Pete Seeger

American Play Parties

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A "play party," explains Pete Seeger in his liner notes, was a kind of end run around a religious prohibition against dancing in the 19th century, which helps explain why all of the songs here are performed a cappella. But even without instruments, they seem to imply dancing, with their regular, uptempo rhythms and repetitious lyrics, not to mention words that often sound distinctly like dancing instructions in a square dance manner. Seeger and his ten-year-old daughter Mika accompany the Rev. Larry Eisenberg, who is the author of a book on play parties. Eisenberg is really the dominant voice, taking the melody lines, as Seeger often joins him on harmonies. Mika Seeger, who appears on some of the songs, adds a welcome high part. In his notes, Seeger worries that people will listen too much to this album, warning that the point really is to learn the songs from the LP and then sing them yourself. So, think of this as one of his demonstration records, and use it for your own play parties.

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