Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy birthday, Pete Seeger

I remember watching Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest on Channel 13 — table, benches, chairs, coffeepot, musicians. Folk music! I was eleven or ten.

I remember going to see Pete Seeger and the Hudson River Sloop Singers in Gaelic Park, the Bronx, August 4, 1969. I was twelve, and it was my first concert. My dad went with me (thanks, Dad). We parked under the elevated train tracks. It was quite an adventure to sing "Bring 'Em Home" and realize that everyone there was against the war in Vietnam.

I remember reading Pete Seeger's "Johnny Appleseed, Jr." column in Sing Out!: The Folk Song Magazine.

I remember Pete Seeger having a beard and always wearing a flowered shirt.

I remember "Living in the Country," "Old Devil Time," and "Sailing Up My Dirty Stream."

I remember "THIS MACHINE SURROUNDS HATE AND FORCES IT TO SURRENDER," written on the head of Pete Seeger's banjo.

I remember the heart-shaped sound-hole of Pete Seeger's twelve-string guitar.

I remember seeing Pete Seeger perform on the porch of a house in Little Compton, Rhode Island. He was visiting an old friend and did a short performance for the local people and "summer people," all there by word of mouth. I happened to be in Little Compton with a friend whose parents had a summer house. I remember "Guantanamera" as the last song.

I remember Pete Seeger's songs and records in the house after our children came on the scene.

I remember listening to our Pete Seeger tapes on many family drives from Illinois to the East Coast. From a previous blog post: "Pete Seeger is the best driving music, at least for my family."

I remember our family singing variation after variation on "Sailing Up, Sailing Down" (to the tune of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What You Want Me to Do"):

Some are young (some are young)
Some are old (some are old)
Young, old, old, young, up and down the river
Sailin' on, stoppin' all along the way
The river may be dirty now
But it's gettin' cleaner every day
I remember remembering to write this post to mark the day that Pete Seeger turns ninety.

[The New York Times, August 4, 1969.]

[My model for this post is Joe Brainard's I Remember.]

comments: 3

Elaine Fine said...

I remember "Lady Margaret," and her long yellow hair.

Elaine Fine said...

. . . and her cold corpsy lips, which frightened the kids (but we kept listening).

Michael Leddy said...

I remember our anticipation when that song comes on (near the beginning of the 1963 Carnegie Hall Concert). Scary! Aiieee!