The Song In My Head

The Forgotten Son
December 3, 2007, 5:06 am
Filed under: 50's, 60's, America, dylan, folk, Music, seeger, singer, woody


At 14 years old, while the other kids in high school were out partying and living it up, I was busy dorking it up at home watching music documentaries on PBS.  At the time, the thought had never occured to me that I would eventually become  a songwriter.  I was just a kid who was really, really into music and singing.  Buying CD’s and raiding my sister’s music collection was a daily occurance, and much of my youth was spent lost in a daze of stereo components and mixed tapes. However, I clearly remember the night that the folk singer Pete Seeger appeared on my TV.  I thought to myself “don’t forget his name… pete seeger….pete seeger…pete seeger”.  By the weeks end his albums found their way to my cd player,  and I retreated into a dusty world that seemed like the perfect musical backdrop to a Steinbeck novel. 

Mentioning Pete Seeger’s name usually brings out lame conversations like the following:

lame ass -“isn’t that the guy who sings Like A Rock?”  

me -“no, that would be Bob Seeger, the biggest retard in music history

 lame ass -“oh” 

Rattle off a few of ol Petey’s greats, and then you get a smile and a nod of recognition: Turn, Turn, Turn.  Where Have All The Flowers Gone?  Wimoweh.  Guantanamera.  If I Had A Hammer.  We Shall Overcome.These are all folk classics, yet why is it that people don’t know the name Pete Seeger?   It’s a hard thing to explain, but I think it has to do with the fact that Seeger’s career fell smack dab in between two giants known as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.  Acting as a bridge between them, his own legacy became overshadowed.

Being a best friend of Woody and a mentor to Bob (he personally took young Bobby under his wing to help him tour) Pete’s namesake remains firmly fixed as that of a union/protest singer and not much else.  Guthrie’s best songs had a more universal  appeal and tone, and Dylan ascribed to being no one’s political pet,  eventually abandoning the protest movement altogether.  Pete chose to remain behind, and unfortunately songs about unions and scabs and big boss men don’t resonate as well with the kids now a days. On top of that, Pete was more of a banjo man, which also may have hindered his chance with a mainstream audience. 

All of that said, I think Pete Seeger is one of the best singer/songwriters that has ever lived.  His melodies are made to be sung, his stories are full and rich, and his technique is flawless.  Having seen a huge resurgence in the indie-folk scene, I point my finger with scorn to all the wannabe Beardo Mcgee’s that think they are folk artists and say “learn from this master”. 

Darling Corey

Little Boxes

Turn, Turn, Turn

Casey Jones


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

lame ass: “hey johnny, you spelled bob seger’s name wrong. i’m just sayin.”

but seriously, loving your blog. you’re good, you.

Comment by alison

I know.. I should have spelled it “boring seger”

my bad

Comment by songinmyhead

I love Pete Seeger! I’m old – I have him on vinyl. Wanna see my record collection?

Comment by Carla

I wholeheartedly disagree with you about Bob Seger. The man is a fantastic musician, and singer.

Comment by Shawn

HAHAH! That is awesome..

Comment by songinmyhead

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