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Peggy Quotes

The muse who inspired Ewan MacColl's 'First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' has produced a body of work that is unparalleled in its vehemence and remains a fountain of inspiration in a sea of bogus political correctness. - Ken Hunt, Q Magazine

Peggy Quotes 2

The collaboration of a septuagenarian American folk music legend and a British experimental dance music producer may be highly improbable, but folk grande dame Peggy Seeger and Broadcaster have pulled off a genre-defying album full of hypnotic and hook-laden delights.
- Anon

 

Heading for Home Reviews

PEGGY SEEGER/Heading for Home

Perhaps the June Carter of English folk music, Seeger goes back to her roots, without hocking about being an engineer, and delivers a folk look back at songs she's loved singing for years. Much like Carter's "Press On", Seeger gathers kin around for the making of this heartfelt set and delivers the kind of set that will make traditional folk fans forget about "Mighty Wind" and reclaim their sound. Tasty, tasteful and loaded with kind of vibe you don't always come across. A winner.

Chris Spector Midwest Record Recap
830 W. Main St. #144 Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
APR 1076

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Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine
Spring, 2004, by Matt Watroba
Appleseed 1076

Peggy Seeger Heading for Home


Although only Peggy is billed, this is actually a family recording. But, not your typical family recording, as the Seeger-MacColls are not your typical musical family.

The music on Peggy Seeger's Heading for Home has its genesis in the early part of the last century. Raised by classical musicians and folk music enthusiasts, Peggy has been surrounded by a great variety of sounds her whole life. Her marriage to Ewan MacColl and the many years she spent living in England add another unique dimension to her take on those traditional songs that ended up on this joyous new release.

Peggy Seeger rented a cottage in England, set up a recording studio, and invited her family in to celebrate the music and songs that have been a part of her since she was a child.

Heading for Home opens with the title cut, penned by Seeger and perfectly appropriate for the spirit of the remaining twelve, mostly traditional songs. With solid support from her children, Calum MacColl on melodica, harmonium, bowed psaltery and vocals, Neill MacColl on mandola, guitar, harmonica and vocals, and Kitty MacColl adding vocals, Peggy sings and plays banjo (better than ever, by the way) mountain dulcimer, Autoharp and guitar. The result is a magical mixture of tradition, family and song.

The relaxed atmosphere of this home studio away from home comes through on every track. I can only imagine Peggy Seeger, surrounded by her talented family, singing songs that have been with her for over sixty years, grinning ear to ear. It's easy to imagine because you will have a similar grin while you listen.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Sing Out Corporation

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FROM PAUL STAMLER "NO TIME TO TARRY"
Paul Stamler
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 00:22:29 -0600
From: Paul Stamler
Subject: Playlist "No Time to Tarry Here" 1/11/04
"No Time to Tarry Here" airs 2-4 pm central standard time
(2000-2200 GMT) on KDHX-St. Louis, 88.1 FM, and over the net at www.kdhx.org


After reporting on his playlist that he'd played Peggy Seeger: "Soldier's Farewell" ("Heading for Home", Appleseed), Paul Stamler commented: I'll eventually play everything on this cd; there's not a weak track on it.

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Rich Warren's Midnight Special Favorites for 2003
Peggy Seeger: Heading For Home (Appleseed APRCD 1076)

You might say Peggy is an artist who needs no introduction. Yet, here she revisits many traditional songs from her vast repertoire with finer voice and deeper appreciation than any of her previous recordings. She can make a traditional song sound timeless, yet as current as if written yesterday. She also includes one moving, bittersweet original song about growing old. This is the recording you want to play for a younger singer and say: "This is the way traditional music remains alive."
Rich Warren
The Midnight Special & Folkstage
WFMT Radio - 98.7 FM (www.midnightspecial.org)
5400 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625

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Dirty Linen
November 2003 issue
Review of Homeward Bound by Annette C. Eshleman


My face to the sky
my back to the wind
winter is entering my bones.
The day has been long
and night's drawing in
and I'm thinking of heading for home
and I'm thinking of heading for home…
— from “Heading for Home”

There are names that are synonymous with folk music; Guthrie and Lomax come quickly to mind. Seeger is another such name. Its mere mention conjures a mental laundry list of talented, politically active, musical personalities who are woven into the fabric of American folk music. Seeger family members have been studying — and making — folk music history for more than seven decades.

