Pete Seeger

Camp Songs

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AllMusic Review by

Pete Seeger's distinctive banjo style is heard accompanying the singers on this album of songs for singing around a campfire, but his voice only seems to peek out here and there in the chorus. The collection may be taken largely as an attempt to demonstrate -- by use of the lyric sheet -- how other makeshift choruses can perform this material, since the singers here are, for the most part, no better or worse than any group of six- to 12-year-olds who might have been assembled and taught the tunes. The boys singing "I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago" are enthusiastic, making this one of the better tracks, and there are some good solo leads on "Putting on the Style," but most of the vocals are amateur quality. After a side's worth of choral numbers (tracks one through eight), Erik Darling gets three solo songs, "Happy Jackie Junior," "Spring Would Be/There Was a Little Man," and "Oh, When Pop Was a Little Boy." Most of the early songs are innocent (and sometimes nonsensical), but a political element is introduced in "Kevin Barry" (the chorus goes "Shoot me like an Irish soldier/For I fought to free Ireland"), which is the kind of song campers would be likely to sing only if the camp were sponsored by the I.R.A. Nevertheless, this is a spirited recording that certainly will not intimidate those listening to it, who are likely to feel they could sing the songs just as well or better.

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