Book: Pete Seeger: His Life In His Own Words
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• "Wonderfully insightful...Seeger in his own words is better than anyone else could have written. A elder statesman troubadour for the ages. Seeger influenced so many of us to learn the guitar, to sing with others, to care about causes, to be better human beings."
- Peter Witt, Bryan, TX (2012)
• "What a treasure. Pete Seeger has been ... an authentic man fighting to keep the music of the world alive and well and to leave the world a better place. The best way to review it is to quote some of his writings in the book.
1965 - 'And remember the aim of civilized man: to bring order and harmony - to simplify life. Any fool can get complicated. We are born in simplicity but die of complications. You may decide that you prefer to sing some of these songs with no accompaniment at all (as I do). In any case, the decision is up to you, and you are the next link in the chain.'
1968 - 'Down with all hardliners. They say politics make for strange bedfellows. What the hell's wrong with strange bedfellows? Mother Earth is one big bed. We better all learn to share it.'
2006 - 'They did an especially good job on the famous 200-year-old hymn, Amazing Grace, which I learned from Lee Hays 60 years ago. And when I sing it I usually remind audiences that the words were written by a man who had for ten years been captain of a slave ship, but in his thirties he quit and became a preacher in his home in the south of England, and he started the antislavery movement in England. 'He turned his life around, and gave us hope that we can turn our country around.'
2008 - 'Maybe there's room to retell my parable of the Teaspoon Brigade. Imagine a big seesaw. One end is on the ground, held down by a bushel basket half full of rocks. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air with a bushel basket on it one-quarter full of sand. Some of us have teaspoons and are trying to fill it. Most people are scoffing. 'It's leaking out as fast as you put it in.' But we say, 'No'. We're watching closely, and it's a little more full than it was. And we're getting more and more people with teaspoons. One of these days that whole seesaw will go ZOOP! in the opposite direction. People will say, 'Gee, how did it happen so suddenly?'
Us and all our little teaspoons over thousands of years.
Keep in mind that we have to keep using our teaspoons, because the basket does leak. Are you in the teaspoon brigade?'
– Patricia Kramer (2012)
• "It's best to just come out and say it; this is at once a profoundly important and endlessly fascinating document. The Rosenthals have done us all a great service in putting together in one volume the thoughts and utterances of a true genius covering 80 years (13-year old Pete's request to his mother to allow him to buy a banjo with his allowance money is priceless.) Here are Pete's comments and musings on philosophy, history, literature, politics, and of course music. There are letters to family members, to Woody Guthrie, Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, and scores of others.
Whether it be ideas about public performance, voting, civil rights, the role of the family or any of dozens of other topics, literally every page bubbles with riveting revelations or insights. Throughout, one gets a real sense of a man who is arguably among the greatest musicians - not to mention human beings - this country has ever produced.
I cannot recommend this book strongly enough... and that includes to 'non-folkies' as well.
- Steve Siegelbaum, 2012