Charles Louis Seeger was a music professor and noted ethnomusicologist. While working at the University of California during the 1920s and 30s, he invented an electronic medium for notating music called the melograph. He was married, with three sons (Charles, John, and Peter), when he first met Ruth Crawford. She was his student — a brilliantly talented classical pianist and composer and the first woman ever to win the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for Music. Crawford's studies took her to Europe for two years. She became one of the United States' most esteemed female composers, and her avant-garde works are still highly regarded.

Seeger and Crawford later married and settled in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., to raise their family, which eventually grew to include four additional children. It was into this environment that Peggy Seeger was born in 1935. Her musical education began early, and at age six she was playing both piano and guitar. By 11, she could transcribe musical notation.

Crawford-Seeger had become a professional piano teacher and was one of young Peggy's most valuable critics. “She taught me music as much as she could, but when I was 12 or 13 she put me to other music teachers. By that time, she had taught me a huge amount about harmony and about improvisation on the piano. She allowed me to do what I wanted. I was a very good pianist, but she didn't push me,” Seeger remembered gratefully. “She just opened me up as a musician. She fed whatever I needed, until that time when I started going out to other music teachers.”

Early on, Crawford-Seeger instilled in her children a passion, excitement, and respect for folk music. “I think folk music humbled her. She was proud,” Seeger recalled of her mother. “The creativity of the so-called 'unlettered folk,' the people who couldn't read music, who didn't know a bar line from a staff line… and yet they were making superb music. That did definitely, absolutely astound her. She was really excited by folk music. She loved it! And for a classical musician… that's going some.”

Though Seeger deeply appreciates her mother's musical instruction, she expresses regret at their distant relationship. “I wasn't close to my mother. My mother had a bit of trouble with communicating with her children once they were over about the age of 8 or 9,” she said. “I don't think it was antagonistic in any way. It's that she wanted babies… She didn't know how to be close to children who had become people.”

Seeger continued her education at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she majored in music. She left home not knowing how seriously ill her mother was, until a phone call months later summoned her to return. Crawford-Seeger died of cancer at the age of 52; her daughter was just 18. The deep sense of loss Seeger felt then remains evident today. “I wish I had been closer,” she lamented.

Seeger soon embarked on a series of travel and study trips abroad. It was during one of these trips, in 1956, that she first met Ewan MacColl in London. Twenty years older than she, MacColl claimed to have fallen in love with Seeger at first sight. Three years later their first son was born. Seeger became a British subject and settled in England with MacColl.

Ewan MacColl was already an established singer and dramatist when he and Seeger met. As a team, they took folk music to places it hadn't been before. They released countless albums (together and separately), wrote for film, radio, and television, and produced an annual political theater show. “It was a very productive life,” Seeger said of her years with MacColl.

Among the most celebrated of MacColl and Seeger's joint ventures was a series of BBC radio documentaries called “The Radio Ballads” (with production and editing by Charles Parker). Each year, from 1957 to 1964, a new program was put forth incorporating interview, commentary, and song. Topics ranged from railway tragedy, to coal mining, to the fishing industry.

The innovative techniques that were developed during the making of “The Radio Ballads” set a new standard for radio documentary. The programs were made prior to the advent of multi-track recording, personal computers, or music sampling. MacColl, Seeger, and Parker often went into the field with tape recorders to capture the sounds, sound effects, or voices that they needed. Forty or more hours of tape were sometimes recorded to produce just one program. In a dissertation on the subject, MacColl himself recalled the meticulous splicing of bits of tape to produce the desired result.

One of MacColl's best known and most popular songs is “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which he wrote for Seeger in 1963. Pop music fans will recognize it immediately as the hit from Roberta Flack's debut album First Take. In 1972 “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” netted Grammy awards for both Flack and MacColl, as the song's performer and composer, respectively. Seeger, too, has recorded it several times.

This is an excerpt from an article in Dirty Linen #108 (Oct/Nov '03). Read the full text in the magazine, available via subscription or on newsstands and in bookstores.

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