Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Righteous implements for troubled times

Play it: Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
Play it: We Shall Overcome (earlier versions by Pete Seeger & others)
Play it: Bruce Springsteen's 2005 Tour Walk-In Music

On Bruce Springsteen's tour last year he had a 14-disc mix of 'Walk-in' music which read like a history of American music (Play it.) Traditional early folk music rubbing elbows with more current acts like Neko Case and Sleater-Kinney. So it shouldn't be a surprise that he's taken traditional folk music that legendary Pete Seeger loved and played, and applied it to today.

We Shall Overcome is a collection of songs that Seeger played throughout his career: work songs, spirituals, narratives, and protest songs. Collectively, one could assume their inclusion here would match some of what Springsteen sees in America politically, but before you roll your eyes, it doesn't play as serious as that. While Seeger's versions were simply guitar and vocals, laid bare, this serves as only a starting point for Springsteen to raise them up with Americana instrumentation, often reaching the point where you swear someone might yell a joyous "hallelujah" at the top of their lungs at any moment.

Springsteen has obviously always had an appreciation for folk music, but it really took him singing other folks' songs to make more of an impact on me, I must admit. In a profile of Pete Seeger in last week's New Yorker, Springsteen said that he saw folk songs as "righteous implements" and everything he needed seemed to be there, and with the ragged and joyous We Shall Overcome it's given us what the people of this country needs - some historical consciousness.

More:
A Boss Nod to Seeger (NPR today)
Why Pete Seeger is one hot octogenarian (Scripps-Howard)

Previously:
Springsteen's 'Walk in' Music

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4 comments:

drake leLane said...

Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome The Seeger Sessions

1. Old Dan Tucker
2. Jesse James
3. Mrs. McGrath
4. O Mary Don't You Weep
5. John Henry
6. Erie Canal
7. Jacob's Ladder
8. My Oklahoma Home
9. Eyes On The Prize
10. Shenandoah
11. Pay Me My Money Down
12. We Shall Overcome
13. Froggie Went a Courtin'

drake leLane said...

We Shall Overcome - Seeger/Various

* "Old Dan Tucker" - Louisiana Honey Drippers
* "Jesse James" - Pete Seeger
* "Mrs. McGrath" - Pete Seeger
* "Mary Don't You Weep" - Leadbelly
* "John Henry" - Pete Seeger
* "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" - Pete Seeger
* "Jacob's Ladder" - The Staple Singers
* "My Oklahoma Home Blowed Away" - Pete Seeger
* "Keep Your Eyes On The Prize" - Pete Seeger
* "Oh Shenandoah" - Pete Seeger
* "Pay Me My Money Down" - The Kingston Trio
* "We Shall Overcome" - Pete Seeger
* "Froggie Went A Courtin'" - Bob Dylan

drake leLane said...

Bruce Springsteen 'Walk In' Music

* "Old Corn Liquor" - Joe Thompson
* "Working On A Building" - The Johnston Mountain Boys
* "Did You Hear John Hurt?" - Dave Van Ronk
* "Texas Cowboy" - Glenn Ohrlin
* "Ghost Of A Girl" - The Bluerunners
* "Strange Man" - Dorothy Love Coates
* "Long Journey Home" - J.D. Crowe & The New South
* "El Ahualulco" - Los Pregoneros Del Puerto
* "Oh Death" - Tarbox Ramblers
* "My Rock" - Swan Silvertones
* "You Can't Hold On To A Love's That Gone" - The Holmes Brothers
* "Just One Kiss" - Beau Jocque And The Zydeco Hi-Rollers
* "Chez Seychelles" - Beausoleil
* "Play A Train Song" - Todd Snider
* "Blood In My Eyes" - Bob Dylan
* "Voodoomens And Voodoo Dolls" - The Bluerunners
* "Cotton Fields" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
* "Diamond Joe" - Bob Dylan
* "Hard Travelin'" - Woody Guthrie
* "Tom Dooley" - Doc Watson
* "People Get Ready" - The Chambers Brothers
* "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair" - Roger McGuinn
* "Candy Man" - Mississippi John Hurt
* "Joe Hill" - Paul Robeson
* "Roll On Buddy" - Ramblin' Jack Elliott
* "Big Head" - The Bluerunners
* "Bridging The Gap" - Nas
* "Hard Times Come Again No More" - Mavis Staples
* "Beautiful Dreamer" - Raul Malo
* "Autumn Waltz" - Henry Kaiser
* "It Ain't Me Babe" - Joan Baez
* "Mississippi" - Bob Dylan
* "My Ride's Here" - Warren Zevon
* "Queen Of The Underworld" - Jesse Malin
* "Ourselves To Know" - Warren Zevon
* "Nightswimming" - R.E.M.
* "Living With The Law" - Chris Whitley
* "Alone Again Or" - Love
* "Long Black Veil" - The Band
* "Million Dollar Bash" - Bob Dylan
* "Sloop John B" - The Beach Boys
* "Linda Paloma" - Jackson Browne
* "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" - The Byrds
* "Portland, Oregon" - Loretta Lynn
* "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)" - Kris Kristofferson
* "Sweet Thing" - Van Morrison
* "Summer of Drugs" - Victoria Williams
* "Valerie" - Linda Ronstadt/Emmylou Harris
* "Lonesome Day Blues" - Bob Dylan
* "Big Sky Country" - Chris Whitley
* "Oil In My Lamp" - The Byrds
* "Me And Bobby McGee" - Kris Kristofferson
* "Movin' On Up" - Primal Scream
* "Lebanon, Tennessee" - Ron Sexsmith
* "The Dark End Of The Street" - Percy Sledge
* "Time Will Tell" - Jimmy Cliff
* "This Is England" - The Clash
* "Saint Valentine" - Joe Ely
* "Touch The Hem Of His Garment" - Sam Cooke
* "Everybody Knows" - Leonard Cohen
* "Sufferin' In The Land" - Jimmy Cliff
* "Dirty Old Town" - The Pogues
* "She Cries Your Name" - Beth Orton
* "Chestnut Mare" - The Byrds
* "New York City Song" - Dion and the Belmonts
* "Ranches And Rivers" - Joe Ely
* "Just For You" - Sam Cooke
* "Life's Little Ups And Downs" - Charlie Rich
* "Take Out Some Insurance" - Jimmy Reed
* "Straight Lines" - Wood
* "Stay You" - Wood
* "Sea of Cortez" - Green On Red
* "Static On The Radio" - Jim White
* "Hard Drive" - Evan Dando
* "Oughta Go Around" - Hamell On Trial
* "Sin City" - Flying Burrito Brothers
* "Ventura" - Lucinda Williams
* "Anselma" - Los Lobos
* "Barrier Reef" - Old 97's
* "Feed Kill Chain" - Jay Farrar
* "Things" - John Cale
* "When You Gonna Wake Up" - Lee Williams & The Cymbals...
* "Hardin Wouldn't Run" - Steve Earle
* "Death Is The Easy Way" - My Morning Jacket
* "99 To Life" - Social Distortion
* "Hung My Head" - Johnny Cash
* "Prisoner Of" - Charlemagne
* "Love Of The Common People" - Nicky Thomas
* "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight" - Whiskeytown
* "Jump Me One More Time" - John Lee Hooker
* "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking" - Bob Dylan
* "Hollywood Bed " - The Blasters
* "When He Returns" - Rance Allen
* "Heaven's Wall" - The Devlins
* "Carmina Burana Fantasy" - Sandy Bull
* "Better Times Are Coming" - Kate and Anna McGarrigle
* "Too Much Monkey Business" - Chuck Berry
* "Train from Kansas City" - Neko Case
* "Why" - David Baerwald
* "Girl From The North Country" - Rod Stewart
* "River Of Love" - T-Bone Burnett
* "Soulful Shade of Blue" - Neko Case
* "This Little Light" - Neko Case
* "Poor Man's House" - Maura O'Connell
* "The Crash" - David Baerwald
* "The World Is Going Wrong" - Mississippi Sheiks
* "Poor Boy Working Blues" - Doyle Lawson
* "Somebody Knocking" - Robert Plant And The Strange Sensation
* "Clay Pigeons" - John Prine
* "The Rock Of My Soul" - Rodney Crowell
* "St. James Infirmary" - Louis Armstrong
* "Was My Brother In The Battle" - Kate and Anna McGarrigle
* "Oh Death" - Ralph Stanley & The Clinch...
* "My Lady Story" - Antony and the Johnsons
* "The Tigers Have Spoken" - Neko Case
* "Lost Highway" - Hank Williams
* "Barstow" - Jay Farrar
* "Annabelle Lee" - T-Bone Burnett
* "Fixin' To Die Blues" - Bukka White
* "Run, Mourner, Run" - Sweet Honey in the Rock
* "Come On In My Kitchen" - Robert Johnson
* "Hard Times Come Again No More" - Kate and Anna McGarrigle
* "Marie Laveau" - Bobby Bare
* "Ramshackle Day Parade" - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
* "Jesus On The Mainline" - Ry Cooder
* "I Am A Pilgrim" - The Byrds
* "I Got To Find My Baby" - Chuck Berry
* "Coma Girl" - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
* "Pretty Polly" - The Byrds
* "The Streets Of Baltimore" - Bobby Bare
* "Hickory Wind" - The Byrds
* "There Ain't A Tune" - Cowboy Jack Clement
* "Honky Tonk Song" - George Jones
* "The Drunkard's Hell" - The Stanley Brothers
* "The Christian Life" - The Byrds
* "Guess Things Happen That Way" - Cowboy Jack Clement

matt said...

might I also suggest "girl in the war" by Josh Ritter? He's really an excellent performer. check it out!

http://www.joshritter.com/music.shtml