During junior high school I first joined the Columbia Record Club- 12 LPs for 12 cents, as I recall. I got my first Bob Dylan album and an interesting-looking album by a black man named Pete Seeger. If you have a copy of his "We Shall Overcome" album you might understand my misunderstanding. Especially if you viewed that cover photo in miniature Pete does look dark-skinned. I was 13-years-old and all I knew about the Civil Rights Movement was learned from John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley and television coverage of the March On Washington. In the short run Bob Dylan had the huge impact on me, but that Pete Seeger album touched my little white heart, too. And, in the long run, the power of Pete Seeger wins out.
The power of Pete Seeger is not enclosed in one mortal human frame. Bob will live forever in the same iconic sense as Picasso or Einstein. He is a god-like artist. He changed the world...of music.
Pete. Well, he changed the world, didn't he? Bob cleaned up; he followed his genius; he is a seminal force in music. Pete led the clean-up of the Hudson River. 'nuff said. Oh, and he could get people singing in booming harmony in any country, in any language he chose.
I won't go on as if you didn't already know about Pete. I just want you to know that there is a video that captures the essence of Pete's greatness and will inform even the old-time fans like me with new facts. It's called "Pete Seeger: the Power of Song."
Pete Seeger. He's our grandfather.
ps. Earl Scruggs invented the style of picking most identified with modern Bluegrass music. Earl's new style was mostly unknown before 1945 when he joined Bill Monroe's bluegrass Boys. Pete mastered the banjo in the American Southland before 1940. He invented the long-neck banjo. You really don't know Pete until you see him in some of those old "videos."
Hear "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread" at http://burldunn.blogspot.com