Pete Seeger's acknowledged major influences are Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, and he performed their songs frequently. In 1968, Folkways Records combed through its extensive catalog of Seeger recordings to compile two collections, Pete Seeger Sings Leadbelly and Pete Seeger Sings Woody Guthrie. The Guthrie album is largely drawn from live performances at which Seeger reminisces about a predecessor who was also a peer early in his career. The two were both members of the Almanac Singers, for example, and there developed such songs as "The Sinking of the Reuben James" and "Union Maid." Later, in the Weavers, Seeger helped make a hit out of Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You," which he also sings here. Of course, well-known Guthrie favorites like "Roll on, Columbia" (complete with anecdotes about the circumstances of its composition) and "This Land Is Your Land" are also included. The sound quality on these disparate tracks can be less than optimum, but Seeger is an ideal interpreter of the best of Woody Guthrie's songwriting, ranging from topical to humorous to children's material.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann