Pete Seeger Concert/Pete! Folk Songs and Ballads

Pete Seeger Concert/Pete! Folk Songs and Ballads

by Pete Seeger
     
 
This CD is actually one of the jewels of the Collectables Records folk catalog. And it's easily among the most important records that they've got out, on purely historical terms, compiled from a pair of live Pete Seeger compilations -- but with two important caveats, over the content and quality, that require explanation. Both A Pete Seeger Concert and Pete!

Overview

This CD is actually one of the jewels of the Collectables Records folk catalog. And it's easily among the most important records that they've got out, on purely historical terms, compiled from a pair of live Pete Seeger compilations -- but with two important caveats, over the content and quality, that require explanation. Both A Pete Seeger Concert and Pete! Folk Songs and Ballads were issued by Stinson Records in the 1950s, but they had originally been recorded by Moses Asch for his Asch and Disc labels in the mid- to late '40s. When the latter two labels went bankrupt in 1947, Stinson was one of the creditors and received a brace of Asch and Disc masters recorded up through that time as part of the settlement, including -- apparently -- the contents of the two Pete Seeger albums represented on this CD, which they assembled and released in the '50s. So these are very vibrant, youthful representations of Seeger's work and art, presenting a man far younger than, say, the Columbia Records concert releases of the late '50s and '60s -- he is a far less avuncular presence, to be sure, and his voice is almost heart-stoppingly beautiful. And one does get to hear how he knew, even then, how to work an audience, whether he is introducing folk songs from South Africa or a traditional Jewish source, or presenting a Leadbelly reconception of an old Irish song, entitled "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine." That's the good news about this CD and its content, but implicit in that account is also the bad news -- these are very early recordings, as near as one can tell from before the advent of recording tape technology; all of it seems to have been recorded and preserved on 78 rpm masters, which leaves us with a fair (and occasionally) heavy surface noise. None of that should impede real fans from embracing this CD -- it's genuinely priceless on a musical level, but it will probably not please the casual listener expecting something closer to modern fidelity. And Collectables has not helped matters any with its packaging -- it does include a disclaimer about the quality on the back of the jewel case to warn potential purchasers, but then offers annotation that deliberately seems to avoid addressing the origins of these recordings. Be aware, but buy it and savor it; and listeners should also keep in mind that because the material here was part of a settlement between Asch and Stinson, none of these recordings was ever part of the Folkways library, but it's as valuable as anything in that library.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/28/1995
Label:
Collectables
UPC:
0090431560822
catalogNumber:
5608

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