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Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions

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WFDU - Ron Olesko 24 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 25 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM
Liz the Squeak 25 Apr 06 - 10:26 AM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM
jeffp 25 Apr 06 - 11:15 AM
Chris in Wheaton 25 Apr 06 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,ifor 25 Apr 06 - 01:20 PM
Mrrzy 25 Apr 06 - 06:20 PM
Chris Cole 25 Apr 06 - 06:48 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 25 Apr 06 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 25 Apr 06 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,TJ 25 Apr 06 - 08:37 PM
Brian Hoskin 26 Apr 06 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Mrr 26 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Apr 06 - 01:42 PM
Ernest 26 Apr 06 - 01:53 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Apr 06 - 03:27 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Apr 06 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,s.s 26 Apr 06 - 03:35 PM
fat B****rd 26 Apr 06 - 03:40 PM
Maryrrf 26 Apr 06 - 05:19 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Apr 06 - 05:23 PM
Once Famous 26 Apr 06 - 05:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Apr 06 - 09:26 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Apr 06 - 09:35 PM
Elmer Fudd 26 Apr 06 - 11:39 PM
Pauline L 27 Apr 06 - 12:43 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM
Janie 27 Apr 06 - 09:55 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Apr 06 - 09:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Apr 06 - 10:41 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM
Maryrrf 27 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,mrs punkfolkroker 27 Apr 06 - 12:48 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 27 Apr 06 - 01:05 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Apr 06 - 01:19 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 27 Apr 06 - 01:40 PM
Janice in NJ 27 Apr 06 - 04:10 PM
Pauline L 28 Apr 06 - 01:34 AM
Janice in NJ 28 Apr 06 - 11:03 AM
Stringsinger 28 Apr 06 - 12:53 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 28 Apr 06 - 01:18 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Apr 06 - 01:51 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 28 Apr 06 - 02:47 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Apr 06 - 02:55 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Apr 06 - 03:42 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 28 Apr 06 - 03:58 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 28 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Apr 06 - 04:05 PM
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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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