Pete Seeger

20 Classic Folk Songs

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Tinted blue for some reason, the photograph on the cover of Fat Boy Records' 1995 Pete Seeger compilation 20 Classic Folk Songs shows a bearded, over-50 Seeger, probably in the 1970s. But the recordings heard on the disc must come from before the mid-‘50s, since the British reissue label is taking advantage of the 50-year copyright limit on recordings to issue this unlicensed collection, drawn from tracks issued in the U.S. by Folkways and Stinson Records up through 1954 (including the complete contents of the 1953 Stinson LP A Pete Seeger Concert). Mastered from records, the CD has iffy sound quality, not only because of that but because, particularly with regard to the Stinson material, these recordings were near-bootlegs to begin with. Expect muffled mono sound, then. That said, this is typical Seeger, ranging across many different varieties (and many different nationalities) of folk song, instructing his listeners, and often getting them to sing along, even when he's singing in German or Hebrew. Beyond a performance of the Weavers' hit "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," there isn't much in the way of original compositions. Other than that, Seeger wasn't doing much different when he was the age shown on the album cover, 20 or more years later.

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