At 89 Pete Seeger Appleseed/ Shock
IT seems to make sense when Pete Seeger plunges into False From True : ‘‘ When my songs turn to ashes on my tongue/ When I look in the mirror and see I’m no longer young’’. It’s only when he gets to the line ‘‘ No song I can sing will make Governor Wallace change his mind’’ that you realise these verses date back 40 years, when Seeger was already venerated as the folk movement’s father figure. Now in his 90th year, he continues to sing out, albeit increasingly with the aid of friends, relatives and Hudson Valley community choirs. Many of them feature on this disc, which is closer to a field recording than a studio album. The 33 songs, instrumental fragments, anecdotes and homilies, old and new, straddle the breadth of Seeger’s concerns, from war to environmental degradation, making up an incomplete but compelling portrait of an extraordinary American musician who, having lived through most of the 20th century, gazes forward at the 22nd with an affecting mixture of hope and trepidation.