Pete Seeger

With Voices Together We Sing

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Pete Seeger is renowned as a children's entertainer, but at the concert held in the fall of 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City documented on this album, he addressed a slightly older crowd of college students. They may not have giggled quite as much as audiences he has addressed at grade schools and summer camps, but they were equally responsive. Indeed, they sound like they came to sing, which is a good frame of mind to be in when attending a Pete Seeger concert. He gave them a fairly typical program, ranging from old folk songs to more contemporary fare (including, to the delight of his listeners, a brief parody of "Davy Crockett"). He sang seasonal material and spirituals; he imported songs from Norway ("Oleanna"), Puerto Rico ("Que Bonita Bandera"), and South Africa ("Senzenina/Wimoweh"); and he did not neglect his political viewpoint. The South African medley featured songs using only one word each, yet he explained their political import as expressing protest against the racist regime. And he closed the show referring to his adversarial testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities earlier in 1955, at which he tried to sing the old Weavers song "Wasn't That a Time?," but was refused permission to do so. Here, he did sing it, stirringly linking the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II to the present redbaiting era when "madmen" rule and "free men go to jail." With contempt citations hanging over his head after that HUAC testimony, such words were not merely poetry to him, a fact no doubt appreciated by the college audience who sang along so sweetly.

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