it, but I was told that Springsteen was on Good Morning America. Did anyone see it?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 10:26 AM

They were featuring it on Radio 2 yesterday - it sounds like a fantastic album - apart from it meant that a banjo was played on mainstream radio!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM

Ron is exactly right about this--it an amazing effort designed to bring folk music back into the mainstream of rock and pop music. The thing is that he performs folk tunes in a way that rock bands can use--if this album goes anywhere, expect to hear bar bands playing folk music, for the first time in a long time--

For guitar teachers, it is going to be great--


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: jeffp
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:15 AM

OK, this one is definitely on my want list.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:36 PM

I have heard some of it, and it has a lot of spirit and makes for good listening. But it is hard to understand the words at times. Is the Tom Waites-like voice really necessary?
I think the Guthrie/Leadbelly Vision cd was better, although Bruce was a bit overboard there too with Vigalante Man.
But if helps keep the old songs alive that's great. There was a lot of hokie-folkie in the folk boom years - and this is not in that vein - it is a good tribute to Pete and the power of the songs.

Chris in Wheaton


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,ifor
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 01:20 PM

Great stuff..

ifor


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 06:20 PM

Will my mother, who loves Pete Seeger but not "boom boom music" as she calls it, like this?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Chris Cole
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 06:48 PM

But why did they have to go into all that twaddle about Shep Wooley after playing the record of the week track on Radio 2 today? Shame on you BBC. Unacceptable behaviour but NEVER challenged if it relates to anything even slightly folkie. And then people asky why folk music is not popular?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 06:58 PM

I've never met your Mother Mrrzy! :)

Seriously, my guess is that she won't like it, but if Springsteen was aiming to "sell" this to your Mother or to appeal to any pure folkie, the CD would not have been true to his vision. The idea behind his vision is that folk music is not locked in to one time or style. The music was meant to be a tool and the celebration is in the creation of music. He hit the target.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 07:02 PM

So, what art the songs on the CD? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 08:37 PM

I've only heard a couple tracks on the radio, but it sounds great and I'm looking forward to getting a copy. Pete's mission was always to get the songs out there, and Bruce is certainly doing that, to an audience FAR larger than any folkie could ever dream of. Good luck to him.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 06:29 AM

This is the track listing for the dual disk version (which has two 'bonus tracks'):

1. Old Dan Tucker
2. Jessie James
3. Mrs. McGrath
4. O, Mary, Don't You Weep
5. John Henry
6. Erie Canal
7. Jacobs Ladder
8. My Oklahoma Home
9. Eyes On The Prize
10. Shenandoah
11. Pay Me My Money Down
12. We Shall Overcome
13. Froggie Went A-Courtin'
14. Buffalo Gals (bonus track)
15. How Can I Keep From Singing (bonus track)


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM

Hmmm - I'll have to get it for myself, than, and just play it for her (*sigh*)...


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 01:42 PM

it presents the songs but not the folk style of seeger
more a tribute to the songs than to ole pete
would have been much better had springsteen made a tribute to the style of seeger as well as just playing the songs in his own style.

If seeger convinced springsteen to do the songs then it is a bit of atribute but if you are looking for folk style- the feeling that the songs are being sung in your kitchen you will not find it as you could never fit springsteen and his band and sound equipment.....

In not convincing springsteen to join the folk tradition as far as performance as a music integrated into the lifeway then this is a tribute to the failure of seeger.

In a way this is the problem with seegers efforts. Yes people do enjoy him his playing and the songs today but he really has not been as widely popular outside of his moment in time at the top of the charts. I credit this failure to the over politicization of folk music. Red scare was an important factor and limited the growth of the music of liberals and social thinkers.....perhaps with less politics we would have seen it prosper a bit more.

But if the cd keeps the songs in view it will have done something productive.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Ernest
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 01:53 PM

I don`t think Bruce Springsteen wanted to copy Pete Seegers style (he would have had to learn the banjo for it...funny thought). For what reason should he: there are lots of folky versions available. I think his idea was doing the songs in his own way to show his (rock)listeners how great they are - and a good song will stay that even in a different arrangement: real good songs are indestructable ;0)

It might bring the songs into view of people who otherwise wouldn`t hear them at all.

Definitely something for my list...

Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:27 PM

"In not convincing springsteen to join the folk tradition "

I think that what Springsteen did IS in the folk tradition and that is the point of what Seeger has ALWAYS been about.   Seeger has preached the beauty of MAKING music and making it true to the singer. That is EXACTLY what Springsteen does on this album.

"...the feeling that the songs are being sung in your kitchen you will not find it as you could never fit springsteen and his band and sound equipment....."

SURPRISE! That is EXACTLY what Springsteen did. The recordings where made in a farm house on Springsteens property in NJ.   Of course there was a lot of equipment, and the horns had to be out in the hall, but the recording captures the sound of music being CREATED, which again goes back to what Seeger has always preached.

Pete Seeger did NOT perform the songs in the same style as the original. Seeger used instruments and arrangements that were comfortable to him and allowed him to share the spirit of the song. Springsteen is doing the same exact thing.

I think we concentrate too much on the frame and not enough on the painting. It is not the instrumentation that makes something "folk" - it is the spirit in which it was created.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:31 PM

"In a way this is the problem with seegers efforts. Yes people do enjoy him his playing and the songs today but he really has not been as widely popular outside of his moment in time at the top of the charts. I credit this failure to the over politicization of folk music. Red scare was an important factor and limited the growth of the music of liberals and social thinkers.....perhaps with less politics we would have seen it prosper a bit more."

Check out the songs Conrad.   Aside from Mrs. McGrath and We Shall Overcome (which I don't see how you can argue with its popularity) these are not political songs. I think your image of Seeger is focused soley on his politics, and if you ever had the chance to see Seeger perform you would realize that politics was only a portion of his presentation. Seeger lets the music speak.   These are traditional songs that Seeger played a role in making popular, and I think people who are not remotely involved with folk music will recognize songs such as John Henry, Old Dan Tucker, Buffalo Gals and Froggy Went a Courtin. That is a huge part of Seegers story for which he is not given enough credit. He spent years sharing these folk songs in summer camps, schools and concert stages.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,s.s
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:35 PM

I agree with Ron. Great stuff !


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: fat B****rd
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:40 PM

I've only heard "Shenandoah" but I'll be checking out more.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 05:19 PM

I listened to some samples. While I'm glad he's getting the songs out to a wider audience I will not buy the album. It just isn't to my taste. But...could this be the beginning of another "folk scare?".


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 05:23 PM

"could this be the beginning of another "folk scare?". "

I certainly hope not. If this develops an appreciation for the songs that would be a blessing, but I would hate to see the same error of the 1950's & 1960's occur again.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 05:30 PM

I agree with you, Ron.

These are really folk songs that the Boss is doing.

I am glad they are not being done so authentic and traditional.

getting these songs out in front of people again even if they do sound over-produced to the purists is much more meaningful than trying to get them out there in a style (such as braying and warbling) that will end up turning off people to thse fine songs.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 09:26 PM

Is there a dvd of Pete seeger doing the songs as an alternative?

so we have the choice.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM

NPR's All Things Considered had an interview with Springsteen this evening. It's online here, along with additional material, including sound samples of both Pete's and Bruce's versions of a few songs.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 09:35 PM

I do not know of any DVD's of Pete doing these songs, except for the release of several episodes of Rainbow Quest on Shanachie.

There is always choice!


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 11:39 PM

I'm with Ron: this is a wonderful recording that carries on the torch of the folk tradition. Who knew "John Henry" could be a pleasure to listen to once more, sung with such verve and spirit? Kudos to Springsteen. That's one helluva steel drivin' man!

Elmer


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Pauline L
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 12:43 AM

I preordered the CD from Amazon.com (at a good price), and I'm really eager to get it. I keep checking the status of my order. I listened to the sound clips on Amazon.com and loved them. Just after listening on April 4, 2006, I wrote about it in a previous Mudcat thread, and I was disappointed that no one followed up. Wake up and welcome to the real world, folks.

As I said in the earlier thread, in an interview, Springsteen said So much of my writing, particularly when I write acoustically, comes straight out of the folk tradition. Making this album was creatively liberating because I have a love of all those different roots sounds... they can conjure up a world with just a few notes and a few words. I can hear that in Springsteen's own music. I agree completely with the opinion that folk music is a living tradition and Springstreen should play it Springsteen's way, not Seeger's way. I feel that Springsteen's versions of the songs are in keeping with the "spirit" of the songs (whatever that means).

Ron, what do you mean by the same error of the 1950's & 1960's (the folk scare)?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM

I call it a folk "error" because there was a tremendous amount of jumping on the bandwagon and many saw a quick way to make a buck. While there was a lot of great music, and the time inspired many people, I think it was a time that divided and saw the genre implode on itself. Commercialism has a tendancy to do that - some look to get rich off of the hotest trend, and the opposite side of the spectrum looks down at anything that isn't "pure" - a sense of snobishness and ownership that runs against the spirit of the music. Too many people fell on one side or the other - the purists versus the songwriters. Too many people forgot the joy of sharing music.

"Elmer Fudd" in his post said "Who knew "John Henry" could be a pleasure to listen to once more". Well, that song and many others became cliche and I feel it is because of all the division among the fans and the overcommercialism.   Hearing someone like Trini Lopez sing that song without any feeling or thought to the words created a terrible image of the style. Songwriters would feel a song like that would be beneath them. Purists, if they would sing such a popular song at all, would turn it into a museum piece and argue about the style in which it was performed.   No wonder people did not want to sing it anymore!

What Springsteen has done is EXACTLY what should have happened 30 or 40 years ago. He has captured the spirit, the fun, and made it enjoyable to sing. You can see that the musicians are enjoying themselves and in turn the audience will join in the celebration. Nothing has been lost and everything has been gained.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Janie
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 09:55 AM

Heard cuts on NPR. I want one!

Janie


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 09:58 AM

I just want to clarify one thing before it gets taken out of context. I am demeaning the work of the "purists". I think that there is an important reason to listen and enjoy the traditional styles.   That is what attracted me to this style, and that is why I still listen.   

What I resent is the attitude that immediately dismisses anything that differs from the original source.   No one is painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. The original remains for all to enjoy. The spirit of folk music is that is a music that was meant to be "alive". People were MAKING music that would fit their life. To deny modern musicians and audiences the opportunity to do that runs against the spirit of the music and I find it hypoctrical when I hear such complaints.   That doesn't mean you have to enjoy it, quite the contrary. Everyone has an opinion. However, to simply dismiss something because it isn't what you are used to shows a preconceived notion and does not allow the music to truly live.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 10:41 AM

Well no Ron, that's precisely what I was saying. there are no dvds showing the whole range of what Seeger does.

i suppose some of that is down to Pete's discursive style and you tend to get what's on his mind this week - rather than a determined effort to show you his full range of capabilities.

i remember writing to Pete in the 70's saying I'd tried everywhere to get a hold of a copy of Sourwood Mountain, and he wrote me a charming note back, but the music remained unavailable for quite a while - til long after my interest had wained.

He's one of your best folksinger/instrumentalists and it's a pity.

I'm not dismissing Bruce Springsteen's work, just saying that its sort of ironic


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM

Ironic in what way?

You are right about Seeger on DVD. I believe he has done a few instructional DVD's for Homepsun, but there really aren't that many commercially available documents of his style.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Maryrrf
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM

It would be great if Bruce Springsteen inspires a younger generation to go "back to the source" and investigate folk music more fully, just like many of us older folks did back in the sixties and seventies. Some folks enjoyed folk music when it was popular and then went with the trend when other styles of music became fashionable, others were inspired to dig deeper into the roots of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,mrs punkfolkroker
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 12:48 PM

I'd anticipate some sort of positive follow up reissue program for Seeger origional recordings
on the back of this Springsteen project..


Record lables are predictable enough where theres a short term potential for £££££££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:05 PM

There are many dimensions to the springsteen effort.

What does he pay tribute to?

Yes! the songs that really do need more contempoary exposure. And that Seeger first brought them out.

Does Springsteen pay tribute to the manner and style which Seeger used to record sing and perform- no! The style is Springsteen. A bit loud.

Is there anything wrong with that? No! Springsteen can be as Springsteen as he wants that is fine.

Is it being a purist to have hoped that Springsteen might have come a bit closer to the style of performance of Seeger- I dont think so.
Its the tribute sort of expectation....


I just value the Seeger style- lots of energy but yet comforting and more home style. Given two versions I would choose the Seeger one for that fact- not because one has to set performance style in stone.

I saw Seeger perform at the Takoma Park Folk Festivals outside of DC several times. The man was never far from his politics. These songs might not be too political but Seeger was and is intensly political-just a part of his character- nothing wrong with that. But not helpful as the popular opinions change.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:19 PM

"Its the tribute sort of expectation"

Of course everyone has their individual expectations, but ultimately it is the artists choice. How we perceive the project depends on our own values and choices.   

I truly believe that Springsteen honored Seeger by following the spirit of Pete's teachings of folk music. Pete has always wanted others to make music. His concerts were meant to be participatory. Springsteen "gets it".

" but Seeger was and is intensly political-just a part of his character- nothing wrong with that. But not helpful as the popular opinions change."

I really don't agree with that at all. You need a voice of dissent. Seeger and his music helped galvanize change in this country. Other voices will be there to do it in the future.   Having opinions may not have helped his "commercial" career, but that really wasn't his point.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:40 PM

That is what I was referring to- commercial career

Dissenting voices- no problem with that.

There will aways be a chicken and egg argument about how change happens. I see the artists who became popular with seeger in folk music as recognizing change rather than making it.

You can find some of this in the Dylan autobiography. An age set without a music. Every so often an age set buds off its parent root. Capturing it is an interesting skill. Lots of things go into the production of the new bud. Some of them relate to age and youthful desire for change and rebellion. Others relate to politics and oppositions. Then it is all packaged by commercial interests which hang around until the market is saturated at which time they add their own preasure to form a new bud.

Interesting process. As the world moved on past Seeger I think part of the change related to a need for less politics, fewer lessons and more sensual or perhaps more mindless music. The turn from being leaders of movements- this turns up in the Dylan Autobiography- he never wanted to lead anyone to anything and disliked the result.....(If you can believe him....) The move is from group social solidarity and preservation of tradition and shared politics to more of an individual oriented music with more mass appeal....

just some thoughts....

Yes if Springsteen says he was influenced by Seeger that is a positive thing and a tribute. I just think that so much of Seeger's achievement was through his presentation style that it is hard to see it neglected.

Seeger turns up from time to time on videos and programs about other folks....I think the Dylan television program has him in it and also the clancy brothers documentary-an important piece for understanding how the generation was captured by a group of people standing on roughly the same plot of ground in New York City. Maybe they are aliens beaming down...

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 04:10 PM

Just bought a dozen copies this morning. Opened one up and already listened to it three times. The rest will make fine gifts. What a fantastic CD!!! I am so happy The Boss included My Oklahoma Home. This song by Bill Cunningham and his better known sister Agnes "Sis" Cunningham is a gem that rivals the best of Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads. I don't know if Pete Seeger ever recorded it, although I know that Sis did when she was in her 80s. I assume that Pete sang it with Sis when the two of them were in the Almanac Singers along with Woody, Lee Hays, and others. I am only sorry that Sis passed away two years ago. She would have loved this CD. Bless your New Jersey soul, Mr. Springsteen!


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Pauline L
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 01:34 AM

Janice in NJ, you're lucky you have it already. I can't wait for mine. Dod you really buy a dozen copies?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:03 AM

Yes, I bought twelve copies of the CD yesterday at Best Buy consumer electronics in Amherst, New York. That's near Buffalo. They are charging only $11.99 each plus NY State sales tax. That's a whole lot of Bruce for not much money.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 12:53 PM

Conrad,

If it wasn't for the "politicization" of folk music as you call it, you would never know about folk music. Pete was a one-man publicity agent for folk music in this country and without his popularity and magnetism, you wouldn't even know folk music existed. Alan Lomax, the same thing. Alan might have even coined the term "folk singer".
Many important folklorists started their careers as political people such as Ken Goldstein and Archie Green.

The top of the charts of the Kingston Trio or the Weavers or Peter Paul and Mary can be directly attributed to the work of Pete Seeger.
Without him, the popularity during the Folk Scare wouldn't have happened. Bruce has the magnamimous humility to acknowledge this as well.

Pete has prospered in a way that is far more important than just making money at it. Actually the idea that he was limited by his politics is silly. It was his politics than convinced so many young people on college campuses that Pete has something valid to say and gave rise to the almost religious enthusiam toward what is known as folk music today.

In jazz, Dizzy Gillespie said, "No Louis, no me," In terms of the popularity of folk music, "No Pete, no popularity of folk music". If you follow Pete's career you will find that this is the case.

Putting folk music on the charts is like capitalizing on the air we breathe. Folk music belongs to every country and it took Pete to show us that.

Folk music goes on regardless of whether it hits the charts or not.

Frank Hamilton


In a way this is the problem with seegers efforts. Yes people do enjoy him his playing and the songs today but he really has not been as widely popular outside of his moment in time at the top of the charts. I credit this failure to the over politicization of folk music. Red scare was an important factor and limited the growth of the music of liberals and social thinkers.....perhaps with less politics we would have seen it prosper a bit more.
In a way this is the problem with seegers efforts. Yes people do enjoy him his playing and the songs today but he really has not been as widely popular outside of his moment in time at the top of the charts. I credit this failure to the over politicization of folk music. Red scare was an important factor and limited the growth of the music of liberals and social thinkers.....perhaps with less politics we would have seen it prosper a bit more.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 01:18 PM

Politics- not the selling of folk music.

Yes- Seeger and the rest captured a generation- but it was there to be captured. Ripe for change one might say. Any political line different from that held by the previous age set would have worked.

My parents for example would not have a Seeger recording in the house because of where he stood politically-or the perception of his politics.

It can work with the age set you have captured but tends to interfere with the timelessness.

To a certain extent perhaps folk music became overly preached. Lining out songs for group sing-a longs, you need to sing this music because it is old, or we all have to be one political family....etc...

Was the change that followed Seeger's folk a change toward less dydactic musical inspiration-Rock Music....I keep hearing Dylan's comment....something like "I never really wanted to lead a movement...just make music...." The next age set defines its budding off point with reflection on the earlier and need to dress differently and sing differently.

