It probably seems odd today that HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) viewed Pete Seeger as a threat because of his socialist past. It is ironic, then, that Seeger, again because of his socialist past, would be warmly welcomed in communist Czechoslovakia in 1964 (even though he also believed in the "dangerous" idea of democracy). Although Seeger's music is seldom overtly political, it would be interesting to know what Czech audiences thought of "I Can See a New Day" or "We Shall Overcome." He offers a particularly moving version of the latter song, accompanying himself on guitar, and preceded by a monolog of the song's origins. Seeger, never one to believe in obstacles, even solicits his Czech comrades to sing along. There's over 35 songs on these two discs, including classics by Leadbelly
-- "Bourgeois Blues" -- and Woody Guthrie
-- "Talking Colombia." Seeger opens a lovely version of "Prety Saro" with a wooden flute before singing the song a cappello. Fine versions of "Dark as a Dungeon," "Tzena Tzena," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" are delivered along with a number of instrumental pieces. There's a funny story in the liner notes by Gene Deitch about Seeger singing an anti-Vietnam song at several appearances. The audience whistled, which in Czechoslovakia, was the equivalent of booing. Their disapproval, it seems, was based on the fact that the Czech government also opposed the Vietnam War, leading listeners to believe Seeger's song was mere propaganda. Pete Seeger in Prague 1964
captures the master in good voice, quietly and confidently delivering his one-man show to Eastern Europe. This album will make a fine addition to any Seeger fan's record collection while also serving as a good introduction to those unfamiliar with his folk art.