Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger

Various Artists

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger Review

by Jeff Burger

After listening to this multi-artist two-CD celebration of Pete Seeger's songs, you'll be delighted to read in the liner notes that it's "just the beginning of at least four volumes." Producer Jim Musselman calls the package a "labor of love," and that's clearly what it was. Musselman did a terrific job of choosing the songs from Seeger's vast repertoire, and of matching each tune with an artist "based on either the philosophical fit between the artist and the message of the song and/or their unique musical style." Even the extensive liner notes -- which include info on each performer, plus comments on every song by Seeger and the performer -- testify to the effort that went into the project. The result is one of the most consistently successful tribute albums on the market.

The material is wonderful; whether you think of Seeger primarily as an interpreter or a crusader for social justice, you'll be impressed by this reminder of just how many classic tunes he has written or cowritten and how many topics he's covered -- everything from the Byrds-popularized "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Bruce Cockburn) to the lullaby "One Grain of Sand" (Odetta) to "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" (Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt).

The performers, who range in age from five to 85, are a motley crew; and while they include more than a few obscure artists who apparently made the grade because they happen to be signed to Appleseed or its affiliated labels, the collection also features lots of big names. More importantly, nearly all of the 39 recordings are first-rate. Among the many highlights: Bruce Springsteen's gentle reading of "We Shall Overcome"; Greg Brown's "Sailing Down My Golden River"; Roger McGuinn's "Bells of Rhymney" (a song he first recorded with the Byrds); and Ani DiFranco's "My Name Is Lisa Kalvelage."

Perhaps most touching, though, is the concluding number, Pete Seeger's own recording of his newly written "And Still I Am Searching." Sadly, the track does back up Seeger's statement in the liner notes that "I hardly have any voice left." But it also evidences the spirit that gave birth to all these songs. That spirit was still very much alive in the septuagenarian Seeger when this album was released, and thanks to his music, it will be around long after he's gone.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Dolores Keane / Tommy Sands / Vedran Smailovic 06:23 SpotifyAmazon
2 Jackson Browne / Bonnie Raitt 04:44 SpotifyAmazon
3 John Gorka 04:29 SpotifyAmazon
4 Richie Havens 02:29 SpotifyAmazon
5 Ani DiFranco 04:51 SpotifyAmazon
6 Bruce Cockburn 04:43
7 Tish Hinojosa 04:11 SpotifyAmazon
Sweet Honey in the Rock 01:53 SpotifyAmazon
9 Studs Terkel 01:30 SpotifyAmazon
10 Billy Bragg / Eliza Carthy 02:54 SpotifyAmazon
11 Greg Brown 03:50 SpotifyAmazon
12 Tony Trischka 06:26 SpotifyAmazon
13 Kim & Reggie Harris / Kim Harris / Reggie Harris / Magpies 03:28 SpotifyAmazon
14 Cordelia's Dad 03:28 SpotifyAmazon
15 Peter, Paul and Mary 03:55 SpotifyAmazon
16 Robin Flower / Ronnie Gilbert / Libby McLaren 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
17 Tom Paxton 03:13 SpotifyAmazon
18 John Stewart 03:29 SpotifyAmazon
19 Nanci Griffith 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
20 The Weavers 01:55 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Bruce Springsteen 04:40 SpotifyAmazon
2 Roger McGuinn 03:52 SpotifyAmazon
3 Judy Collins 05:01 SpotifyAmazon
4 Guy Davis 05:23 SpotifyAmazon
5 Indigo Girls 06:33 SpotifyAmazon
6 Dick Gaughan 04:52 SpotifyAmazon
7 Tim Robbins 03:56 SpotifyAmazon
8 Martin Simpson 03:23 SpotifyAmazon
9 Odetta 03:09 SpotifyAmazon
10 Casey Neill 05:01 SpotifyAmazon
11 John Trudell 03:32 SpotifyAmazon
12 The Freight Hoppers / Si Kahn 03:16 SpotifyAmazon
13 Cathy Fink 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
14 Tommy Makem 02:33 SpotifyAmazon
15 Anne Hills 02:55 SpotifyAmazon
16 Donovan 03:11 SpotifyAmazon
17 Holly Near 04:48 SpotifyAmazon
18 Studs Terkel 00:20 SpotifyAmazon
19 Pete Seeger 03:14 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick