Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This Land Is Your Land

This is a photo of 89 year old Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at the celebrations for the inauguration of Barack Obama as President. They are leading the massive crowds outside the Lincoln Memorial singing Woody Guthrie's greatest-ever song (and my favourite) "This Land Is Your Land". Better still here is the link* (see comment at end) to the You Tube video of this unbelievable inaugural event.

In his book "Woody Guthrie : A Life" Joe Klein describes a left-wing hootenanny in 1946 with "a thousand people singing This Land Is Your Land in four-part harmony, Pete directing with one arm and plucking his banjo with another". 63 years later he now performs a similar role at the highest level in America. I doubt whether it comes as any surprise to Pete who has always been a political optimist. He probably expected that it would have happened long ago. But he teaches us never to give up on our dreams.

In 1997 Bruce Springsteen recorded "We Shall Overcome" for Where Have All The Flowers Gone : The Songs Of Pete Seeger and in 2006 he came out with a CD and DVD which was entitled "We Shall Overcome : The Seeger Sessions" with what became known as the Sessions Band. They then toured Britain and Ireland with a programme built upon their 2006 production and published another CD/DVD set entitled "Live In Dublin" . It is not to be missed.

There could be nothing better than a Woody Guthrie. Pete Seeger and
Bruce Springsteen harmony to usher in (and direct) the hopes placed in Barack Obama.

Hat Tip : Bob Piper

* = Update 7 February : This link has now been removed, seemingly for commercial reasons. So "This Land Isn't Yet Your Land", but it could be some day.

Update 16 February : Restored - THIS LINK IS OUR LINK


jams o donnell said...

I must admit I didn't realise that Pete Seeger was still with us. A superb choice. It's heartening too that there is a third generation of singing Guthries too!

Harry Barnes said...

It is also good to see that Bruce Springsteen has (in part) done a Bob Dylan in reverse. In his 1966 Tour, Dylan did a two part show. In part one he performed solo with his recognised works, then in part two the Hawks played her voltage electric music with him. This is when the famous "judas" shout went up at the Manchester Free Hall. I saw the same presentation in Sheffield in 1966. The analogy (in reverse) with Springsteen is that he has done "political" material recently.

Harry Barnes said...

In the above comment, the "her" after "Hawks played" should read "high".