The origins of this album, which originally appeared in 1954 (though the actual recording date is a subject of debate), is a real mystery. The live recordings were very clearly derived from pre-tape sources, specifically 78 rpm lacquers, which means they date from before 1950, or even from before 1947. But as a red vinyl (!!!) 12" LP from 1957 turned up only decades later, not having shown up in any reference sources, the whole provenance of this collection may take some major detective work. What is known is that Stinson Records -- the origins of which, involving the Stinson Trading Company, went back to its interest in Soviet-produced art and materiel growing out of the 1939 World's Fair -- was originally in a partnership with Moe Asch in the mid-'40s, distributing the latter's Asch and Disc labels. The partnership ended in 1947 (just prior to the introduction of recording tape in the U.S.) with the bankruptcy of Asch's two labels, and as part of the settlement of debts, Stinson got a large number of Asch and Disc masters. So this is a very youthful Pete Seeger, in excellent voice and fine form on the banjo, and he does bracing, rippling renditions of songs such as "Greenland Fisheries," "Winnsboro Cotton Blues," and a very early rendition of "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," the origins of which he explains and attributes to Lead Belly. It's all great stuff, and any LP edition of it is fine -- the red vinyl 12" version is apparently a nice rarity, as is the 10" LP version.
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