Peggy Quotes

She is an irreplaceable repository of significant songs . . . direct, humanized music for real-life situations. Larry Kelp, The Tribune, Oakland, CA

Peggy Quotes 2

Her singing is as highly charged as ever and her writing as pointed and witty.
- Dave Laing


Memoir Reviews


The Bookseller
First Time Ever is the #1 most picked non-fiction book in the yearly roundups. 

#23 Peggy Seeger - First Time Ever

Sunday Times
Peggy Seeger - First Time Ever

Peggy Seeger - First Time Ever (Chosen by Jackie Kay)



Seeger, Peggy. First Time Ever. Faber & Faber. Oct. 2017. 416p. photos. ISBN 9780571336791. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780571336814. MEMOIR

The author, half-sister to folk singer Pete Seeger, is a force of folk all her own. In this lovely firsthand account, she shares memories of her idyllic childhood and reflections on race, as her family had African American domestic workers. She also explores cultural differences as she looks back on her travels through Europe and Asia as a young woman playing music; she delves into her identity as both a public performer and a woman, daughter, partner, mother, musician, activist, and feminist, crafting her narrative from recollections and her own diaries. Readers will find a constellation of folk music greats here, all linked by Seeger’s anecdotes. Now in her 80s, Seeger is enmeshed thoroughly in the search to know herself fully. One delightful aspect is Seeger quoting from biographies of her life, written by others. The chronological structure zigzags a bit in time, but it mimics the way memory works. VERDICT An engrossing read for all, even those who don’t know their folk music history.


Peggy`s wonderful Inheritance Tracks on Radio 4 was broadcast over Christmas.


First Time Ever was Book of the Day on the Guardian over Christmas with a rave review from Sukhdev Sandhu.

`At a time when digital hustlers burble forth about disruption and accelerated obsolescence, it’s all the more wonderful to read Seeger write about tenderness and tenacity, value and vitality, culture and continuity, about folk music being “like a cardiograph: the form being the graph paper and the content the heartbeat”.`


'First Time Ever reveals Seeger as an elegant writer and a trailblazer, both in her musical life and in her fiercely independent spirit [...] Here is an extraordinary story, beautifully told.' 
Evening Standard


Firsts and Lasts
At age 82, American folk legend Peggy Seeger admits to Steve Lee she'll have to slow down soon, but not just yet.
Big Issue 



'Poetic, unflinching [...] her writing is a treat'
8/10 Uncut  



'Separately and together, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger were, and are, remarkable and their contribution to Britain’s musical and wider cultural life cannot be gainsaid. Throughout it all, they were true to themselves and Seeger’s memoir is a remarkable account of a remarkable life.'
4**** The Arts Desk 



'Folk legend Peggy Seeger’s memoir, First Time Ever (Faber, £20), takes its name from the song, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, written for Peggy by her late husband Ewan MacColl and that relationship – that lasted more than 30 years, until MacColl’s death in 1989 – is inevitably an important part of her story, but not all of it. Peggy writes movingly of her left-wing bohemian family and there are fascinating passages, too, on the British folk scene of the Fifties and Sixties, and the new life she has forged since Ewan’s death.' 
Choice Magazine 



BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour interview here 


'The impact of these remarkable stories is greatly enhanced by Peggy’s vividly detailed writing style, which often reads like she’s thinking aloud (so unflinchingly honest) [...] A rare treat that joins the great folk music tales with head held high.' -
Record Collector 4****  



'Rugged, occasionally riotous, memoir [...] Comes with the kind of thorough detail that defines the word "evocative" [...] Seeger writes with sharp and candid wit, devoid of sentimentality.' 
 Irish Independent  



'There are no sonorous signals of big moments, rather a series of chronological arabesques, which is why this amazing life reads more like a novel [...] [an] elegy for folk music'  
Irish Times


Peggy Seeger Notebook
A Yankee road trip in Britain, the tweets of Hocus-Potus, and why some women stop riding horses
The New Statesman


'Folk music and activism tend to come freighted with connotations of earnestness. But Seeger’s writing goes against the stereotype. First Time Ever is funny, incisive, and affecting. At 82, despite the health problems outlined at the end of the book, she continues performing. Both she and her vigorous autobiography are testament to folk’s tenacity in a modern world that is proving increasingly antithetical to its values.'
Financial Times


'The hottest gossip from the British folk revival' 
Victoria Segal in Q Magazine's Choice Cuts


'An illuminating, witty, revelatory and unflinchingly candid account, presented in vivid vignettes and nonchalant anecdotes, often funny, sometimes shocking.'
4**** Mojo


A memoir of an eventful life from a hugely influential figure in the folk revival, now 82. Seeger is an ardent feminist and left-wing activist, a singer-songwriter blacklisted under McCarthyism, the half-sister of legendary folk singer Pete and partner of controversial folk purist Ewan McColl, whose most famous song, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, is about her. The blurb promises “a story of birth and abortion, sex and infidelity, devotion and betrayal”.

The Guardian's Autumn Cultural Picks


"I loved this book - it is deeply personal and idiosyncratic and generous, and evocative of so many different eras and moments. Peggy Seeger is a master of traditional song who's life has spanned many important and fascinating eras of musical and cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic. Her memoir brings all of this to life in a distinct voice: eloquent, feisty and wise."

Sam Amidon


A Memoir

Author: Peggy Seeger

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2017

Online Publish Date: August 22, 2017

Publisher:Faber & Faber

Pages: 416

Price ( Hardcover ): $29.95

Publication Date: November 1, 2017

ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-571-33679-1

Category: Nonfiction

A British-American musician reflects on her long life and colorful career as a folk singer. Seeger (b. 1935) grew up in a musically gifted "family of left-wingers." Her father was a musicologist who regularly consorted with the likes of Alan Lomax and Lead Belly; her mother was a music teacher, composer, and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient; and her half brother, Pete, was a highly regarded folk singer and social activist. As middle class as her upbringing was, the author also remembers it as "strangely free—few dos and fewer don'ts." A lively teenager who played numerous instruments including the banjo, Seeger attended, but did not graduate from, Radcliffe College. While a student in Boston, she took part in the emerging folk music scene. In 1955, she left to live in the Netherlands. A phone call from Alan Lomax in England brought her to London in 1956, where she immersed herself in the burgeoning folk music scene of which Lomax was part. Almost immediately, she met and began an affair with English musician Ewan MacColl, who was 20 years older and married. Together, they formed an unconventional, peripatetic union that produced three children; seminal documentary collaborations with the BBC called the Radio Ballads; the Critics Group, a master class for young singers interested in learning the art of folk music; and numerous albums now considered classics of the folk genre. Their intense, sometimes-difficult personal relationship also inspired MacColl to write "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," a song made famous in the early 1970s by Roberta Flack. Spanning the U.S., Europe, Asia, and a personal evolution toward feminism and bisexuality, this free-spirited recollection of eight decades steeped in joy, sorrow, and harrowing tragedy celebrates Seeger's experiences while reveling in the free-spirited "Of-Course-Why-Not" philosophy that has governed her life. It's a remarkable life story well told. A quirky, unique, and fabulously memorable memoir.  

Kircus Review

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