Pete Seeger

If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle

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AllMusic Review by

Pete Seeger's repertoire was not limited to songs with specific sociopolitical goals, and the most familiar versions of his most popular tunes were done for Columbia. Still, it's hard to imagine doing better than this compilation of Folkways recordings (most from the late '50s and '60s) if you want evidence of Seeger's importance and skills as a spokesperson for worthy causes. Dividing into segments addressing "unions and labor," "peace," "civil rights," and "hope," this has the original 1956 versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," along with other tunes identified with Seeger like "We Shall Overcome" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (the last from an unreleased tape of unspecified vintage). The liner notes explain the origins of each song, as well as how their structures have evolved over the years; a couple of 1998 tracks show his spirit intact, but his voice (as he himself admits) losing strength.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:52
2 3:12
3 2:06
4 1:54
5 3:01
6 2:29
7 2:12
8 1:33
9 2:51
10 2:01
11 2:25
12 2:21
13 2:27
14 3:09
15 2:03
16 3:03
17 3:16
18 4:38
19 1:57
20 2:38
21 2:43
22 3:28
23 3:26
24 1:53
25 4:48
26 2:10
blue highlight denotes track pick