Trouble with budding off into age set preferences is that one gets a tree with long thin branches each from a different bud not a trunk.
Casting asside and moving on like a sycamore dropping its branches. For true propigation rather than budding one needs to propigate a culture set rather than an age set. One of these would probably look like the Geordie Culture Set of Songs existing parallel with other forms in the minds of the people-I have observed the traditional trunk of the Geordie tree just as alive in Newcastle as parallel to Rock and Roll-just as popular but not age set so much as alternative gears on a car's transmission. A parallel neighbor trunk where the songs are maintained. With the age set the music is maintained only as long as the limb-the carriers are alive. Some 50s music is played on oldies stations but not tuned in to by many as the age set has passed.

Springsteen has transformed the music and style into that which can pass into the minds of the current age set as a performance style but in discarding seegers more culturally integrated style has he just accomidated the songs into the age set or has he propigated a new tree growing parallel to the contemporary age set hit parade of the moment? I think -Seeger tried to present music more as lifeway than commercial commodity. There is significan value in this and if it returns it will be with a Seegeresque style as well as with the content of the songs.

Some thoughts.....

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 01:51 PM

"Any political line different from that held by the previous age set would have worked."

I think not. It is very obvious that the Left embraced folk music and made it popular.   However, there was also a strong conservative attitude in the early days that became overshadowed. Bascom Lamar Lunsford, who played a role in the popularizing of folk festivals and the music in the 1930's, was VERY conservative.   Alan Lomax's father John was also a strong conservative. If you go back to the 1920s and 30s where the seeds of the folk revival were planted, you will find a strong conservative element that was interested in re-discovering the roots of the culture. The changes in attitude that took place post war were a reaction to a very conservative time.

"Springsteen has transformed the music and style into that which can pass into the minds of the current age set as a performance style but in discarding seegers more culturally integrated style has he just accomidated the songs into the age set or has he propigated a new tree growing parallel to the contemporary age set hit parade of the moment? "

That is a mouthful! :) I think you miss the point when you talk about either Springsteen or Seeger "accomodating" the style to fit an age. Naturally every musician should be using the music to fit their vision, which is based on many factors.   Springsteen is in his 50's - he is not a Top 40 artist anymore. While he is a success, he basically speaks to his own generation.

Conrad, I don't think the tree analogy is appropriate when describing music,art or culture. When you plant a seed, you know what it will look like when it sprouts and grows. Sure the branches may not grow in the direction you think, but you will have an idea of how that tree will look when mature.   You can't do that with folk music. The point that Seeger and Springsteen made is that folk music is a tool which you use to make your own art. How you shape it will be up to you.   Yes, we will always have the original model to get inspiration from, and we can copy it if we like, but we will never create a true clone.   It is living in the sense that it can evolve.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 02:47 PM

Yes there is a difference between the early conservatives doing roots research and those who popularized the content. Working on transmitting and developing what one might call a cultural core music or for my poor old analogy tree trunk....

Some maintain that in order for musical content to be transferred to another generation it must be transformed to be accepted. The concept of age set music however, means that the age set is stuck in the same transmission gear for life. Gradually the branch thins at the top-does not get stronger-they die out and you are left with oldies stations and short occasional revivals. Transforming a content so it fits into the heads of a generation- age set group helps but it is not long term.

I would consider Springsteen's work a transformation while Seeger looks toward adding another -perhaps one would call it participatory gear on to the transmission.

Not exactly a clone more like a replenishing source- a trunk not just endless branches which fall away. The cultural core music and the means to maintain it-without money for cds, tickets, or transmissions. When one travels to a foreign culture one is struck by the shared core music. The songs everyone knows through generations. The market and age set driven world approach tends to create and discard branches rather than propigate a living tradition which no matter how it gets cut back can still grow again in the same form maintaining the inventory. I think we should consider that people are quite able to maintain all the gears on their cultural transmissions and keep them in use. The age set music and its presentation style is just one gear.

Interesting comment about Springsteen's age- I am 53 myself.....one finds out that musicians recognize bying power. They may not be in the teenage top ten but Springsteen is in sync with the age set that has perhaps the second largest block of money to spend (everyone but me of course-beer should be free....) I noticed this when local musicians started to play covers of songs done originally by relativly obscure artists. These languished in the back corners until it was perceived that my generation could start buying recordings again...with our supposed new found prosperity. Then they were everywhere. The generational age set echo effect. This is why when you go to shopping malls at christmas you hear the music of our parents. Now grandparents to our children- when else in public do you hear Bing Crosby- Dean Martin for gods sake.....Ah!~ yes....they are being played as background for the older generation out buying stuff for the grandkids! I guess someday horrors, when my daughter is a grandparent the malls will be playing the White stripe's christmas cd which of course they will eventually make....that is if christmas survives that long. To my daughters credit she growing up in a houshold where there is an American traditional and anglo Irish core tradition has in addition to that central gear one for classical especially Bach....Jazz Tom Waits- and recently she has re-discovered Dylan....

So translating may not be a strong enough solution. I think Seeger stresses cross generational participation- I have been avoiding the use of the term but more organic less transitory.....

Thoughts writ quick....see what you can do with them....I am off back to me canny toon.....at least through the keyboard....

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 02:55 PM

Anybody remember an album called "Folk Music for People Who Hate Folk Music"?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 03:42 PM

Conrad, your point about "age set music" makes a supposition that "folk" music fits that description. I would argue that it does not.

If you look up the definition of "folk" music in American Heritage you will find
"1. Music originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation.
2. Contemporary music in the style of traditional folk music. "

While #2 is certainly a mine field for arguements, I think that #1 says a lot about the style. What Springsteen AND Seeger have done is to pass the music (orally if we consider modern recordings to be a mode of transmission) and they have introduced variables.

The music that many people relate to when you mention "folk" is either traditional field recordings or music that grew out of the Revival period of the 1950's - 1960's. I would agree that these styles are "age set".   People have seen the beauty of these styles and are comfortable listening to and creating music in that style.

If you really look at what Seeger and now Springsteen have show us, it is the joy of creating music. This is not "translating", it is merely an extension of the oral process. In modern terms, we are witnessing how variations are created. Sure there is a commercial vent to it, but if you can get beyond that you will see what is being accomplished.

Folk music is a tool. When I go to a musuem, I can see a painting that was done 100 years ago and appreciate it for the beauty. It is something that makes me happy and I learn from. If I had any artistic skills, I might try to replicate the style in my own work.    Music is an art. I think it is important to honor the original style, but also to allow the freedom for the song to continue to speak. This is not "translating", it is allowing the freedom that is inherent in the form to continue to grow. THAT is the beauty of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 03:58 PM

A piece of music and a person.

The person passivly listens because it is age appropriate-just ask any teenager why they dont listen to other forms of music-even though they have never heard them they will tell you that is not their music

Same piece of music another person-

Music is presented as part of life, the listener listens to learn the music regardless of age of the person or music the music is passed on by direct performance to all generations.

Still folk music but the presentation context is vastly different and the long term results will also be.

There is no oral process when there is no oral. Springsteen projects the music as entertainment Seeger as oral tradition- active part of life all ages round the fire.

Its how it is presented. Yes always variation and change. Engagement with the music comes however at different levels and the level of engagement will determine the strength of the tradition.

Sort of why I liked Seegers style better-doesnt need updating just wider acceptance.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM

Ok now look what you have done!
I was going to type words but now I will go out to find my friend carlo rossi and a large jug of Piasanno - get out the harmonium and the tin whistles and go out and engage in music....

Actually the grand spring weather made me do it.
I promise however, not to stray from my salad diet. (you see according to the quack I should be eating only air drinking water and walking all day.....well I shall turn wine into water- easy enough and a can of veggie beans into air....no trouble....and I shall wander around the yard....that should do it...

More later!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 04:05 PM

"Springsteen projects the music as entertainment Seeger as oral tradition"
I can't agree with that assumption or your definition of "updating" and "oral process".   You say that Seeger's style doesn't need updating, yet he updated the songs to begin with! Why would it be okay for him to do it but wrong for Springsteen?

I guess we will just have to disagree Conrad. I respect your opinion but I feel it compartmentalizes the music and the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 04:45 PM

I agree with ron and even Frank Hamilton.

what I want to see Bruce accomplish is the sheer joy of the music, completely with zero politics to it.

Seeger's politics got in the way of his musicianship. Bruce is also political, but it seems like no one has ever held that against him.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 04:54 PM

I like the CD. It seems like Springsteen and his people had a lot of fun with the music; and the CD is fun to listen to, and fun to sing along with. The video partion of the disc is good, too.

I have to say that I was hoping for more than just "fun." In the past, Springsteen has done some very thoughtful interpretations of traditional and "folk scare" songs, especially on the Folkways: A Vision Shared album. His own stuff on his Nebraska album is very good, too. So, I don't blame Springsteen for having fun on this CD, but I was really hoping to hear his serious side, too.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 05:09 PM

I think there are some very serious songs on here as well such as We Shall Overcome, Jacobs Ladder and Mrs. McGrath (which could be interpreted as a political song.)   I have used the word "fun" in my comments, and that is my reaction, but I do think this is a serious work of art too.

