Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

Pete Seeger passed away yesterday.  I can’t help thinking of the verse in the bible when Jesus sees Nathanial and says, “Behold an Israelites in who is no guile” I grew up with the songs of Pete Seeger in my home.  I knew of him as a protester, a folk singer who sang for the people, socialist- in the most pure sense of the word.  A person for whom the social, or the human, was far more important than the capital – the money.  As far as I ever saw, Pete Seeger remained true to that basic ethic.  Growing up some of his most famous songs became painful and embarrassing to me.  “We shall overcome” (not written by Seeger, but famously sung by him), came to represent the anthem of failed vision and pitiful idealism of the scattered left.  But that is not Seeger’s fault.  This man was singing about all the important issues to workers, and environmentalists, and humans in oppression for many years before I was born.  Take a listen to his song, “The Big Muddy”, which was sung on the Smothers Brother’s show in the sixties.  Sometime if you have a chance, go to the interviews he did on Democracy Now.  They are archived.  Or just get a hold of a few of his songs.  He was a good one.  So long Pete Seeger.

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