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Peggy Quotes

Her success lies largely with her ability to work and write within traditional modes. Many of these songs sound as though they have been around over the centuries. - Ira Mayer, New York Times

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

 

Three Score and Ten Reviews

Click here for Three Score and Ten Concert Reviews

THREE SCORE AND TEN REVIEWS

 

Three Score and Ten, Peggy Seeger, with family and friends

(Appleseed APR CD 1100)


The Chicago broadcaster and writer Studs Terkel wrote in the mid nineties that true wisdom is not obtained until three score and ten or 70 years of age. Many who have heard Peggy Seeger and remember her work with the Metalworkers Union in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s with her partner the late Ewan McColl would argue that she was pretty wise before this age.

This album reveals Seeger at her very best, showcasing her considerable song writing ability and musicianship, with her political songs - If You Want a Better Life (with Billy Bragg), the somewhat mournful Che Guevara, Sing About Those Hard Times, Different Therefore Equal, Cavemen and Gonna Be an Engineer coming to the fore.

Similarly, personal (and political?) songs such as Darling Annie (with Billy Bragg), My Mother is Younger than Me, Careless Love and Love Call Me Home are delivered with aplomb. In particular, Seeger displays great openness, as she delivers a poem for the late Ewan McColl, followed by the song he wrote on meeting and falling in love with her- First Time Ever I Saw You Face, which Roberta Flack had a big hit with in the early seventies. This is followed by a spoken word tribute to her current partner, I am Ill with Love.

Other highlights were her duet with the talented Bragg and the collaboration with her brothers, the famous international folksinger Pete Seeger and the lesser known but talented Mike Seeger. Their banter about their early lives in a very musical family is most entertaining. They then sing, with all playing the banjo, a great traditional song from their childhood, Cindy and Pete Seeger songs, including Where have All the Flowers Gone, with the added bonus of enthusiastic audience participation.
(Australian Options is a quarterly journal which aims to challenge the ideas dominating Australian mainstream debate. Each edition includes major articles by activists and progressive thinkers on contemporary political ,social and cultural issues.)

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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

by Mark S. Tucker (progdawg@hotmail.com)

All and sundry may more familiarly know the surname through Pete Seeger, one of her brothers, but Ms. Seeger is a firm foundation in the modern folk movement and well she should be. With the singing voice of a 20-year old, the tone and temperament of a slightly acidic and world-wise 40-year old, and possessing the studied acumen of a 500-year old, the lady enjoyed a warm intimate gathering of friends and family upon the occasion of her 70th birthday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England. Guests included Martin Carthy, Billy Bragg, the aforementioned Pete and other bro Mike, and several others, all recognized celebs in the firmament. The 2-dics set proves to be a delight in more ways than the presence of these worthies.

First off, Seeger's a daunting multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, autoharp, banjo, piano, concertina, and of course singing. However, she doesn't just play, she demonstrates a fluency surprising even for an overachiever on the banjo, and her vocals can be either bird-on-a-wire delicate or gusty, ringing with authority and surprising projection. From the many gritty inferences, one suspects that fools trifle with this woman at their peril. Most of the songs are Seeger's own but she pulls in a few traditionals, including Hangman, which Led Zeppelin popularized in the 70s through a rendition entitled Gallows Pole. Irene Pyper-Scott joins with the star to imbue their duet signing with a hauntingly lyrical quality.

Seeger's definitely an individual and listening to this gathering first evokes smiles at the loose ensemble nature, soon pulling up even more succinctly in a grinning smirk while taking in the vinegar in such songs as Home Sweet Home", decorously offset by the lullabye-ish piano figures. Obviously, Pete's not the only one who's had something to say, but then the whole Seeger family is rather known for its artistic creativity and rebelliousness. Readers may not know it, but the gorgeous The First Ever I Saw Your Face was written by husband Ewan MacColl for Peggy, and she turns in a light-spirited version recalling her love for the composer rather than weighing to the wistfull somberness Roberta Flack made famous.

Pete's brought out to thunderous applause and proceeds through a series of songs and reminiscences, including Where Have All the Flowers Gone?". On only one song, though, unfortunately, do Mark, Pete, and Peggy all play and sing together for the first time ever in a recording, a shame because hearing that trio of banjos is a delight. The BBC thought the whole thing worth recording and did so, thank goodness, as one doesn't hear this sort of confab very often anymore, reminding one of the old Weavers and other tribal gatherings, intersecting between stage performance, pub get-together, and parlor sing-along, not to mention a revivified history lesson.

