Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest (1965–66) – TV series devoted to folk music [Watch Full Episodes]

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Pete Seeger, 1986

 

Rainbow Quest, perhaps not surprisingly, comes across as something like anti-TV TV, more about sitting back and letting Seeger and the visiting musicians take their own time to sing what they’ve got to sing and say what they’ve got to say than working too hard to maintain viewer interest, its awkwardly unplanned atmosphere both clunky and charming. Seeger seems to trust the viewers, in the same way he recognises that TV’s priorities don’t represent the priorities of the people he meets in his travels.

He speaks to the camera in that same natural, some might say dull, conversational tone that he uses in his concerts, simultaneously mundane and insightful. There’s something of ‘Mr Rogers’ in the experience: an attempt at a personal warmth through the cold screen; Rainbow Quest can seem like watching a children’s show that somehow bypasses all the boundaries between child and adult. Seeger is still one of the few great artists who seems more concerned about involving the audience in a sing-along than giving a distanced untouchable performance: a sharing of the music, in the best folk tradition.”

Kit McFarlane @ Pop Matters

Watch some full episodes of Seeger’s Rainbow Quest:







Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown” interpreted by Nina Simone & Rise Against

Ballad Of Hollis Brown
by Bob Dylan (1963)

Hollis Brown
He lived on the outside of town (2x)
With his wife and five children
And his cabin fallin’ down

You looked for work and money
And you walked a rugged mile (2x)
Your children are so hungry
That they don’t know how to smile

Your baby’s eyes look crazy
They’re a-tuggin’ at your sleeve (2x)
You walk the floor and wonder why
With every breath you breathe

The rats have got your flour
Bad blood it got your mare (2x)
If there’s anyone that knows,
Is there anyone that cares?

You prayed to the Lord above
Oh please send you a friend (2x)
Your empty pockets tell you
That you ain’t got no friend

Your babies are crying louder
It’s pounding on your brain (2x)
Your wife’s screams are stabbin’ you
Like the dirty drivin’ rain

Your grass it is turning black
There’s no water in your well (2x)
You spent your last lone dollar
On seven shotgun shells

Way out in the wilderness
A cold coyote calls (2x)
Your eyes fix on the shotgun
That’s hangin’ on the wall

Your brain is a-bleedin’
And your legs can’t seem to stand (2x)
Your eyes fix on the shotgun
That you’re holdin’ in your hand

There’s seven breezes a-blowin’
All around the cabin door (2x)
Seven shots ring out
Like the ocean’s pounding roar.

There’s seven people dead
On a South Dakota farm (2x)
Somewhere in the distance
There’s seven new people born.

Homage to Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

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“Perhaps no single person in the 20th century did more to preserve, broadcast, and redistribute folk music than Pete Seeger, whose passion for politics, the environment, and humanity earned him both ardent fans and vocal enemies ever since he first began performing in the late ’30s. His battle against injustice led to his being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, celebrated during the turbulent ’60s, and welcomed at union rallies throughout his life. His tireless efforts regarding global concerns such as environmentalism, population growth, and racial equality earned him the respect and friendship of such political heroes as Martin Luther King, Jr., Woody Guthrie, and Cesar Chavez, and the generations of children who first learned to sing and clap to Seeger’s Folkways recordings must number in the millions. Rising above all of Seeger’s political ideals and his passion for authentic folk music was his clear voice and chiming banjo, both of which sang out with a clarity that rang true.” – Keep on reading Pete Seeger’s biography at AMG All Music Guide

As homage to this departed legend of folk music and social activism, here’s The Weavers concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1955 (full album):

Screenshot 2014-03-04 20.43.58You might also like:

ROBERT JOHNSON: A mythic figure of the Blues (Listen to his Complete Recs and covers by Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Howlin Wolf, Cream, R.L. Burnside, Gil Scott-Heron and others…)

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Artist Biography by Cub Koda

If the blues has a truly mythic figure, one whose story hangs over the music the way a Charlie Parker does over jazz or a Hank Williams does over country, it’s Robert Johnson, certainly the most celebrated figure in the history of the blues. Of course, his legend is immensely fortified by the fact that Johnson also left behind a small legacy of recordings that are considered the emotional apex of the music itself. These recordings have not only entered the realm of blues standards (“Love in Vain,” “Crossroads,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Stop Breaking Down”), but were adapted by rock & roll artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Steve Miller, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton. While there are historical naysayers who would be more comfortable downplaying his skills and achievements (most of whom have never made a convincing case as where the source of his apocalyptic visions emanates from), Robert Johnson remains a potent force to be reckoned with. As a singer, a composer, and as a guitarist of considerable skills, he produced some of the genre’s best music and the ultimate blues legend to deal with. Doomed, haunted, driven by demons, a tormented genius dead at an early age, all of these add up to making him a character of mythology who — if he hadn’t actually existed — would have to be created by some biographer’s overactive romantic imagination.

The legend of his life — which by now, even folks who don’t know anything about the blues can cite to you chapter and verse — goes something like this: Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery’s plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar from Johnson, tuned it, and handed it back to him. Within less than a year’s time, in exchange for his everlasting soul,Robert Johnson became the king of the Delta blues singers, able to play, sing, and create the greatest blues anyone had ever heard.

As success came with live performances and phonograph recordings, Johnson remained tormented, constantly haunted by nightmares of hellhounds on his trail, his pain and mental anguish finding release only in the writing and performing of his music. Just as he was to be brought to Carnegie Hall to perform in John Hammond’s first Spirituals to Swing concert, the news had come from Mississippi; Robert Johnson was dead, poisoned by a jealous girlfriend while playing a jook joint. Those who were there swear he was last seen alive foaming at the mouth, crawling around on all fours, hissing and snapping at onlookers like a mad dog. His dying words (either spoken or written on a piece of scrap paper) were, “I pray that my redeemer will come and take me from my grave.” He was buried in a pine box in an unmarked grave, his deal with the Devil at an end. – KEEP ON READIN AT AMG ALL MUSIC GUIDE

Robert Johnson’s blues played by other stunning artists:

 

WOMEN singing the BLUES: a mixtape to honour the birthday of Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

The phenomenal human-hurricane Janis Joplin was born 71 years ago, and as a tribute to her music here’s a mixtape that starts with her awesome song “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder”. In this digital music-box shared above, Janis is joined with lots of great female voices singing the blues: Bessie Smith, “After You’ve Gone”; Big Mama Thornton, “Willie Mae’s Trouble”; Nina Simone, “I Wish I Knew How It Felt to be Free”; Susan Tedeschi, “It Hurt So Bad”; Aretha Franklin, “The Thrill is Gone”; Beth Gibbons of Portishead, “Numb”; Eleni Mandell, “Moonglow, Lamp Low”; Lisa Germano, “Red Thread”; and Os Mutantes (With Rita Lee), “Meu Refrigerador Não Funciona”. Enjoy the ride! And trip on with some of Janis’ classics: