A Tribute to Pete Seeger

I first saw Pete Seeger at St Pancras Town Hall Theatre on October 4th 1959. I was already a folk music enthusiast, but this performance by Pete totally locked me on. Seeger the catalyst, Seeger the idealist, Seeger the friend, has surely been the inspiration for many performers. To me he is the Godfather of Folk Music . Perhaps the biggest thrill in my career was travelling across the Atlantic in April 1995 to do just one concert with the man. Now I had always intended to write a song about him, preferably before one of us died, and never quite got around to it. Then, in March 1996 I returned from another tour in the USA with a deep vein thrombosis in the right leg. Apparently, I had spent the last 9 days of the American trip humping through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware unaware of just how ill I was. Upon my arrival back in Britain I was rushed immediately into hospital whereupon it was discovered that the blood clot was on the move around my body. My deep vein thrombosis had turned into a pulmonary embolism. I suddenly realised that if my "Pete Seeger" song was ever to be written, now was the time. This is the result and I'm delighted to be able to sing it to you.


Do you remember those days in the thirties, when you wandered the country alone?

A young and self exiled traveller, searching perhaps for a home,

In your wildest of dreams, such extravagant schemes,

Must have seemed a light year away,

But banjo in hand, you travelled the land,

And you dreamt of a far better day.


And was it fun in the forties, with Woody and Millard and Lee,

As you sang for the freedom of workers, in an Almanac fraternity,

As you made up the rhyme, wasn't that a time,

To be watching those at your back,

But damn it instead, you were looking ahead,

And with your wife by your side you attacked.


As a Weaver of song in the fifties, you spread a great warmth through the land,

But equality and friendship world over was not what your government planned,

For McCarthy was there, and a chill filled the air,

As they pointed the finger of blame,

But through it all, together with Paul,

You sang and you both overcame.


And what did you make of the sixties, Presidents in the Muddy waste deep,

And the crimes that your country committed, all the lives that were lost, did you weep?,

And so proudly you sang, anti-Vietnam,

Whilst the wounded came home from the war,

They called you a traitor, a red agitator,

Whilst you and a few asked "What for?"


So you spent most your life swimming upstream, fighting odds stacked as high as a wall,

Whilst some claimed amendments around you, you stood as you sang, straight and tall,

And whilst some people dithered, you built boats and cleaned rivers,

Spoke out when others were scared,

And your obituary, it must surely be,

Thank The Lord, thank The Lord, that he cared.


© Joe Stead - Fore Lane Music - March 1995

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