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American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1 [2002]
     

American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1 [2002]

by Pete Seeger
 
In his time, Pete Seeger has sung and played practically all of America's best-loved folk ballads. Volume 1 brings together 28 of the most memorable of these performances from Seeger recordings ranging from 1954 to 1962. Accompanying himself on either banjo or guitar, or singing a cappella, Seeger exhibits all the authority and charm that have made him a living

Overview

In his time, Pete Seeger has sung and played practically all of America's best-loved folk ballads. Volume 1 brings together 28 of the most memorable of these performances from Seeger recordings ranging from 1954 to 1962. Accompanying himself on either banjo or guitar, or singing a cappella, Seeger exhibits all the authority and charm that have made him a living legend. These songs simply come alive under his spell, no matter how old they may actually be. Seeger takes songs that Americans accept almost as a birthright -- "John Henry," "Skip to My Lou," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "Oh, Susanna," Yankee Doodle," "Home on the Range," and plenty more -- and gives them inspired, unpretentious readings that only prove their durability once again. (The fine liner notes give detailed background information explaining each song's origins.) This essential recording can be shared with the whole family with the pleasure of knowing that as-yet unborn progeny will be singing these songs in decades to come.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The title of this reissue might seem straightforward enough, but before discussing the music, its exact contents need some explanation. In the late '50s and early '60s, Seeger did five volumes of a series entitled American Favorite Ballads. Although this CD is called American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1, it is not the same as the first of the Folkways LPs that came out in this series. Its 28 tracks do include every song that came out on the first volume of American Favorite Ballads (issued in 1957 on the LP Folkways FA 2320), except "Buffalo Gals." However, the CD also contains selections from all four of the other LPs in the American Favorite Ballads series, as well as a previously unreleased 1958 version of "This Land Is Your Land" and a 1954 take of "Wayfaring Stranger" that originally came out on a Folkways release that was not part of the American Favorite Ballads series. There will be a test on this next week, but after digesting all that, you can put down your pencil and paper and listen to the music. Most of these songs are familiar to the majority of Americans, and many listeners first came across them through Seeger, whether or not through these recordings specifically. "John Henry," "America the Beautiful," "Oh, Susanna," "Goodnight Irene," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Skip to My Lou," "Clementine," "Yankee Doodle," "Wayfaring Stranger," "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep," "On Top of Old Smoky," and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" are just the most familiar. In and of themselves, Seeger's renditions are not the most exciting ones, delivered in his plain-spoken manner with no accompaniment other than his banjo or guitar. They do, however, form an important part of 20th century music, with Seeger a prime vehicle for their exposure. The CD reissue has detailed notes about the history of each song, as well as a general overview of Seeger's early career.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/25/2002
Label:
Smithsonian Folkways
UPC:
0093074015025
catalogNumber:
40150
Rank:
83299

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