As for politics, let the music speak for itself! You don't have to preach to make a point.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Wesley S
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 05:15 PM

I don't know if it was said before in this thread - but to my way of thinking this CD wasn't made for any of us. It's real value is that a lot of folks who would never think of buying a "folk" recording will get this - and then go looking for the source material. The same way some of us heard Peter Paul and Mary singing "If I Had My Way" and then discovered Rev Gary Davis.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Richard Brandenburg
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 05:18 PM

I have a feeling that some kid will soon show up at a jam somewhere, and sing "My Oklahoma Home" learned obviously from this new Bruce version. And that's where some of the ideas being discussed here will play themselves out. After the "O Brother Where Art Thou" wave, there were singers showing up places who had either learned the song from the the soundtrack recording or from the "source" recording, and it was clear that the commercial popularity of the soundtrack had created a new interest in the songs themselves. If Bruce can help direct more singers to traditional and folk material as a meaningful social event, that's great.   

My point being that what we think about the process is one thing, and the activity of the process is something else - and where the music really lives.

There are a few of Pete's Rainbow Quest videos on YouTube, (www.youtube.com) and on one of the shows, just before someone's performance, he turns to the camera and says something like, "You people at home can sing right along with us! We're here on TV, but these songs are for everybody to sing, and if we can do it, why, you can do it too!" By breaking the fourth wall in addressing the camera and talking to the audience, Pete subtracted even the glamourizing event of the television show from the music-making process.   

Apart from his overt organizing work around particular causes, Pete's relentless democratization of the singing process is where I think his "political" message has had the most traction, and where he was most effectively "subversive". His concerts have always been sing-alongs, and one of his great gifts, I would say, is not his banjo or guitar playing; it's that he applied his earnest vision of folk music in such a way that a hall full of us were throwing back our heads, with smiles on our faces, singing, "Bye bye, Rosieanna" - helping us to feel for a moment unashamed and un-selfconscious. Anybody that can do that with a room full of us white people has subverted something somewhere...

Bruce can be a similar sort of galvanizer, in his own way, and I'm glad that this is what he's doing with his current work. Look forward to hearing it.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 05:19 PM

Only a handful really did that. the rest are content with Peter, Paul, and Mary and do not need all the funk that goes with the original.

smooth harmonies and fine musicianship trumps that.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Francy
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 05:49 PM

I'm sorry; but considering this a work of art? Come on....It is pure Springsteen and the words & "original" music come second......He'll be successful with this cd and his ego will get a boost.....But please, don't use the word art on this CD I have listened to it a half a dozoen times already and wouldn't recommend this to any one who loves folk music.....this is for springsteen rockers and that's it....If I hadn't heard Mrs McGrath by Pete and others many, many times, I would never understand the lyrics and meaning of this song from the springsteen cut. Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 06:18 PM

How has Springsteen contributed to remembering or tribute to

democratization of the singing process

a great line!

I dont think so
Francy right on the mark- way too performance
not enough democratization of the process.

Yes still folk maybe.....

For Seeger the process was so important and it needs a tribute record.
The way of delivery. Yes constantly evolving songs but no stage. And I don't care if it was recorded in a farmhouse room it does not sound like pete seeger around any fireplace.....way too over produced to be a tribute to the democratization of the process.

great term...

Would write more but Carlo rossi is waiting for me on the front porch in the bright sun of a setting wondrous not too hot or wet spring day.

Let us have a toast to Springsteen for doing something and to the person who does a proper tribute to the seeger process someday too!
And may that process steer clear of the shoals of commercialism, age set marketing and political stigmas.....put your car in the folk drive and roll..

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 06:44 PM

"Let us have a toast to Springsteen for doing something and to the person who does a proper tribute to the seeger process someday too!"

I'm sorry you don't see it, but Springsteen DID come up with the proper tribute to the Seeger PROCESS in this album. Listen to what Pete talk and then it should become clear.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM

in terms of process you are comparing apples and oranges- there is nothing inviting or natural or at home to the blaring of springsteens style. I don't think I ever heard Pete Seeger come across so loud-so over powering so in your face. So performance! I just heard Jacobs Ladder- yes sound technicians can do almost anything from a farmhouse room but it sounded like a 100 piece gospel choir and 50 musicians- nothing like the nurturing sound of an even high energy seeger performance. We need both but the music really does need to get infused with the lifeway not just with a stage and a cd.

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 09:25 PM

Again: millions of people -- many of them a lot younger than what I'm guessing is the average age of folks here -- who would not have otherwise done so will now discover these old songs, and by extension become aware of who Pete Seeger is.

To me, that's a very good thing.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Richard Brandenburg
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:36 PM

Which was my point, too, GUEST, TJ. He's not doing what Seeger does, clearly; he's a big old rock star. If Springsteen tried to adapt his act to some Pete-like populist thing, he'd have a distinct difficulty in getting us to suspend our disbelief. It remains for some other, more folk-based performer to "infuse the music with the lifeway", to paraphrase #1 PEASANT.

But then it calls to mind the noble experiment that Billy Bragg and Wilco tried in the "Mermaid Avenue" recordings of Woody Guthrie's lyrics set to contempo-sounding music. Bragg, at least, is arguably closer to the notion of the Woody-like singer than Bruce is to Pete... but I find it unlistenable, and sure don't hear Woody in there. I hear his words under a post-modern blanket of other folks sounds and ways of singing.

Or Ani De Franco hanging out with Utah Phillips; same deal, diferent disc. Give me Utah Phillips straight, please.

At any rate, who could convey Pete's "lifeway"; his earnestness, and his way of being in the music, who didn't come from Pete's context? Not Bruce. I'm not sure that was his job in the project.

But if it points a few people toward Pete, and Pete's sources, then good.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:36 PM

Frank, You are totally correct. Dizzy hit the nail on the head! And "No Pete, no me!" is my story all the way.

Ron, To my way of seeing this, to say that Pete was a a "political singer" is so far off the damn mark that it comes perilously close to being completely misleading in that it mis-educates all the generations out there that have no clue about what went down.

Pete was a social singer! ---------------- The positions taken were about inclusion, not exclusion. They pushed for the betterment of the human condition. Pie in the sky was none of it. It was here-and-now sharing the proceeds, and opening eyes to the light of rhetorical enlightenments that said, "Yes, if we can just get together, we can show the truth of it!" Political compromises and smoke-filled-rooms, with bribes paid and debts owed and redeemed, had little to do with it. It was simply wrong to keep someone in virtual chains because their skin was a different color. 'WE Shall Overcome' wasn't just a song. It was what happened.

It was a clear case of what Pete felt was right and wrong. It was ethics to the enth degree. You couldn't hear the messages in his songs and not say to yourself, deep inside, those are pretty much true things that the man is saying. Those are rules of the road-less-traveled that I can live by! And, by God, or whatever, I will strive to incorporate some of those humane ways of seeing this world we are in even if they are, right at this moment, only ideals, and sometimes not seen as terribly practical. -- In time, they may become parts of hearts and minds---and we will be better for it!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:50 PM

Art, I never said that Pete wasn't political, but rather that was not the point Springsteen was making with this CD.   Yes, Pete was a SOCIAL singer, and if ANYONE thinks that Pete was not trying to teach people that singing is a joy then they are wrong. No one is denying his politics or his social causes, but I think many have forgotten his work in perpetuating folk music and the tradition of singing.

As I said in the very first post, I knew that the "folk elders" among us would have problems with this recording. There is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone will get it.   The one person whose opinion really counts is Pete's, and it is my understanding that he enjoys what Springsteen did.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 10:48 AM

When Springsteen recorded this album, it was strictly a studio effort; the musicians he assembled were never intended to stick together for a tour, or even for a single live performance.

Since then, when a grant from Shell Oil made it possible for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritiage Foundation to present their festival in 2006 despite the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures ~ and since Bruce accepted an invitation to perform ~ the Seeger Sessions Band was reassembled and rehearsed for a one-time appearance, closing out the big stage tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 4/30/06, 5:30 to 7 pm).

I've been holding off on purchasing the album, so that the first time I hear this material will be live and in person. Can't wait!

As far as all the above controversy is concerned, I find many of the negative feelings that have been expressed to be sadly shallow ~ most notably, the sneering condemnation of Bruce's effort as "pure performance," as though competant presentation of music were somehow disreputable. For my taste, a piece of music is memorable only when it is both deeply and genuinely felt and skillfully performed. So far, Mr. Springsteen has rarely disappointed me or fallen short of my standards, and I certainly expect this newest project to meet and exceed the quality of everything he has done so far.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 10:53 AM

"the one person whose opinion really counts is Pete's"
Huh?
The function of a pop singer, whether he be Springsteen or Seeger, is o be popular.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 11:03 AM

Hmmm... I may have to get this set, and introduce my aide, Audrey, to it.

On a recent trip from Virginia to New York, we were listening to the music she's collected on her ipod. There was a wide range -- all styles of rock, classical, jazz, spoken word, and yes, folk... But it was more of that "hokie folkie," to my ear, at least. She only recently discovered a version of "Froggie went a-courtin'" from a library CD of 18th C. music, and likes the song, but not the fluty voice of the female singer. I think I can be fairly confident that she wouldn't have that problem with Springsteen.

I think she'd really like this one (and I would, too).

Also, as she and her family are on the other end of the spectrum, politically, from Seeger, I have a feeling she's not as familiar with his music as I am. Yes, Seeger's main message is the joy of music (anyone who's seen his performance of Abiyoyo knows that), but politcal labels sometimes get in the way...


