Pete Seeger

American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 2 [2003]

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In 1957, Folkways Records released Pete Seeger's American Favorite Ballads, his renditions of some of the better-known songs in the traditional folk repertoire. Of course, the selection was far from exhaustive, so in 1958 Folkways followed with this second volume. Seeger draws from many different sources, beginning with Stephen Foster's "Oh, Susanna!," which is old enough to be considered a folk song. Tunes like "Sally Ann," "Shenandoah," and "Careless Love" have country & western origins. Naturally, Seeger looks to his two major mentors, Woody Guthrie for "Hard Traveling," and particularly Lead Belly. Taking up the 12-string guitar, Lead Belly's instrument, Seeger presents his own versions of "Midnight Special," "Black Girl," and "Alabama Bound," played as Lead Belly would. ("Midnight Special" even gets an extra verse referring to him.) While some of the performances are loud and boisterous, Seeger gives "Shenandoah" a nearly a cappella treatment, only occasionally using a banjo chord, and he sings "Black Is the Color" unaccompanied. Thus, the album has considerable variety in terms of the type of material and the approach Seeger takes. Of course, there's still plenty more where these came from.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2
1:37
3 3:05
4 2:32
5 3:06
6
3:27
7
2:17
8
1:31
9 2:26
10 3:14
11 3:34
12 2:05
13 2:12
14 3:37
15 4:27
16 2:13
17 2:31
18 1:31
19 2:03
20 2:50
21 3:54
22
2:48
23 2:49
24 2:44
25 2:20
26 3:01
27 2:37
blue highlight denotes track pick