Pete Seeger

Dangerous Songs!?

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In 1966, when the topical song movement had gained national attention through the newly written material of Bob Dylan and such compatriots as Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger set out to demonstrate that "protest" songs were not a new thing by putting together an album largely made up of traditional material that had its roots in long-since-forgotten political issues, everything from the nursery rhyme "Little Jack Horner" to the Civil War march "John Brown's Body." Further, Seeger suggested that everything is political, whether it's the apparently comic children's song "Beans in My Ears" or that piece of Irish advice "Never Wed an Old Man." ("In the long run, the most truly dangerous songs of all may prove to be love songs and lullabies," he wrote in the liner notes.) And then there were songs that all would agree are political (though humorous), such as "The Pill" and Ochs' "Draft Dodger Rag." The resulting collection is one of Seeger's funniest, and at the same time most pointed albums. It took Columbia Records 32 years to reissue it on CD, with three bonus tracks from the sessions.

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