Saturday, May 02, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday, Pete!

An amazing birthday concert is scheduled in New York City tomorrow for folksinger's folksinger, Pete Seeger, but I like the celebration page his local newspaper's Web site has posted up the Hudson a bit from Madison Square Garden:

Times Herald-Record - Pete Seeger Birthday

(Update: NY Daily News covers the show in words and pictures; The New York Times review of the show. More from NPR.)

Meanwhile, here in Virginia, I hear there's a hootenanny -- yes, a hootenanny -- in Richmond.

Now that's a word I haven't seen in the headlines in a LONG time -- one that Pete helped popularize. Ironically, he was blacklisted from the pop/commercial TV show by that name, during what he and others have called the "great folk scare of the sixties."

Pete eventually had his own show -- on PBS, some of which is now around YouTube, if you look for "Rainbow Quest," including interview jam sessions with some folks I never knew were captured on video, and this wonderful duet on one of Pete's songs, with him backing up Judy Collins, who also celebrated a hard-to-believe birthday this weekend. Speaking of Judy, she and the Smothers Brothers were on that original Hootenanny show at times, and both Judy -- and Pete, in a blacklist breakthrough -- were eventually on the Brothers own show. (And now everybody is on YouTube!)

(Disclaimer: OK, I'll admit it. Those folks, that hootenanny thing, and its less commercial echoes in the seventies (especially at this place and that place and other places) left me with a bunch of guitars, ukuleles, mandolins and, yes, banjos that I even play a little.)