 

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DIRTY LINEN August-September 2007 By Lahri Bond


American-born folksinger Peggy Seeger first achieved renown in Britain-where she lived and performed more than 30 years with her husband/ singer/songwriter/folklorist/teacher Ewan MacColl. Since his death in 1989, she has lived in the States. In May 2005 she returned to England to celebrate her 70th birthday and gathered together an amazing group of traditional players and singers including members of her own family. Three Score & Ten documents this joyous concert with two CDs full of great songs and special memories.

Seeger is a master musician in her own right, switching easily between guitar, banjo, concertina, piano and autoharp as well as leading or being part of all the evening's vocal chores. She's also a genial and warm master of ceremonies. She began the evening with an American version of "The Hangman," performed solo before filling up the stage with her famous friend. Pretty soon, Eliza Carthy was playing fiddle on the "Fiddling Soldier," while Seeger's sons Neill and Calumn MacColl joined in on "Logan County Jail." Carthy's parents, Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy added their rich voices to "Che Guevara," "Lowlands of Holland" and "Home Sweet Home. " Martin Carthy provided his distinctive guitar to the Humors of Bandon." Also on hand to lend instrumental support were accordionist Graham Henderson and percussionist James McNally. The evening's first set ended with a wonderful duet between Seeger and Billy Bragg on her ode to women's independence, "Darling Annie" before Bragg led the cast through a rousing rendition of the pro-union song "If You Want a Better Life."

The second set opened with some very intimate and personal notes, as Seeger shared her tribute to her late husband, both in "Poem for Ewan" and her rendition of his love song to her "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." She then brought the festivities into the present with the poem ":I Am Ill With Love" and the song "So Long Since I've Been Home" dedicated to her current partner, Irene Pyper Scott, who also contributed vocals and percussion to much of the evening's music. Seeger performed a loving tribute to her late mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, a composer, arranger, pianist teacher and the first woman awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for music.

The concert then turned to other family matters, as brother Mike Seeger came on stage to play old favorites such as "When First Unto This Country," "Soldier's Farewell," and "Quill Ditty." Pete Seeger joined his siblings for the traditional "Cindy," making this the first-ever recording of the three Seegers together. Pete performed a short solo set highlighted by a stunning rendition of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" before Peggy treated the crowd to her signature song, "Gonna Be An Engineer." The evening wrapped up with a lovely rendition of "Careless Love," sung by mothers and daughters Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy and Peggy Seeger and Kitty MacColl, backed by Neill and Calumn MacColl. Encores included Peggy's "Sing About the Hard Times" and "Love Call Me Home" dedicated to her late friend, Christine Lassiter.

 
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Sing Out Summer 2007 

Review by Kari Estrin


This two-CD live concert recording from May 2005 commemorates Peggy’s 70th birthday while painting a wonderful intimate musical portrait of Peggy’s work and life. You’ll get a first-hand snapshot of some of the significant contributions that Peggy (and her late husband Ewan MacColl) made to the world- - musically and socially. Recorded in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, notable friends and family are featured including brothers Pete and Mike Seeger and friends Martin Carthy and Billy Bragg to name just a few.

Although Peggy pays homage to traditional songs and she generously shares the spotlight with her friends and family, it’s Peggy’s own star that shines brightly in the performances of her own material. Peggy’s indefatigable spirit still rouses and inspires us in her feminist anthem form the 70’s “Gonna Be An Engineer” A special treat are Peggy’s spoken word poems , including her striking rendition of “My Mother is Younger than Me” and the moving interplay of the poem she wrote for her husband Ewan and his song to her that most of us know as Roberta Flack’s 1970’s pop hit “ The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Three Score & Ten is a tribute that can’t even begin to illustrate the numerous and important works of this artist/activist, but I hop will motivate those who listen to dig deeper into her history and song.

 

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On May 29, 2005, American folksinger and songwriter Peggy Seeger celebrated her 70th birthday with a landmark concert at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall featuring members of legendary folk music dynasties from both sides of the pond: Peggy's brothers Mike and Pete Seeger (making this the first-ever recording of the three Seegers together); Martin Carthy, his wife Norma Waterson and their daughter Eliza Carthy; Peggy's three children from her marriage to Ewan MacColl (Neill, Calum and Kitty); her longtime partner Irene Pyper-Scott; plus Billy Bragg, Graham Henderson and James McNally. Now the full show ­ including amusing between-song chat and a glorious rendition of "Happy Birthday"­ has been released as a double-CD set. This is a warts-and-all recording that doesn't exclude the odd flubbed lyric or bum notes and that's part of what makes it such a lovely testament to a life devoted to music, family and friends.