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Ernest
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 11:06 AM

PoppaGator, I envy you ;0)

Please tell us about the concert!

Best wishes
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 11:59 AM

Dick, I certainly realize that. The question is that this CD is a tribute of sorts to Seeger and his music. If Seeger is happy with the way his music was treated, that is the opinion that counts.

By the way, there will be a netcast of the New Orleans Jazz festival tomorrow afternoon. Go the the NO Jazz fest website for information.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: frogprince
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 05:18 PM

Just heard a couple of cuts for the first time today; sounded like "folk" having a rousing good time playing and singing the music. I think the disk goes on my shopping list.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 05:54 PM

As I have been reading this, the same holier than thou attitude of the so-called purists rears it's snobby head once again, whether it is Bruce Springsteen or The Kingston Trio.

It is what has divided the so-called folk music community 50 years ago and still today.

Purists! Our folk music is not about braying or having no teeth in your mouth. It is about the music and the passion of it. And it can sound much better on a $4000 guitar whether you like it or not!

And if people sell a million copies of their type of folk music, my hat is off to them, for they are truly successful folk singers who people want to hear.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 06:49 PM

PappaGator - I'll be watching for a review also - I'm sure Bruce will put on a great show. Have a good time and report back please.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 07:49 PM

New Orleans needs grants for food, home and future not for musicians....anyone performing there on a grant shoud be ashamed!
Totally!

Musicians have the songs- festivals dont need money they just need gatherings of people and song. I think in that regard NO can take care of itself.

Rip those grants out of music and put them into food on the table and homes for people to live in.

Waht a disgrace!
Typical of the so called folk and so called music community! They aren't either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This shoud be the biggest wake up call to end commercialism in music that I can think of. Take all who have taken and line them up to be shot. Even the sound crews and port a potties people. There are no fast bucks in New orleans and should not ever be. And if it is only for the money then it really shoundn't be.

I am really sooooooo....tired of musicians being like coin operated parking meters....no money no song...that is what is totally wrong.


Cb


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:02 PM

Sure, lets forget about the millions of dollars that will be coming into New Orleans due to these musicians performing there. Let sforget about all the fund raising they have done and the good they have done. Just because they take a paycheck they are criminals? To be shot?? Give me a break.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Pauline L
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:53 PM

Every piece of every performing art is created many times, first by the writer/composer and, again, each time the work is performed. Ansel Adams was a great pianist before he became a great photographer. When he wrote about photography, he often made analogies with music. In his will, he bequeathed many of his photos and negatives to the University of New Mexico with the stipulation that graduate students in photography use his negatives to make their own prints. He said that making a negative is like writing a score, and making a print is like performing the music. Knowing how the negative looks like will tell you a lot about how the print will look, but Ansel Adams believed in artistic creation in print-making. How much more so in music!

...you can never really plumb the entire truth of ideas in music.   That in essence is the power of music -- the fact that the art form is larger, deeper, and far more varied than any single person can divine in one lifetime -- and realizing it should give pause to any artist who starts to consider himself all-knowing. We are all simply steps in a continuing age-old tradition. When we do something that enhances that tradition, that makes it richer, purer, clearer -- then we have done what we were put here for. These are the words of Isaac Stern, one of the leading classical violinists of the twentieth century. If this is true of classical music, with its annotated, written scores, it must be so much more true of music in the folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,bflat
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:10 PM

The music is wonderful. I appreciate that Springsteen saw the value in it to challenge his traditional audience to hear what many call traditional music. I like it and wish him great success. Perhaps others will cross over to this rich and deep genre. I heard the interview by Ms.Block on NPR on 4/26 and you can too by going to the NPR.org website.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:57 PM

#1 Peasant

You play the lute, don't you? Have a jester cap also?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 11:56 AM

Must seriously disagree Ron....

if you take a paycheck it is not a benefit.

you can take a paycheck for a performance or concert

but one would hope a musicians life is not entirely dedicated to these.

the trouble is that when one asks others for money and you do not give yourself something is seriously wrong- one of the problems that we face as a country is the inability to just put our own individual needs and interests asside and go raise a barn together or help someone out. Now if everyone involved in putting on an event donated their goods and services then it would be a benefit.

If you need money then all you have created is a feel good RIP OFF!

Actually I think that the word benefit should be officially defined and a penalty assessed for improper use. When I put cares behind and open my wallet wider than it should be for a benefit I need it to be a total benefit. I am not discounting performance but it is way easier for a performer to perform for free than for others to sacrifice. When I pay for that ticket money comes out of the bank. When a singer sings its just sound waves!

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 12:32 PM

Who ever said that the festival was a benefit? It never has been nor will it ever be. The event does however provide a lot to the economy of the region.

Yes, New Orleans will BENEFIT from the festival being held but this event is not a fundraiser. Many, if not all, of the musicians have previously participated in some sort of charity for the community. This years festival is also giving many New Orleans based musicians an opportunity to make a living. The festival organizers increased the number of locals into the lineup this year.

The "grant" that you mentioned and was mentioned earlier was basically a loan from Shell Oil that enabled the festival organizers to continue the event this year. The damage that occured seriously effected their site and operations as well and Shell Oil gave the money in exchange to have their name included in the festival.

You made a lot of assumptions about the character of the performers and organizers that is not based on any facts that I am aware of. You are certainly entitled to an opinion, even though we have gone off on a tangent from what this thread was initially about.

Everyone is entitled to make a living and earn what the market bears. Everyone should feel a sense of moral responsibility to others as well. Charity and career can only be judged when one impedes on the other.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM

Art in any form does and will command great prices.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:02 PM

Must have gotten the concept of benefit from something Carlo Rossie whispered into my ear....my mistake....

However.....I still maintain that benefits should be entirely so.
I am also tired of festivals not being festivals. One finds armys of volunteers and grants but the requirement to volunteer is not as it should be extended to everyone. Perhaps we would require fewer grants if this was the case and anyway why do festivals need grants more than the people.

They need the grant money as well as the proceeds money.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:16 PM

I agree with every word Martin. wonder what peasant does for a living, and how he would feel if someone insisted he did it for nothing.

just weight it against the number of musicians you know without a pot to piss in. these are the people who will cry themselves to sleep about the injustices visited on Robert Johnson, Bix Beiderbeck and all the cannon of musician saints - and can'r see that the same stuff applies today.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:19 PM

Thanks, weelittledrummer.

The purist holier than thou fingerpointing is as I have said decisive and has not served the music or the artists who make it very well at all.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:23 PM

I agree with you Martin. The separatist movement in folk music needs to stop. That doesn't mean people need to embrace EVERYTHING, but all this negative attitude seems to go against what I thought was one of the canons of the style - inclusiveness.   I thought we learned about our culture, our history and our evolution by listening to folk music. As I've said over and over, it is a living tradition and we should not neglect either the past or the present.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:36 PM

No one will ever know what came first "Music" or "a living"

One thing is certain- you can be good at music no matter what else you do.

They are totally independent

When music is your life and part of that life always then it is living.

Songs live when they are sung as life extracting a living by using them is just a bonus.

Getting a song on a stage and into ears is easy. Getting them into life perhaps sung by those making a living elsewhere is a steeper path. It requires a different bedside/hearthside/homeside manner.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:10 PM

Well, maybe it's that way in the world according to #1 Peasant.

Your statement is so full of pompous holes. There are plenty of people who have music in their life or part of their life and it is not a living by any means.

Extracting a living (as you call it) for a living is quite frankly a gift or a blessing. And it doesn't require anything like you say. all it requires is pure passion and someone appreciative.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 06 - 01:00 AM

Gib.Mart. Your braying betrays you. You certainly exhibit all the actual traits that you accuse others of in this and so many other threads. The pompous holes you speak of are your own--mainly your mouth. Pomposity in defense of slick and sappy pap is merely yet another transparent word ploy from your bag of shticks as you strive to make high art of those who watered down traditional art and turned it into elevator music. Like alchemy, it can't be done.

It is you who are the holier than thou finger pointer--not the so-called purists you obviously detest and unfairly denigrate.
We don't need or want you in our corner. Our music can speak for itself. Friends like you---we simply don't need.

The Kingston Trio


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Stewie
Date: 01 May 06 - 03:09 AM

I agree with Joe. It's a fun record. I got my copy earlier today and I think it's great - first-rate musicians having a great time with traditional material. They are not Seeger's songs: they are folk songs and Springsteen can do what he likes with them. For me, it brings to mind the Belfast skiffle sessions where Van Morrison, Lonnie Donnegan, Chris Barber, Dr John etc were having a great time with similar material - but this is on an even bigger scale. The horn section is beaut!

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 01 May 06 - 06:32 AM

On one hand I don't like anything about the album. The performances are okay I guess, but there is a weird vibe to the project that kind of creeps me out. It feels like a sweater with three sleeves.

On the other hand, there has been a flood of orders for banjo & guitar instructional material here at the office since the hype started about the record so it's obvious that, for the time being at least, the folk music industry is going to get a little bit of a boost.

As much as I hate the record, it's making me money right now.
Oh well.

-Patrick
http://howandtao.com


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 01 May 06 - 07:50 AM

Guest, you talk out of your ass, like most Guests do.

