5-1 Folk music - The
Weavers
 Lisa
Beebe
...

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Unformatted text preview: The
Weavers
 Lisa
Beebe
 University
of
Washington
 [email protected] Pete
Seeger

 (b.
1919)
 
   Founding
member
of
the
Weavers
   Musical
family:
son
of
American
musicologist
(music
 historian)
Charles
Seeger
and
violinist
Constance
 Seeger
   Interested
in
banjo
at
a
young
age
   Social
Justice
–
Composers’
Collective

   Moved
to
NYC
in
1940
to
pursue
journalism,
met
 Woody
Guthrie


 Woody
Guthrie
 (1912‐1967)
   Born
in
Oklahoma,
musical
childhood,
talented
harmonica
 player
at
a
young
age.

Family
tragedies.

   Iterant
lifestyle
–
traveled
throughout
US
because
of
the
 dust
bowl
and
the
Great
Depression
and
the
Dust
Bowl
   Witnessed
poverty
during
Great
Depression,
wrote
songs
 describing
his
experiences:
“This
Land
is
Your
Land”
–
 “alternative”
national
anthem

   Recorded
over
200
for
newly
founded
Folkways
Label,
 composed
every
day
   Influence
on
generations
of
artists,
Bob
Dylan
and
1960s
 folk
music
to
today:
late
90s,
Gutherie
lyrics
set
to
music
 and
recorded
by
Billy
Bragg
and
Wilco
 The
Almanacs
   Pete
Seeger
and
Woody
Guthrie
join
with
Lee
Hays
and
 Millard
Lampell
to
form
The
Almanacs
in
1940
   “Hootenanys”
–
informal
jam
sessions,
learning
to
play
 together

   Politically
progressive
music,
union
organizing.
 Perform
in
factories,
on
college
campuses,
small
 gatherings
   Start
of
World
War
II,
Seeger
is
drafted
into
the
army,
 Gutherie
joins
merchant
marines,
group
disbands
in
 1942
 The
Weavers
   In
1949,
Seeger
and
Hays
found
a
group
similar
to
the
 Almanacs
with
Fred
Hellerman
(b.
1927)
and
Ronnie
 Gilbert
(b.
1926).

   All
four
members
singing
vocals,
Seeger
playing
banjo
 and
Hayes
and
Hellerman
on
guitars
   Small,
dedicated
New
York
fan
base
   Politically‐inspired
songs
become
known
as“folk”
 music
 What
is
“folk”
music?
   Radio
stations
unsure
how
to
classify
the
Weavers:
not
 quite
pop,
not
quite
country.

   Difficult
to
precisely
define.

   Associated
with
traditional
music
as
opposed
to
“art”
 or
orchestral
music


   Class,
ethnicity,
nationality.
Oral
transmission
–
“word
 of
mouth”

 The
Folk
Revival
   “Folk
revival”
began
in
the
first
half
of
the
20th
century
with
 the
collection
of
traditional
songs
by
John
A.
and
Alan
 Lomax
   Father
and
son
team
of
musicologists
traveling
throughout
 the
American
south
and
southwest,
gathering
recordings
 for
the
Folk
Song
Archive
of
the
Library
of
Congress.


   The
Weavers’
sound
becomes
the
basis
for
a
post
war
folk
 revival,
otherwise
known
as
urban folk,
inspired
by
rural
 folk
music,
performed
by
city‐dwellers.
Old
traditions
with
 new
ideas.

   1960s,
Bob
Dylan
–
“folk”
anything
acoustic.

 Folk
Music
and
Labor
 Movements
   Traditional
music
used
for
political
and
social
 movements
   Union
organizing:
industrial,
farm,
and
migrant
labor.
 Fair
pay,
safe
working
conditions.
   Folk
music
associated
with
“the
people:”
music
and
 rallies
 
 “If
I
Had
a
Hammer”
   Written
in
1949
by
Pete
Seeger
and
Lee
Hays,
later
 recorded
by
the
Weavers
   “Hammer”
and
“work
bell”:
using
what
resources
you
 already
have
to
change
the
world.

   Represented
labor
movement
in
the
1950s.
Recorded
 by
folk
group
Peter,
Paul
and
Mary
in
the
1960s,
 became
an
anthem
for
the
civil
rights
movement
 (“love
between
my
brothers
and
my
sisters”)
 If
I
had
a
hammer
 I'd
hammer
in
the
morning
 I'd
hammer
in
the
evening
 All
over
this
land
 I'd
hammer
out
danger
 I'd
hammer
out
a
warning
 I'd
hammer
out
love
between
all
of
my
 brothers

 All
over
this
land
 
 If
I
had
a
bell
 I'd
ring
it
in
the
morning
 I'd
ring
it
in
the
evening
 All
over
this
land
 I'd
ring
out
danger
 I'd
ring
out
a
warning
 I'd
ring
out
love
between
all
of
my
 brothers