Seven Point Five/Ten

Roisin Dwyer
Hot Press (Ireland)

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

CD RECOMMENDATION-

"PEGGY SEEGER: THREE SCORE AND TEN"


Folk music has always done a good job celebrating its visionaries and pioneers. Glancing at the CD and LP library, I can find a number of recordings of retrospectives and concerts that honor these individuals - the classic Woody Guthrie tribute concerts from 1968 & 1970, tribute concerts and recordings honoring Lead Belly, Phil Ochs, Steve Goodman, Alex Campbell, Fred Holstein and others. Some name are not as well known - but all had an influence that helped carry on the tradition.

The sad part is, many of these tributes are offered after the subject have passed on. While memorials are important, it is fitting to recognize some names while they are still with us - AND while they are still creating and sharing treasures with us. Last year I had the honor of producing a recreation of a 1956 concert that honored the music and life of Woody Guthrie. The original production was the first "revue" of it's type, and the gathering of talent was a milestone moment of the folk revival as well as an event that helped galvanize the image and quality of work that Guthrie created.

Now we have the opportunity to recognize another individual who I feel has not received the credit she deserves - Peggy Seeger. On the occasion of her 70th birthday in 2005, family and friends gathered in London for a concert that celebrated the music and life of Peggy Seeger. Appleseed Records has released a two CD set recording of the event called "Three Score and Ten".

Beyond a doubt, Peggy Seeger is a national treasure. Perhaps I should say "international" treasure since her music and work had a significant impact on the folk music scene. Taking it a step further, Peggy Seeger has also been an important figure on social and political music scene. Her songs have grown beyond the folk world to become part of the fabric for a number of social movements, such as the feminist anthem - "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer".

Peggy Seeger has inspired other songwriters to write about important issues. She is also one of the most charming performers that has ever graced a stage. Her wit and warmth captivates an audience. There must be something in the Seeger genes because the same trait can be said about her brother Mike and her step-brother Pete.

Peggy is the daughter of the late ethnomusicologist Charles Seeger and his second wife Ruth Crawford Seeger - a composer, arranger, pianist and the first woman awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Music. She grew up around a incredible world of music. In addition to her parents lineage, Peggy's nanny was none other than Elizabeth Cotton, a brilliant guitarist and composer of songs such as "Freight Train".

It seemed as if Peggy's life would circle around music. As a young adult, Peggy spent two years studying music at Radcliffe before deciding to head to Europe to become a professional musician in 1955. Her fate was sealed on March 21, 1956 at 10:30am when she first met Ewan MacColl in London. Yes, she remembers the moment which Ewan also documented in his song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" - a #1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1972 and also recorded by numerous other artists.

With Ewan, Peggy would spend the next 30 years of her life as a partner in life and professionally. Together they explored traditional music and the connection with social/political songs. One of their most recognized projects was a radio documentary series called "The Radio Ballads". Each program explored a different topic of social relevance by blending traditional and original songs with spoken word actualities based on the subject. (The landmark series is available on CD from Topic Records.)

Ewan and Peggy were also involved with a controversial theatre group, they ran their own record label, and they organized and operated one of the U.K.'s most important folk venues - The Singers Club. They also found time to raise three children.Ewan passed away in 1989. Peggy continues to perform and now shares her life with Irene Pyper-Scott here in the U.S.

In 2005, for the occasion of Peggy's 70th birthday, a "party" was organized by her three children at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. Her family and friends gathered for the celebratory concert with a guest list including Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson with their daughter Eliza Carthy, and in a rare appearance together - Pete and Mike Seeger. (The CD is the first "official" recording of the three performing together!) The event was taped by the BBC and has become the CD that was released on Appleseed Records.

The two-CD set kicks off with the host of BBC 2's folk music radio program, Mike Harding, introducing Peggy. The first few selections feature Peggy performing several old-time folk standards - induding "Hangman" - one of my favorite songs. Peggy is in fine voice and if you shut your eyes, the years drift away to return us to simpler times. The fun is really in full swing when the guests come out to join Peggy.