Especially cowardly ones like yourself. I obviously struck a nerve. I assure you that you did not.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:34 AM

Martin,

With all due respect, of which you have some, but very little: Of course you struck a nerve. Did 9/11 strike a nerve? Did Napoleon strike a nerve when he took on Russia? This is ostensibly a folk music forum--not a misinfmation and propaganda forum for New Think and dumbed down, watered down takes on this music which has an honored and respected history.

Sir, your "M.G.'" personna, which is no more telling than the maligned-by-you appelation "Guest" needs to be 'moderated' on this good forum. Also, your wrongness needs to be exposed to the unsuspecting, more easily molded ones of us much like Ed Murrow did in times past.

The King's Own Trio

Good sir, and I am sure you are that to some you love,


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:12 AM

There is no need for anyone to turn this into a typical BS thread. The name calling should stop. We are all losing sight of the topic of this thread.

"dumbed down, watered down takes on this music which has an honored and respected history."

That is a matter of opinion. I do not consider what Springsteen did to these songs anything different than what Pete Seeger did to them.   No one "owns" them, but everyone "owns" them. 100 years ago it would not have been as common to see a guitar in use. At one point the violin was an instrument of the court. Banjos were developed from an African instrument. Many of us on this forum probably developed our love during the folk revival of the 50's and 60's. Much of that revival was built on a commercial interest in folk music that traced its roots back to the work of the "purists".

What do we consider "purist" these days? I would bet each one of us has our own definition.   Earlier in this tread someone mentioned Woody Guthrie. By most musiciologists definition, he was far from a folk singer. Yet he is a name that many of us think synonomous with folk music.

When I first started doing a radio show back in 1980, I had the honor of meeting Pete Seeger for the first time. When I mentioned I was doing a folk radio show, he told me that folk music is something that a mother sings to a child and can't be played on the radio. It took a while to sink in, but I saw his point. As soon as a microphone was introduced, the music ceased to be "folk" music. The microphone added a level of performance that altered the music from its original intent. The work of all the collectors and archivists merely resulted in a copy of the music - not a true reproduction.   Sort of like a photograph. It captures a moment, but does it truly give a full impression of that lost moment in time? Can you feel the breeze, know the warmth of the sun, smell the flower, etc? We can use our imagination to fill in the blanks, but we cannot recreate that moment.

So what does that mean? Should I stop doing radio? Should Dick Greenhaus stop selling CD's? Should performers quit recording and start turning down gigs? Should we close the festivals? Should Mudcat shut off its servers?

No.

Each of us are drawn to this music because of a love. We can make our own music, or share the music of others. There is nothing wrong with a folk revival that truly respects and shares. Modern technology has altered the oral tradition and it is now easier to trace the DNA of songs. There is nothing wrong with enjoying music, no matter what we call it or no matter what it sounds like.

We are too reliant on labels. Folk, acoustic, singer-songwriter, etc. - we are in danger of losing the essence of what makes the song important to US. We spend our time arguing why the other guys music is not "folk" and we end up in small enclaves that no longer share or invite others to join in.   That is where I draw the line for my tastes.   I may not like everything that I hear, but I won't spend time knocking another person for enjoying music.   I don't care what they will call it - there will always be room for my tastes.

Enough of my rambling.   Listen and judge for youself. If you don't like, fine. If you enjoy it - have fun!


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 06 - 12:21 PM

Our own Conrad Bladey, Peasant #1 has his own world view. Sometimes it is a bit hard to understand where someone is coming from by merely reading a post--The old story about a picture being worth a thousand words was never more true than when applied to him--

Here's a nice picture of Conrad and Here are some pics of Conrad and his cars

I wonder what Martin looks like.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 01 May 06 - 12:36 PM

Thanks! But if you really want the photos....try this link.
Just updated(the first one was of me in Louisville Ky- great place-will go there again for the artcar show first weekend in August....

Try these-

http://hutmanspeasantworld.blogspot.com/

The Peasant Photos

To late- 12:36 PM....at least for may day....feels like well after midnight.
must rest
Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 May 06 - 05:20 PM

Conrad,

Beautiful!!

All the best,

Art


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Brakn
Date: 01 May 06 - 05:27 PM

I just hope that music fans don't read this "thread".


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Once Famous
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:33 PM

Guest, your pathetic and pompous and snobby lectures generate zero to me and anywhere else I am sure. Accusations of dumbing down is the key to your holier than thou attitude.

folk music that is interpreted and made money off of in an honest way is still folk music. It is not a religion and it is not so sacred to not be interpreted and have money made off of it.

That's what singers are entitled to do.

Sheesh, I am really sick of the purist attitude. Makes me want to tie you to a chair and force Kingston Trio music down your throats until you scream for mercy.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:09 AM

True!

Folk music is a spectrum of things-and multidimensional.

You can make money..............make no money


adapt music.................hold it constant


record it..............keep it oral traditio


keep it cultural and controled..........give others access

Teach it/learn it...................read music only

Perform it.......................live it

Some sort of arbitrary quality..........no concern for quality just
                                        presence of the music....

And all with the same basic material- the same cultural artifacts. The songs the tunes the lyrics

It is all folk music....

What I like to see is balance.

Today from where I sit drinking a fine glass of carlo rossi under the shade tree here in baltimore....is that the field is not balanced. Too many believe music has to be professionalized. Sort of like the article about bars in todays baltimore sun which everyone should read (then cry)-it is on line- of one bar owner saying that he thinks lining up for $4.00 beers is silly and his price of $2.00 (though over priced imho and I can prove it...) is sufficient...maybe he said....he would get more business coming in if he raised the price to the trendy level.

You can play music and it does not cost you anything that is a fact.

There should be as many venues where it costs to listen as there are where it is free to listen- balance.

The only catch is perhaps accessibility. I believe in access for all but once it starts costing then access is resticted. Festivals should be open free and provide access especially if they utilize grant funding. If you make money make it on the peripherals. Open free access, bring in your food or get it at very reasonable prices so you can afford to stay for the day.

The only way I got firmly into folk music was via local festivals such as glen echo where entrance was by donation. They got me and a bunch of friends in the gate. I adopted the music and each year instead of going for free I gave a larger donation.....Last time I went I think I put a $20 into the pot. If something is meaningful the money will come.

Always a role for the recorded, performance or professional musician. The harpers of yor, then the dance masters....If we have enough people singing as a lifeway and finding music as a part of their lives rather than as some form of rental or pay per view....then we will have success.

Is there balance in your local folk community?

The real tribute to the music is to bring back the other end of the spectrum. Balance it against all of the commerce.

I am not a purist....but a spectrumist!

Quiet...I hear carlo rossi calling....must walk but not run out to the shade tree....~!#$!#@!#its already 11:09!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Guest, bored by pointless rants...
Date: 02 May 06 - 12:01 PM

Anyone else feel like an otherwise interesting thread was derailed by a drunk?

Hey Conrad... don't drink & post, ok?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Guest, second that.
Date: 02 May 06 - 12:03 PM

Yeah, it became all about Peasant a while ago.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Hugo Bowles
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:23 PM

Can anyone post the words of 'Jesse James' for me, please?


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:29 PM

Hugo - If you go back to the top of the page you can see where you can find these lyrics. Just type in the letter J and you'll be able to scroll down and find several different versions. I'd do it for you but I rather give you the means of finding them - and hundreds of others - for yourself. Happy hunting.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:10 PM

Artist Bruce Springsteen
Album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
Song Jessie James



Jesse James was a lad that killed many a man,
He robbed the Danville train,
He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor,
He'd a hand and a heart and a brain.

[chorus:]
Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life,
Three children, they were brave;
But the dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid Jesse James in his grave.
It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward,
I wonder how he does feel,
For he ate of Jesse's bread and he slept in Jesse's bed,
Then he laid poor Jesse in his grave.

Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor,
He'd never see a man suffer pain,;
And with his brother Frank, he robbed the Chicago bank,
And stopped the Glendale train.

It was on a Wednesday night and the moon was shining bright,
They robbed the Glendale train,
And the people they did say for many miles away,
It was robbed by Frank and Jesse James.

It was his brother Frank that robbed the Gallatin bank,
And carried the money from the town;
lt was in this very place that they had a little race,
For they shot Captain Sheets to the ground.

They went to the crossing not very far from there,
And there they did the same;
With the agent on his knees, he delivered up the keys
To the outlaws, Frank and Jesse James.

It was on Saturday night and Jesse was at home
Talking with his family brave,
Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night
And laid poor Jesse in his grave.

The people held their breath when they heard of Jesse's death,
And wondered how he ever came to die.
It was one of the gang called little Robert Ford,
He shot poor Jesse on the sly.

Jesse went to rest with his hand on his breast,
The devil will be upon his knee.
He was born one day in the county of Clay,
And he came from a solitary race.

This song was made by Billy Gashade
As soon as the news did arrive;
He said there was no man with the law in his hand
Who could take Jesse James when alive.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:14 PM

Can we get back to the subject at hand?

Sunday's performance by Bruce and the Seeger Sessions Band was probably the finest and most important couple of hours in the entire 35+-year-long history of the New Orelans Jazz and Heritage Festival. With a very few exceptions (uninformed younger fans who left when they noticed that Bruace wasn't putting on a typical rock show), the huge audience was enthralled. The entire band was visibly energized and obviously having as much fun as possible, like a big electrified 20-piece jug band, but no one was having as good a time as the bandleader himself, throwing himself completely into the effort and pulling everyone on- and off-stage along with him, . (He is The Boss, after all!)

