Random Records with Steve O- Pete Seeger's We Shall Overcome

Steve O - February 10, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

So I found out Pete Seeger died, at 94, in quite a shitty way. I made a rare trip onto Facebook, to send a friend a couple questions for my thesis. The first thing I see? A Pete Seeger memorial post that Davey made. I found out that Lou Reed died in a similar way. Now you know why I rarely ever go on Facebook.

Anyways… Pete Seeger was a phenomenal musician who had some wonderful things to say. There is nothing that I’ll write here that is better than the memorial Davey has written. So let’s talk about Seeger’s 1963 live album, We Shall Overcome, recorded live at Carnegie Hall.

“We Shall Overcome” is perhaps Seeger’s most famous song, widely known for its adoption by the Civil Rights Movement. Obviously it is featured on this record, with Seeger leading the sing-alongs. The record includes 39 other songs, including covers of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Bob Dylan. What I find interesting about this is it bridges the generations. Guthrie and Lead Belly represent that earlier folk music tradition, Bob Dylan was the face of its renaissance, while Pete Seeger brought them both together. Living to be 94, he brought folk music to a lot of people, some of whom might not even be aware of it.

I couldn’t find the whole thing online, but here is the vinyl version, which only included 13 of 40 songs.