Their appearances in the U.S. have been far too infrequent, so it is real treat to hear Peggy singing with Martin Carthy and his wife Norma Waterson and their daughter, Eliza Carthy. If folk music had a monarchy, this stage was graced by their presence. To think of all the performers and fans who have been influenced by this collection of musicians is staggering. One of the high points in this collection comes when Waterson-Carthy join with Peggy Seeger on her song "Che Guevara", a song Peggy wrote using the melody of the English folk song "The Banks of Sweet Primroses".

Several of Peggy's social and political songs follow including two songs that touch on a post 9-11 world- "Cavemen" and "Home Sweet Home". Peggy tells her audience that applause does not seem appropriate after a song like "Cavemen" which is a reminder to all of us that songs serve a purpose beyond entertainment. These songs become powerful tools in teaching us lessons and helping us understand a point of view that we might have overlooked. Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger created a body of work that served this function. Even topics that seem commonplace can be looked at differently. Billy Bragg joined Peggy for her song "Darling Annie", a song that sounds like an old dusty folk song but describes the roles of husband and wife in modern times. Billy admirably closes the first disc with Peggy's "It You Want A Better" life - an anthem-like song that inspires.

The second CD, also the second set of the concert, is a bit more personal. It begins with a moving poem that Peggy wrote shortly after the passing of Ewan MaColl which she follows by singing "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". She then shares a poem and song that she wrote for her partner Irene Pyper-Scott. Another important figure in her life is remembered with a touching poem "My Mother is Younger Than Me". At this point, her brother Mike Seeger joins her onstage. The siblings share some memories of growing up and learning the banjo before launching into "When First Unto This Country" followed up by "Soldier's Farewell". Mike then brings out the quills and shaker to share a "Quill Ditty".

Following Mike's solo, Pete Seeger walks onto the stage to thunderous applause. It had been a few years since Pete last performed in the U.K., and it was obviously a welcome return! Pete, Mike and Peggy then team up for a rollicking version of "Cindy", and remarkably this is the first time that the trio have ever recorded together!

Pete, sounding in fine form, shares three songs - "English is Cuh-ray-zee"(a song from Josh White Jr. based on a book by Richard Lederer) and Pete's "Take it From Dr. King". The third song from Pete is his classic "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", and you can feel the emotion that must have been swelling in the concert hall.

The tribute to Peggy reaches a crescendo with the final songs on the CD. Peggy launches into a song that is arguably her most recognizable - "Gonna Be An Engineer" - a song that has been recorded and sung by hundreds of artists. Peggy's children and grandchildren join the assembled artists onstage for a round of "Happy Birthday". The final celebratory songs bring the event to a stirring conclusion - the traditional "Careless Love" followed by two of Peggy's compositions - "Sing About these Hard Times" and a song that she wrote for a friend whose life was cut short by cancer - "Love Call Me Home".

The concert captured on this CD took place in 2005. While they could not save a piece of cake for all of us, we are given a sweet treat with this two-CD collection. Peggy Seeger "fans" will rejoice with the songs that were selected for the occasion. The joy and warmth of the event are apparent, and the powerful songs are presented without any trace of self-importance or preaching - but they will learn a lesson or two.

One of the lessons that I took away from this comes from a remark Peggy makes to the audience during a chorus of one of the final songs - "Remember to sing when there are hard times".

We are lucky to have the opportunity to share and learn from Peggy Seeger. We desperately need more people like her.

The two CD set "Peggy Seeger: Three Score and Ten" is now available from Appleseed Records - www.appleseedrec.com or from Peggy Seeger's website - www.pegseeger.com

posted by Ron Olesko

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Peggy Seeger - Three Score And Ten (Appleseed)


Peggy's 70th birthday celebration, held at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 29th May 2005, began (in Peggy's own words) "with a wish" (for a cake!), and "a deep desire to see as many of (her) family and friends in one place as possible". Naturally (and through the good auspices of Peggy's children Neill, Calum and Kitty and her partner Irene Pyper-Scott), Peggy's wishes came true - albeit while she was still 69 (though only just!)… She says she felt born again when she "walked out on that stage and knew that so many of the people who had touched (her) life were there, ready to touch again and bawl the choruses out." And this aspect is certainly captured by the faithful recording of the event by BBC Radio 2, now given a proper release on this fine two-disc set. (Well I think it's virtually the whole concert, but newspaper coverage of the event made mention of at least one other item that's not included on the discs, so I'm a little confused.)

Inevitably, Peggy dominates the proceedings, but what a presence - imperious sometimes, yes, and definitely in control (in the nicest possible way) of proceedings, but also much humbled and even awed by the presence and contributions of those so important to her. The gig was emphatically not an excuse for an exercise in arrogant self-congratulation, but a highly organised, affectionate and sincere thankyou that flows both ways between Peggy and her fellow singers and musicians (and indeed her public). If occasionally there's a faint whiff of didacticism about the event, that's not entirely inappropriate in view of Peggy's enormously influential role in the development and wider currency of folk music in all its senses over the past half-century; let's face it, she still has plenty to teach us all!…

The celebration concert covered all possible bases from the broad church of folk that forms Peggy's musical world: from the traditional ballads she so loves through to her own original compositions that so ably and memorably espouse her personal preoccupations and responsibilities, particularly in the areas of war, feminism and union politics. These songs so deserve to be more widely heard, and if this CD is regarded even partly as a taster for Peggy's songwriting then that's no bad thing in my book (folks can then go on to investigate the lovely trio of albums Peggy recently recorded for Appleseed). So finally to the performances - Peggy's cohorts did her proud, fully rising to the occasion. Some were granted solo or lead appearances, and shone accordingly without eclipsing Peggy's own personality.

Memorable moments include: Cindy, on which Peggy, brother Mike and half-brother Pete perform together for the first time in decades; Che Guevara, with Peggy leading the ensemble (Eliza & Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Calum & Kitty MacColl) in rousing chorus; Billy Bragg's unrehearsed duet with Peggy on Darling Annie is quite touching in true downhome "all fell together on the night" fashion. There are inevitably some entirely forgivable lapses in intonation, but the charm of the performances and sense of occasion overrides any concerns of a purely technical nature here. At times Peggy even leaves the stage completely, yielding the spotlight to Norma and Eliza (for Lowlands Of Holland), and later on to Mike and Pete individually. Of course, the items which Peggy performs solo - and there are quite a few - carry an intimate resonance all their own, and the gentle power of her sharing these songs with us is well communicated even through the CD medium. And the rather special bonhomie of the final two items, Sing About These Hard Times and Love Call Me Home, is genuinely irresistible. As is the whole concert (in spite of one or two "you really had to be there" moments that you may find less-conducive-to-home-listening). Yes, these two discs are definitely to be cherished.

www.appleseedrec.com
David Kidman March 2007

 
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"She was gonna be an engineer"

Steve Horowitz


There's something odd about discovering that a concert one attended has been released as a live CD, especially when one didn't know it was being recorded. This was the case of a performance I went to in London more than 18 months ago and whose CD is scheduled for a late March release. Of course, an audio disc cannot capture the excitement of getting last-minute tickets to a sold-out show, the beauty of the South Bank venue, and the buzz one feels just being in the audience, but this double-disc set does a great job of faithfully delivering the good vibrations made musically and emotionally by the artists involved. I was there. I can attest to the CD's accuracy in presenting what occurred.

The show was held to honor folksinger Peggy Seeger on her 70th birthday, featuring Seeger accompanied by her family and friends, including well-known musicians like her American brothers Pete and Mike, English folk legends Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy and their daughter Eliza Carthy, and folk-punk notable Billy Bragg, among others. The individuals involved have performed with each other many times during the past decades and have an easy rapport. They joke and tell stories, but mostly they play Peggy Seeger songs and familiar tunes from the traditional repertoire.

The 70-year-old honoree has been a social activist her whole life and her self-penned compositions reflect this. She sings here with her guests about Che Guevara, human rights, and the cost of war. Seeger also performs her celebrated feminist anthem, “Gonna Be an Engineer”. This live disc documents Seeger's vocal problems at the beginning of “Gonna Be an Engineer” when she has to stop (“I have a frog in my throat”) and then makes a joke about Lady Di and Prince Charles while she cleans her pipes by going “ahem” several times. This incident shows the event's spontaneity and suggests how much the Yank musician has been accepted into the British fold. Seeger was born and raised in America, and currently lives here. Yet for more than four decades she lived in England, and with her husband Ewan MacColl, was at the center of the English folk scene from the mid-'50s (when her American passport was revoked for visiting Communist China) until the late '80s. The London audience clearly sees Seeger as one of their own.

The guests who join Seeger are all given their star turns to shine, but brother Pete is clearly the biggest guest star. He's brought on next to closing and does three solo songs, although the latter statement isn't quite true as Pete always has the crowd join him in sing-a-longs....

