Pete Seeger and Roger McGuinn
AT THE BOTTOM LINE (1994)
The Bottom Line Archive.
A Masterclass In Songwriting From Teacher and Pupil.
This is a fascinating series of releases from the Bottom Line Archive; often bringing our ‘back pages’ into sparkling life again; and for younger listeners not just a window into the soul of what has become known as Americana Music; but in many cases a Masterclass in the oeuvre too.
If you are in any shape or form, a Folk music fan, if Vin Scelsa’s introduction to Pete Seeger doesn’t move you into settling back for what is to follow, then this website and review ain’t really for you, is it?
Even without me telling you about the songs here; you just know that listening to Pete Seeger and his protege, Roger McGuinn telling stories and singing songs on stage has to be a history lesson in itself, and well worth your time, doesn’t it?
In themselves, not every song here has stood the test of time, but there are more than enough nuggets that are genuine magical moments that will make you smile and sigh at the same time, to make it all worthwhile.
Personally I’m not really a ‘fan’ of Pete Seeger’s style of Folk Music; but listening to his story of building his first house, which leads into If I Had a Hammer is absolutely spellbinding; and made me incredibly jealous of the couple of hundred people crammed into the Bottom Line hearing this story first hand.
But; I am a fan of Roger McGuinn (don’t get me started on the night I met him for a cup of tea!); and you have to put into perspective where he was in his career that night, as he had recently left the Byrds and had just been part of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review, and was about to embark on the solo career that still fills halls today, yet still found the time to sit mesmerised at the feet of his mentor, Pete Seeger.
If you were in a Record Store, a cursory look at the track listing would or should make you want to hear Roger’s story behind The Ballad of Easy Rider, Eight Miles High, and Chestnut Mare; and his heartfelt singing of each; but ……… hearing Pete talk about Woody Guthrie and Alan Lomax brought tears to my eyes; and will you too.
On a charming double album it’s kinda difficult to pick out a Favourite Track for you.
Roger talking about writing You Showed Me with Gene Clark then singing it, has to be a highlight; but Pete’s stories are all genuinely enthralling and need to be heard by everyone who has the audacity to think they too are a singer-songwriter; but I will point you to Where Have All The Flowers Gone ….. it’s just as important today in 2020 as it was 60 years ago!
But; I’m going with Roger who writes that singing Bells of Rhymney alongside Pete was and is still one of the highlights of his well documented career; and I can’t disagree with that, now can I?
This remarkable album is as much a historical document, as it is anything else and I urge you to buy two copies; as you will want one for yourself and if you know any aspiring singer-songwriter, give them the other copy to hear two Masters of the genre oozing love and class in abundance!
Released February 28th 2020