Who was/is Pete Seeger ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
12. Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
Pete Seeger never abandoned the original vision of the Almanac Singers. With the war over and now back in civilian life, he dreamed of expanding the Almanacs' ideals into a national movement that would unify singers, performers, choral leaders and labor unions into a force for political and social change. Seeger's model was Great Britain's Workers Music Association, founded in 1939 by members of England's Communist Party.
Reaching out to New York's leftist folk, theatrical and literary communities, Seeger invited potential members to attend the December 31, 1945, organizational meeting of People's Songs. Committees were established to find office space, set up a corporation, establish a regular newsletter, secure financing and recruit new members.
Within a year's time the People's Songs concept spread to other major North American cities. In October 1947, the organization held its first national convention in Chicago. The organization set up a booking office for its members and encouraged aspiring singer-songwriters and established composers to send sheet music or demos of new topical songs for possible publication in the monthly bulletin.
Although some professional composers were among People's Songs' earliest supporters, the most enduring songs to emerge from the movement were penned by non-professionals like Vern Partlow, a Los Angeles journalist and union activist.
Born May 25, 1910, in Bloomington, Illinois, Verneil Partlow moved to California after working for newspapers and radio stations in Wisconsin and Chicago. Hired by the Los Angeles Daily News, he became an early supporter of the American Newspaper Guild, formed in 1933. In the mid-'40s forties he hosted a program covering labor issues for a Los Angeles station.
When Earl Robinson opened the first People's Songs office on the West Coast, Partlow became one of its earliest members. After interviewing scientists on the consequences of a nuclear war, he wrote Old Man Atom, a talking blues using a musical template Woody Guthrie adapted from the recordings of Chris Bouchillon. Laced with irony, the song circulated among other singer-songwriters after its appearance as Atomic Talking Blues in the January 1947 People's Songs Bulletin. Pete Seeger recorded it in 1948 for Irwin Silber and Brownie McGhee's Encore label.
Outside of activists within People's Songs, few people bought Seeger's record. One who did was Sam Hinton, curator of the Thomas Wayland Vaughan Aquarium Museum at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego.
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Folk And The Roots Of American Music Vol. 1 (3-CD)
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