The volume and instrumentation may not have been exactly like that of a Pete Seeger concert, but the vibe certainly was, communicating the joy of musical expression as well as the heartbreak of real people enduring hard times. I had feelings that afternoon that I hadn't experienced since the 1960s ~ it was not at all unlike being part of another large crowd at the Newport Folk Festival, witnessing Pete and his banjo leading the crowd in song. Tears and goosebumps all around by the end of the set. Back in 1965, the audience may have consisted largely of teenage and 20-something baby-boomers reluctant to be shipped to Vietnam ~ here in New Orleans in 2006, Bruce's very appreciative audience was made up largely of 50- and 60-something baby-boomers desperate to repair and reoccupy their ruined homes.

For the record, Mr. pretending-to-be-a-peasant, most if not all of the "big-name" performers at this year's Jazfest have been making significant financial contributinos to the local community and rebuiding effort, well in excess of whatever fees they were paid to show up. And the lesser-known local artists are themselves Katrina victims with limited resources who can hardly be blamed for accepting payment for performing. The festival itself is a non-profit corporation, funneling large amounts of money into local musical charity efforts, like supplying instruments to public-school music programs, buying beads and feathers for the Mardi Gras Indians, funding the Musicans' Clinic, etc. This year's extra efforts to provide housing, etc., for local musicians support the underpaid and underinsured custodians of our cultural traditions, in hopes of preserving what little local "industry" we have left. Even the increased revenues for the normal "for-profit" business surrounding the festival (hotels, restaurants, etc.) provide desperately needed economic help for our hurting city.

MSN has provided web-based video of Bruce's performances of "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live" and "Oh Mary Don't You Weep." See and hear for yourself!

http://music.msn.com/music/neworleansjazz/video

While you're there, you might check out some of the other performances. I imagine most Mudcatters would enjoy the two very tasty all-acoustic Keb' Mo songs, and Dr. John's "Dog" is a fun novelty song. Also check out the gospel number by St. Joseph the Worker Church!


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:14 PM

Lots of different versions of Jesse James in the Digital Tradition, but I think the above version is the one Bruce Springsteen sings.

--Charlie Baum (who unfortunately had to toss his cookies when he posted the above, but is now recovered)


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:44 PM

Conrad,
Nicely thought out and mostly true from my viewing point.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 May 06 - 03:20 PM

Great report PoppaGator!   I wish I could have been there!

One thing that you mentioned in the first paragraph - some of the younger fans leaving when they realized they weren't getting a rock show. I think they probably would have left if Springsteen was doing his "normal" show. As you pointed out, Bruce plays to a largely older crowd. His music BEFORE the Seeger Session CD was not being heard by young audiences.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 02 May 06 - 08:22 PM

what you want to ask of a "folk artist"

Are you dividing your time accordingly-

1 part teaching others songs and notes without charge

1 part preserving and learning the music-research into that which is not performed and getting it out there

1 part recording it and selling it, all of it. The obscure stuff...too

1 part performing with absolute 100% accessibility which means no charge-nothing wrong with open admission- if you are good you can sell stuff like cds etc...

1 part performing for money and recording for money

If a so-called artis is not doing all of this then they are not a folk musician they are simply screwing us. We can not afford to support a lack of committment as there is so much to loose. And it is being lost daily. Limited federal and state and other grant money is spent on events and persons which do not equally accomplish the goals above stated.

Simple....do the work of a folk artist or go away.

I never write when drinking....but get out for medication in between...

I think the valuation of any "folk artist" should be based on balance along the spectrum of that which we need to have done. Yet many folk artists do nothing but put more money in the bank.(and I have an insider knowledge of major festivals and they are all about money!!and get volunteer stooges to think otherwise!) Where have they donated their time lately to teach lately? What hidden songs have they brought to recordings (not just the seeger songs already recorded but other worthy songs which are confined to dusty pages and there are thousands - just look at the work of Joe Wilson...!~)

If they aren't getting it done then take away the title...should be simple...so then I am sure folks can mark up Springsteens record...and post it for him here. Lets see....is he or isn't he ...let me guess..
He isn't but Seeger was always! Perhaps Springsteen should think about making a real tribute! No one will doubt that there is so much to be done. We have lost a major folk music/classical radio station in DC and I am sure lots of them need funding..... Why just call on a few humble listeners...Have our folk icons actually funded that which needs to be done.?

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 02 May 06 - 08:27 PM

This came up on another thread but is very appropriate!

Now the folksinger came from America
To sing at the Albert Hall,
He sang his songs of protest
And fairer shares for all.
He sang how the poor were much too poor
And the rich too rich by far,
Then he drove back to his penthouse
In his brand new Rolls Royce car.

'What a World' - Benny Hill


reminds me of the promotor/producer of a major virginia folk music festival run on the backs of volunteers...you know ...if it werent for you this would not have happened...

Seems it was so unprofitable that he was able to live in a posh suburb of virginia, drive a mercedes and take two months touring in europe each year!

Yea sure...

If you work for a festival promoter as a volunteer be sure to contact the government for their end of year corporate returns!

Festivals for profit are not to make the music accessible they are to make money....

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:14 PM

My daughet just sent me the whole thing as a birthday present. So far, just watched the DVD section. First impression: unimaginative and self indulgent.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 May 06 - 04:55 PM

Ron,

I agree that Bruce's heart was in the right place. However, i don't think it's a milestone recording by a long shot.

Here's my reasoning. I think of the folk music performance as being a subtle interplay between the voice and accompanying instruments and I didn't hear that. Instead, I was reminded of a kind of pub concert that was thrown together. Bruce's voice seemed tired on some cuts and strained.

The musicians were good but not really allowed to say much because there was too much going on. They emphasis was on a kind of "groove" which seemed to me to be at odds with the material they were doing. The performances seemed "samey" to me.

What I like in a folk performance is the subtle interplay of voice and accompaniment as the great trad folk and pro folk interpreters have done. Josh White's guitar supported his seamless vocals perfectly. Bur Ive's um-plunk on the guitar supported his vocals the same way. Pete Seeger's basic strum has never been equaled by any banjo player that I know of. Maybe because he invented it. Buell Kazee's "Wagoner's Lad" or Clarence Ashley's "Cuckoo" not to mention Doc Watson and David Holt's "Legacy" album define milestone recordings.

The real Seeger sessions would have included some of Pete's better material such as "Harry Sims", "The Banks of Marble", the Alamanc songs of the Spanish Civil War, "Bells of Rhyney", "Joe Hill", "Which Side Are You On?" or even my favorite Pete Seeger recording, the 10" Folkways l.p. "Darling Corey" which employ beautiful accompaniments. For that matter, Jean Ritchie and Peggy Seeger offer haunting versions of their songs that defy the need for any "groove".

I'm glad for Pete that Bruce did the album though and I honor his respect for Pete's work. I think it may help introduce a new audience to folk music which is a good thing. I admire Springsteen as a rock artist (and my fave is "Asbury Park New Jersey" with the E-Street Band.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 13 May 06 - 09:23 PM

Folks,

Frank knows the truth of it. Please take him seriously.

Art


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 May 06 - 09:42 PM

Frank, I am very glad you posted what you did. I love the fact that Bruce did this, but I wish he had forgot the mission and just sang the songs. So many folkies just sing in a formulaic way, the way they heard it, instead of the way they "hear" it. That is what this reminds me of. I wanted so badly to hear a new take that was focused on the lyric and the tellin'. Having said that, I am also glad he did it, and it is a good effort. Just not what I had hoped for.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 06 - 09:49 PM

Those with Seeger interests might want to check out the vide on this thread.

~ Becky at Amos's


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Pauline L
Date: 14 May 06 - 02:12 AM

I just got my copy and I love it. I can't stop listening, singing, and playing along. It may not be great from a musicologists's point of view, but the music making is superb. I still remember and love many of the songs from old Seeger recordings. Springsteen does it his own way. It's different and it's very good. My favorites are O Mary Don't You Weep, Eyes on the Prize, and, of course, We Shall Overcome.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Deskjet
Date: 14 May 06 - 06:01 AM

I bought the album last week and I must say I enjoy it.
Amongst other things, it will surely open some youngsters to the idea of folk music, and arouse their curiosity to find out more.
But I'm not here to talk about that.
I was intrigued with the album cover's intro to "Mrs. McGrath". - "Strongly associated with the Irish Republicans and the Easter Rising of 1916".
This was news to me.
Does anyone know any more about this association?
BD


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 06 - 12:42 PM

The biggest pile of crap i've ever heard. Mult-millionaire wanker sings some poor boy songs with his BIG band. Just about the level for some of you shitheads.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Deskjet
Date: 14 May 06 - 12:57 PM

Not quite the response I was expecting.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,None of the above guests
Date: 14 May 06 - 01:14 PM

Well, I think Frank has nailed it. This is something I enjoy hearing on the radio, online, etc. but I won't listen for long. The album isn't near the top of Springsteen's best, and those who LOVED 'Nebraska' won't be nearly as enthralled with this. I agree with Frank's technical interpretation of the album.

But that said, I also know the true magic of Springsteen is his live performances, and I sure am jealous of Poppagator, because I'm sure the definitive versions of those Springsteen versions were the ones he saw performed in NO. Those tribute songs, I'm sure, will never sound as good any where or any place or at any other time than when The Boss performed them for a wounded NO. Because that is his element as an artist.

