There must be some good longevity genes in the Seeger family as Peggy (age 76)and half-brother Pete (92) are still going strong despite their advancing years. Brother Mike passed away several years ago at the age of 75.
Peggy Seeger may not be as well-known as Pete, but she has been just as dedicated to social causes and traditional folk music as he. Her 1955 trip to communist China resulted in her passport being withdrawn by the United States State Department. She spent the next 25 years of her life living in the U.K. married to British folksinger and socialist Ewan MacColl, who was a kindred spirit.
Her latest album release, Peggy Seeger Live, was recorded on stage In New Zealand. The concert was for the benefit of the of The Nelson Woman’s Centre, which was damaged by arson. Enter Peggy Seeger who has been a longtime advocate of woman’s rights and a perfect spokesperson to contribute to the resurrection of the damaged building.
The CD’s 23 tracks are divided between American folk songs, a number of original compositions, and some witty and biting spoken word interludes and poems. This is only the second live album of her 55 year career and finds her voice aging gracefully. The same cannot be said for her music and poetry, as she is still in the forefront of taking no prisoners with her biting commentary and social positions.
The best of the traditional folk material was “I’ve Been A Bad Bad Girl,” which was a cover of a tune recorded by Alan Lomax by a Florida prison inmate during 1926. A bouncy “Mountaineer’s Courtship,” a medley of “Sally Goodin/Sourwood Mountain,” and the old children’s ballad, “Fatal Flower Garden” are also well worth a listen.
She has also always been an imaginative songwriter. “Missing” was about the disappearance of people in Chile after Salvador Allende’s takeover during the early 70s. One of her signature songs, “I’m Gonna Be An Engineer,” and the previously unreleased “Everything Changes,” which was written for her mother, make their live debuts
It is her wry comments and poetry that connect the songs and give the concert a warm and personal appeal that reflect her views and character best. Some of her comments will never receive airplay such as “Give ‘Em An Inch” and particularly “Eagle And Condom.”
In many ways she is a throwback to the voices of a by-gone era that would not be silenced. She is currently on what she calls her final U.S. tour. Peggy Seeger Live is an excellent look into the life and music of an artist, whose type and style are quickly disappearing.