On this two-disc, 37-track set the various highlights of the label's ten-year history are recapped, along with nine brand new exclusive tracks which appear for the very first time here.
The CD is divided into two unique discs. The first of these, subtitled "And Justice For All," focuses on the songs with the most overtly political messages — many of them dealing with current issues like the Iraq War, and meditations on life in the post 9/11 world. As I said, Pete Seeger is quite prominent here. Among the highlights featuring Seeger are a performance of "Bring Em' Home," that also features Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, and Anne Hills.
Seeger also contributes several of the brand new recordings here, including a starkly intoned "Walking Down Death Row." But even lefty folk icons have a sense of humor, as Seeger shows on "The Ross Perot (George Bush) Guide to Answering Embarrasing Questions" (which could be sub-titled "I Lied").
Most notable however, is the inclusion of Seeger's first actual duet with Bruce Springsteen on the latter's "The Ghost Of Tom Joad." On this version of the title track from Springsteen's mid-nineties acoustic album, Seeger intones the words as more of a stark poem, while Springsteen sings them in a version that is just a notch more upbeat than the one found on the original Joad album.
Other highlights here include a new version of Donovan's "Universal Soldier"; a duet between Jackson Browne and Joan Baez on "Guantanamera"; and even actor Tim Robbins reprising his Bob Roberts role on Seeger's "All My Children Of The Sun."
Where Sowing The Seeds first disc shoots straight for the politically charged songs, the second disc here, subtitled "Love, Hope, and Appleseed" goes for the more common themes of simpler things like love, hope, and faith. Some of the melodies here are quite beautiful, and the stories told in the words of songs like Tommy Sands duet with — you guessed it — Pete Seeger on "Music Of Healing," are rich in lyrical imagery.
Iconoclastic Canadian folkie Bruce Cockburn offers up a slightly darker take on The Byrds classic "Turn, Turn, Turn." Speaking of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn has a nice duet with Seeger and Josh White Jr. here on "Dink's Song." British folkie Al Stewart, himself a master storyteller, gives one of the more surprisingly rocking performances here with his own "Gina In The Kings Road." Donovan makes his second appearance on this compilation with a modern uptake on his trippy sixties flower power anthems on "Yin My Yang." Lou Reed joins Eric Andersen for Andersen's "You Can't Relive The Past."