Early in 1996 folk singer Pete Seeger released what has since gone on to become one of the most important albums of his career in the form of the self-titled record Pete. The 18-song collection was lauded by both critics and audiences alike. That is because its simple approach both musically and lyrically harkened back to the earliest days of his career. It took audiences back to what were some of the most pivotal years in America’s development with those sounds and themes. It wouldn’t be the only time that the seminal album would see the light of day. It was re-issued in 2007 in full for a new generation of audiences. And now next month, it will be re-issued once more courtesy of Living Music. The upcoming re-issue is a step up from the album’s 2007 re-issue. That is because not only does it present Seeger’s classic album in whole, but it also includes a complete hour-plus concert that Seeger held at the 1982 Living Music Festival. It rounds out the album’s presentation in its upcoming re-issue. All things considered Living Music’s new re-issue of Pete proves in the end to be a piece that any of Seeger’s fans will want to have in their own music libraries.
Living Music’s latest re-issue of Pete Seeger’s seminal 1996 album Pete is a piece that every Pete Seeger fan should have in his or her own personal music library. That is due in part to the musical arrangement presented in each of the album’s featured compositions. Each arrangement is pure, classic folk at its finest with Seeger switching between banjo and guitar throughout the course of the album’s sixty-three minute run time. He is joined throughout the record by the beautiful tones of The Union Baptist Church Singers & The Cathedral Singers as well as a handful of musicians who add even more depth to each arrangement. The arrangement of the songs and even their production makes any potential amplification nearly unnoticeable. This includes David Finck’s work on bass throughout. Finck’s bass line melds seamlessly into each of the songs in which he is featured. Again, this is thanks not only to his talent and the songs’ arrangement but to the work of Paul Winter and Tom Bates behind the glass. The end product of the album’s run is a listening experience that even considering its musical arrangements alone, will take listeners back to another era of America’s history. Not one of the arrangements makes that trip feel forced at any point, either. Keeping this in mind, the musical arrangements featured in this record serve as a solid foundation for the record. This is especially the case for those that haven’t heard the album in years and for those that will hear it for the first time, period. It is just one of the album’s most important elements, too. The album’s lyrical themes are just as important to note as its musical arrangements.
The musical arrangements that are featured in Pete are undeniably important to the album’s presentation. That is because of their ability to transport listeners back to another era all by themselves. Each arrangement feels that organic. They are not the album’s only key elements. The lyrical themes that are featured across the album are just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements. They are everything that the late singer’s fans had come to expect from him at that point in his career. There are socially conscious songs such as the British standard ‘The Water Is Wide,’ ‘To Everyone In All The World,’ and ‘All Mixed Up’ set alongside the likes of the environmentally minded ‘Garbage’ and ‘Rainbow Race’ and far more presented within the course of the album’s hour-plus run time. Regardless of which song(s) listeners choose as their favorite(s), listeners will all agree in hearing the album in whole that its classic lyrical themes echo right back to that same era to which the album’s musical arrangements will take them. Considering this, the combination of both elements makes the album’s listening experience in whole one that audiences of all ages will appreciate. That is because there is little to nothing like it out there today, even among the more socially minded acts out there today. It is all the more reason for folk music fans and Pete Seeger fans alike to heck out this classic album when it is re-issued next month.
The music and lyrics that are presented in Seeger’s 18 total tracks are collectively plenty of reason for folk music fans and fans of Pete Seeger to add this re-issued album to their own home music libraries. They are not the only reasons that audiences have to pick up the album in its new re-issue. This time out the album has come with an hour-plus concert at which Seeger performed in 1982—The Living Music Festival. Just watching the video is like opening a video time capsule. Today’s younger audiences will marvel just as much as their older counterparts at the fashions of the day. That’s beside the point. Seeger’s performance here, and that of his fellow musicians lies at the heart of the concert. The performance come across in a wholly natural, organic fashion. Yes, it was recorded in 1982. But there is something about the performers’ stage presence and the whole vibe of the setting that will leave audiences feeling like it, too could have come right out of the 1960s and/or 1970s. That is a powerful statement in itself. It shows the ability of Seeger and company to not just entertain audiences but pull them completely into their performances, too. The surprising quality of the concert’s audio and video only adds to that experience for audiences. The footage obviously hasn’t been touched up by any means. Yet it still looks and sounds surprisingly impressive even after roughly thirty-four years. That, coupled with the concert’s set list, and the performers’ stage presence, makes the concert in whole just as important to Pete’s presentation as the album itself if not perhaps more important. No matter which side audiences may take in that discussion, audiences in general will agree in watching the Living Music Festival performance by Pete Seeger and company that the concert is yet another fitting touch to Living Music’s new re-issue of Pete. One could be remiss to ignore the companion booklet that comes with the overall package, too. The booklet offers thoughts from Seeger himself on each of the songs featured here. It’s one more way in which the album feels like a musical time capsule from a bygone era even despite not being that old. The album’s booklet, when set alongside the record’s companion concert recording, and its featured songs, makes the album in whole a record that every folk fan and Pete Seeger fan alike will want to have in his or her own music library. It is , in whole one of this year’s top new CD re-issues.
Living Music’s new re-issue of Pete is one of 2016’s top new CD re-issues. The 18-song album is a record that folk fans and Seeger fans alike will want to add to their own home music libraries. That is because it comes across like a musical time capsule that sounds so much older than it is thanks to its musical arrangements and lyrical themes. The companion concert recording that comes with the album’s re-issue serves to add to that feeling even more. And of course the companion booklet that is included in the album adds its own share of enjoyment to the album. All things considered Living Music’s new re-issue of Pete may not be the album’s first re-issue. But it is still proves to be a re-issue that, again, fans of folk and Pete Seeger alike will appreciate. It will be available June 17th in stores and online. More information on Pete is available online now at:
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