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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, R.I.P.

One of the great Americans of the past eighty years has died at the age of 94 in New York.  See my tribute at The Nation.   I'll add that I never did meet Pete but I did board his famous environmental crusading sloop Clearwater--we both lived virtually on the Hudson, though he was a few miles upstream--and, of course, saw him perform at numerous protests, including in D.C. in the late 1960s.  Always enjoyed his stories about traveling with Woody Guthrie before Woody's illness struck.

As a youth I recall the controversy when he was banned from the popular ABC TV series Hootenanny in the early 1960s--as I recall Joan Baez then said she would no longer go on the show herself.   But a few years later he was allowed to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Smothers Brothers, with LBJ as the "the big fool" who wanted to "push on."  Of course, there is much more to reflect on, right up to Springsteen's recent tributes and Pete marching for Occupy Wall Street.  But for now, Big Muddy and below that--a personal favorite, of course--his updated version of the "Ode to Joy."   --G.M.

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