As the concert was marketed as a birthday event, there was the obligatory singing of “Happy Birthday” and cake brought on stage. But really, the trappings of the birthday celebration were just an excuse to have a concert to honor Peggy Seeger and feature her music. It wasn't even really her birthday, just a convenient time to rent a hall and get the guest artists together. That made the event even more special as it wasn't held to commemorate a particular landmark, but to simply pay tribute to one of contemporary folk music's most important artists. Judging by Seeger's liveliness, she should be around to celebrate many more birthdays. Let's hope she can use this as an excuse to get her family and friends together again and have another concert with them.

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All Music

Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.


Peggy Seeger has been involved in folk music since the '50s, even before the folk revival kicked into high gear. She's always practiced a more traditional strain of folk music like her half-brother Pete Seeger, and while her vocals were quite distinct, her recordings have been too few and hard to find. Three Score and Ten serves to remind folk fans, then, of Seeger's long commitment to the field as well as her talent as a singer and musician. The two-disc live set celebrates her 70th birthday in a manner befitting a well-respected insider. Seeger takes center stage, and she's joined by a number of well-known comrades in a variety of vocal and instrumental configurations which include Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, and Norma Waterson. Pete Seeger performs his own "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," while Mike Seeger performs "Quill Ditty." Highlights include Peggy Seeger's "Different Therefore Equal," a folk-rap of sorts backed by propulsive bodhran and spoons. There's also a group singalong behind Bragg on "If You Want a Better Life." In a way, the listener will feel as though she has been invited to an intimate, private party on Three Score and Ten, a party where she is surrounded by friends, memories, and lots of good music.

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PEGGY SEEGER "Three Score and Ten" Appleseed

Friday, March 16, 2007

WASHINGTON POST


EXPECT A CROWD ONSTAGE whenever the Seeger family celebrates one of its own. Turning up for folk music luminary Peggy Seeger's 70th birthday bash in London almost two years ago were brother Mike Seeger and half-brother Pete Seeger, plus an additional cast of offspring, friends and kindred spirits, including Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy and Billy Bragg. Listening to "Three Score and Ten," a double-disc recording of the event, you get the feeling that there's always another grateful Peggy Seeger devotee waiting in the wings.

Of course, there are lots of family-brand banjo sounds from Mike and Pete, though Peggy also picks up the instrument when she isn't playing piano, concertina, autoharp or guitar. Bragg sounds perfectly at home covering her pro-union anthem "If You Want a Better Life" in a plainspoken, Woody Guthrie-like manner, while Pete Seeger deservedly steps into the spotlight for a string of tunes that includes "Take It From Dr. King." Another highlight, albeit a purely musical one, finds Carthy on acoustic guitar, bringing a soulful lilt to the traditional tune "Humours of Bandon."

The second disc, incidentally, opens on an elegiac note, with Peggy reciting a poem she wrote for late husband Ewan MacColl, best known on this side of the Atlantic for composing "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Seeger, who inspired that lyric, then quietly segues into a wistful, warmly affecting rendition of MacColl's signature ballad. It's among the reasons why "Three Score and Ten" seems to hold double-digit rewards.

Mike Joyce

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PEGGY SEEGER/Three Score and Ten:

Perhaps best described as the June Carter of English folk music, Seeger celebrated her 70th birthday surrounded by her famous half brothers, her children and some of the creme of old and new English folk music. On this double disc extravaganza, Seeger and company romp through her largely feminist anthmic songbook that does a great job of conveying her message without being strident. One upping the similar Carter package simply because it was made while Seeger is alive, this is vibrant and sterling music for music fans of a certain age as well as folkies in general.

Chris Spector, Midwest Record (March 2007)


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Amazon.com

It's hard to imagine a better birthday bash than the one commemorating Peggy Seeger's 70th, a multigenerational London concert that served as both a family reunion and a gathering of the transatlantic folk-traditionalist tribes. Though her brothers Pete and Mike are much better known in their native America, Peggy plainly had a profound impact on British folk during her decades living in England with husband Ewan MacColl (who wrote the standard "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which Peggy sings here, after first meeting his future wife).

An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, a prolific songwriter, and a luminous vocalist, Peggy commands center stage through most of this two-disc set, while joined by both of her brothers, the husband-and-wife team of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson along with their daughter Eliza Carthy, and acolytes including Billy Bragg. From the feminist anthemry of "Different Kind of Equal" and "Gonna Be an Engineer" to the pointed protest of "Cavemen" to the poems and performances she dedicates to her late husband, her late mother, and her current partner, Irene Pyper-Scott, her concert exemplifies a life well lived with love, humor, and purpose.
Don McLeese

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