 All
over
this
land
 
 
 
 
 
 If
I
had
a
song
 I'd
sing
it
in
the
morning
 I'd
sing
it
in
the
evening
 All
over
this
land
 I'd
sing
out
danger
 I'd
sing
out
a
warning
 I'd
sing
out
love
between
all
of
my
 brothers

 All
over
this
land
 
 Well
I've
got
a
hammer
 And
I've
got
a
bell
 And
I've
got
a
song
to
sing
 All
over
this
land
 It's
the
hammer
of
justice
 It's
the
bell
of
freedom
 It's
the
song
about
love
between
all
of
my
 brothers
 All
over
this
land
 Weavers’
Early
Success
   “Discovered”
by
poet
Carl
Sandburg
in
1950:
“The
 Weavers
are
out
of
the
grass
roots
of
America.
I
salute
 them...When
I
hear
America
singing,
the
Weavers
are
 there.”
   Recording
deal
with
Decca.
   Two
hits:
Israeli
folk
song
with
English
lyrics,
“Tzena,
 Tzena”
and
“Good
Night
Irene”
(#1
for
13
weeks)
 “Goodnight
Irene”
   Roots
in
various
traditional
American
songs,
popularized
by
 Lead
Belly,
who
learned
the
song
from
his
uncle
as
a
child.
   Lead
Belly
(born
in
Louisiana
as
Huddie
William
Ledbetter
in
 1889)
was
a
multi‐instrumentalist
and
singer,
known
mostly
 for
his
virtuoso
playing
of
the
12‐string
guitar.
   Strophic
song
in
a
verse‐refrain
format
about
heartbreak
 and
loss.
Lead
Belly’s
recording
includes
two
verses
and
the
 Weavers
include
three.
The
Weavers
also
changed
the
 original
lyric,
”I’ll
gets
you
in
my
dreams”
to
“I’ll
see
you
in
 my
dreams.”
Changed
meaning
   Dense
orchestration,
additional
instruments
   Record
with
Decca
three
more
years,
apolitical
recordings.

 Irene
goodnight,
Irene
goodnight
 Goodnight
Irene,
goodnight
Irene
 I'll
see
you
in
my
dreams
 
 Last
Saturday
night
I
got
married
 Me
and
my
wife
settled
down
 Now
me
and
my
wife
are
parted
 I'm
gonna
take
another
stroll
downtown
 Irene
goodnight….
 
 Sometimes
I
live
in
the
country
 Sometimes
I
live
in
town
 Sometimes
I
take
a
great
notion
 To
jump
into
the
river
and
drown
 Irene
goodnight…
 
 You
caused
me
to
weep
you
caused
me
to
moan You
caused
me
to
leave
my
home
 But
the
very
last
words
I
heard
her
say,

 “Won’t
you
please
sing
me
one
more
song?”

 Irene
goodnight…
 
 Stop
ramblin',
stop
your
gamblin'
 Stop
stayin'
out
late
at
night
 Go
home
to
your
wifeand
family
 Stay
there
by
your
fireside
bright
 Irene
goodnight…
   Post
World
War
Two
 America
 Political
conservatism

   Threat
of
communism
‐‐
the
“red
menace”
Political
views
 different
from
the
mainstream
were
seen
as
a
threat
to
 American
values.

   Unions
–
communism?

   Senator
Joseph
McCarthy,
“McCarthyism.
The
“Red
Scare”:
 investigate
any
public
figure
suspected
of
being
a
 communist
or
having
ties
to
radical
politics.

   In
1938,
Congress
formed
the
House
Un‐American
Activities
 Committee
(HUAC).
1940s
and
1950s,
the
HUAC
would
 continue
to
investigate
Americans
perceived
to
be
 communists,
notably
artists,
musicians,
and
actors.

 
 Weavers
and
the
Red
 Scare
 Harvey
Matusow
and
the
HUAC,
Weavers
accused
of
 being
communists,
appear
before
the
committee
 Weaver’s
appearances
canceled
in
Ohio

 Blacklisted:
dropped
from
Decca
records,
no
radio
or
 television
appearances
 Weavers
part
ways
in
1952
 
 Weavers’
Legacy
   Reunite
in
1955
for
several
more
years
of
touring,
with
 and
without
Pete
Seeger.

   1981
documentary
“Wasn’t
That
a
Time?”

   Influence
future
generations
of
folk
musicians
as
 founders
of
“urban
folk”
–
blending
current
popular
 music
with
traditional
melodies

   Pete
Seeger
–
“consensus
hero”
in
contemporary
 American
pop
culture
(i.e.,
“Communism
what?”)
 ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/28/2011 for the course MUSIC 162 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '05 term at University of Washington.

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