Springsteen is so gifted, in many ways he defies the whole genre/classification thing, like all great artists do.

Unless you've "been there" for a live performance, you have no idea what this artist, his music, and his values and sensibilities as a human being are all about.

Finally, why do you people give posters like Mr. Peasant & Mr. Gibson the time of day? You are feeding the trolls, derailing good threads, and dragging the level of conversation down into a cesspool.

While those of you who freely choose to engage in these bitter battles with bigoted idiots truly get what you deserve when you get into it with jerks, you certainly rob everyone else of what it is they come to a music forum for. You might try thinking about that the next time you get an uncontrollable urge to lay into the #1 Peasants and Martin Gibsons of the world.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: The Villan
Date: 14 May 06 - 02:07 PM

I have just listened to 3 songs from Springsteen and I think the backing music is brilliant and with Bruce's singing it all adds to excellent listening. Its happy music. Its so great to hear somebody take old folk songs and whip em up and give them a fresh feel.

I run a folk club, and I get to hear people who have taken an old number and redone it in a totally different style and I applaud them.

Francy, I completely disagree with your comments below. I certainly would recommend it

Quote I have listened to it a half a dozoen times already and wouldn't recommend this to any one who loves folk music.....this is for springsteen rockers and that's it End of Quote

There are too many people who sit in their own time warp and will not change. That in my honest opinion gives folk music such a bad name with the youngsters.

I am almost 61, and like all types of music and I applaud anybody who makes the effort to take an existing song and revamp it in a different style and gives it fresh appeal.

Great job Brucie babe.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 May 06 - 02:53 PM

Re "Mrs McGrath", it's probably linked to the Irish 1916 Easter Rebellion because the song, one of the finest anti-war songs IMO (similar to Dylan's "John Brown"), is often credited to Peadar Kearney (1883-1942), who fought in said Rebellion. He also wrote the lyrics of the Irish national anthem, "The Soldier's Song".


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 14 May 06 - 03:13 PM

Here we go again. The Irish trying to claim another song as theirs!


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 May 06 - 10:23 AM

Frank,

I respectfully disagree with your take on the Springsteen CD. Of course your opinions are valid and I always highly respect your take on these subjects, but I do think you are approaching the recording with different expectations and not seeing what Springsteen was trying to accomplish.

You mentioned that you like "subtle interplay of voice and accompaniment as the great trad folk and pro folk interpreters have done". That sets up an expectation of how the style was defined, primarily during the folk revival era, as the artists that you go on to mention approached the music from similar perspectives and styles, not to mention time frame.   The performances of Ives, Seeger, Kazee and others reflect THEIR personna, a personna that was formed by the times in which they matured.   

You also mentioned that his voice seemed "tired" and "strained". I feel that artists like Charlie Poole, Rev. Gary Davis and Dave Van Ronk would also fit that description - yet it was expressive of their own voice.

I keep coming back to the message that I believe Pete Seeger has always tried to teach. Make the music come alive.   Springsteen incorporated the songs into a style that truly works for him - an interplay of HIS voice with HIS accompaniment in order for the songs to speak for him.

Sure Springsteen created a "groove", yet couldn't we say the same of The Weavers? Isn't the idea to interpret the traditional music to make it work for the artist AND the intended audience?   

Pete Seeger would have been a horrible failure if he plugged in an electric guitar and tried to sing Born to Run.   Bruce Springsteen would be a horrible failure if he tried to play the banjo and sing Darling Corey unaccompanied. Yet both artists could take those songs, IF they could make a relationship with the song, and make it work in their own style.   While I doubt that Pete Seeger would feel anything for Born To Run, I do think that in his prime he could have interpreted some of Springsteens work for his style - IF he chose to.

What it boils down to is the core of the song itself. Again, Seeger tried to teach us what a song was about and to make it work for our own lives. I do think Springsteen understands that and follows through. The songs he chose does work for him.   

Please understand, I am not trying to sway ANYONES opinion of the CD. As I first stated, I knew this CD would not be to everyones liking.   My only concern is that many people are ignoring the theory behind the CD - that the art is in the making of the music and making it work for your audience.

The CD was not intended as a tribute to Pete Seeger's career, it was a tribute to the work and teaching that Pete Seeger has always stood for.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: C. Ham
Date: 15 May 06 - 11:30 AM

The CD was not intended as a tribute to Pete Seeger's career, it was a tribute to the work and teaching that Pete Seeger has always stood for.

You are so right about that. I remember listening to an interview with Pete Seeger 10 or 15 years ago and he made the point that his main goal was to get people singing along and getting them to make music for themselves.

When I listen to this Springsteen CD, I can't help but sing along on almost every song. I've played the album about five times in the past week and have had the guitar out of the case for 1-2 hours after each time.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 15 May 06 - 12:14 PM

I hereby award you the last word....as I am tired...

Zyxt or should you prefer Zyxst or Zyzzyva

Zyxt is listed as the last word in the online Oxford English Dictionary, an obsolete Kentish word that is the second singular indicative present form of the verb see. The next-to-last is zyxst, an obsolete word meaning 'sixth'. Several online dictionaries list the word zyzzyva, a tropical American weevil, as the last word in the letter Z.

source: http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/w41.html

CB


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Les from Hull
Date: 15 May 06 - 12:27 PM

UK catters can go to the text option (or channel 302) on their freeview boxes and see an 20 minute excerpt from a concent.

Or for anyone else click on The Boss here


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: alf ackoffshalla
Date: 15 May 06 - 12:42 PM

" "It would be great if Bruce Springsteen inspires a younger generation to go "back to the source" and investigate folk music more fully, just like many of us older folks did back in the sixties and seventies. Some folks enjoyed folk music when it was popular and then went with the trend when other styles of music became fashionable, others were inspired to dig deeper into the roots of folk music. " "

what she sed

just had a listen ( channel 302)
always hated springsteen but im buying this fer the craic seems to have a good "vibe" going on.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: GUEST,14 May 06 - 01:14 PM
Date: 15 May 06 - 09:01 PM

I do get a little tired of folks claiming how great every single thing Springsteen has ever done is. T'ain't so. In fact, I don't think he has put out much in the past 15 years I've even thought was on a par with a lot of the indie/alt stuff that has come out in the same time span.

For instance, the version on this album of 'We Shall Overcome' makes me gag. My fave is 'Shenandoah' (the song is a favorite of mine, though) which he seems to hit the right note with, but it isn't the best version I've ever heard of it. 'Eyes on the Prize' is probably the one and only song on the album that he actually brings up to the present day, but I would also understand those who said he missed the mark completely on this album if making these songs contemporary was the goal.

As I said before, this is far from Springsteen's best work. It doesn't even come close to 'Ghost of Tom Joad' or 'Nebraska'. But it doesn't surprise me that some are less than critical about some of the stinkers on this one.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Brakn
Date: 17 May 06 - 10:05 AM

BBC Friday


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 May 06 - 02:20 PM

Revised opinion from me. I should have listened to the CD first, which I now have, rather than having watched the DVD first.

It's a great, exciting, driving, very musical, atmospheric sound: a fusion of the old ("folk")and new ("rock"). Folk rock!

And it can help the generations relate better to each other, at least it has in my family.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Pauline L
Date: 18 May 06 - 11:55 AM

I love the CD and hate the DVD. I think the DVD could be improved considerably with Adobe Photoshop using Enhance Colors.


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:26 PM

Old news I know... but I just laid hands to a copy of this recording, and I quite enjoy it.... Much more than anything I've heard from "The Boss" in 20 years or so at the very least.....

Might just be the best version of "Buffalo Gals" that I've ever heard.....


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Subject: RE: Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 12:13 PM

I finally got this - I was afraid from reviews that i would hate it since I'm something of a bruce purist. I don't prefer his rock music but I don't like the affected accent he has adopted as his singing dialect in the past decade. he keeps trying to sound more southern and it doesn't fly. I prefered when he sang in a more authetic south jersey/delaware subtle southern lilt. if you listen to folks from Delware and very southern jersey, they do not sound like Northerns at all. My husband is a South Jersey boy too so maybe I just prefer the dialect on account of that.


It took a few plays for this to grow on me and I do really enjoy it now. I think I like "Pay me My money Down" the best because he adds the verse about Bill gates and bings it to the present. he also employs a vocal technique of his I always love of aiming flat of a note and bending upwards such as he does when he sings the word "jail". His tendency not to hit perfect notes and to aim flat has always lent weariness to his voice that others can't quite imitate. It's not an easy thing to do if you've been a trained singer.

Anyway - I would say that this record is a Dixieland record with a little folk mixed in. it reminds me of the albums he produced for Gary U.S. Bonds in the early 80s which had a similar sound. He and Gary did Jole Blon in a very unique way and Soul Deep plus a bunch of Springsteen originals that worked well.

There will always be people who wet themselves over any new "Trad" Springsteen record just as there will be people waiting to trash it as not authentic - like it or not, he has the juice to get a record like this done and out in Walmarts and Target stores. That alone should earn him some praise.

So - I like it and am fighting with my husband for posession of it this morning. I've now weighed in.

Oh - I hated the ay he did Shenendoah but now find myself singing along with it every time it's on and improvising a bit. it's lovely.


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