Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he stories alone are timeless and touching. The set is fleshed out with vintage recordings and guest tracks, all adding up to a loving tribute..."
Tributee: Woody Guthrie.
Tributee: Woody Guthrie.
Personnel: Pete Seeger (banjo); Ralph Storm, Cathy Fink (banjo).
Liner Note Author: David Bernz.
Photographer: David Bernz.
This set is exactly what the title says it is -- Pete Seeger remembering his friend and sometimes musical collaborator Woody Guthrie. What it isn't is a collection of Pete Seeger singing Woody Guthrie songs, although there are a few performances of Seeger doing that here -- one also gets Arlo Guthrie and others presenting Woody Guthrie songs. Seeger's main role in this release is to reminisce, which he does. Now 93 years of age, the 21-year-old Seeger met Guthrie at a benefit concert in 1940 when Guthrie was 27 and, falling under the spell of Guthrie's songs, music, and charisma, Seeger began traveling and playing music with him, most notably in the Almanac Singers (there's a version of the Almanac Singers' "Reuben James" included here). Seeger talks about what it was like to travel with Guthrie and the genesis of songs like "This Land Is Your Land," "New York Town," and "Do Re Mi." In the second half of this set, Seeger talks about Guthrie's legacy, the folk boom he godfathered, and his influence on Seeger's own journeys and struggles. Versions of Guthrie's songs are scattered through these remembrances, giving them added grace and lift. Guthrie himself makes an appearance, and is heard playing and singing "New York Town" with Cisco Houston on a recording the two made in 1940. There really isn't anything new in this package, but the way it's fit together, arranged, and sequenced makes it more than just an archival sort of release. Seeger has his own legacy, and to hear him talk about his friend and mentor is worth the price of admission, and with the songs laced all through the story, it becomes an even bigger story, one that is still unfolding in influence a decade or more into the 21st century. ~ Steve Leggett
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