Sing Along With Pete

Greetings! I’m back in weekday mode after a truly fabulous Friday – Sunday. But Mondays aren’t so bad when you have “Music Monday”! 🙂 Let’s do it.

Even though I had virtually no time to prepare a blog post for today, YouTube came to my rescue with a real gem. I guess since I am still in the activist mindset from the Peace March yesterday – see the pictures on my Flickr – I gravitated toward music with a voice of conscience, a voice of purity and humanity. Who better to fill that role than the iconic folk singer, peace advocate, civil rights champion, and environmental activist Pete Seeger.

In this amazing video, Pete appears as a guest on “The Johnny Cash Show”, which aired on ABC from 1969 – 1971. The two men were good friends, and their opening discussion about the banjo is a delight. But the best part is when Pete performs the folk classic “Worried Man Blues” and is soon joined by Johnny Cash at 5:14 – two legends together onstage, in an era before the evils of auto-tune, MTV, and bondage-themed music videos. In true Pete Seeger style, he gets the audience to join in. It’s a great moment in music and television and I hope it will uplift you as it did me 🙂

11 thoughts on “Sing Along With Pete

  1. Dave says:

    Thanks for sharing this great moment. You probably found this during your research, but I thought I’d mention that this performance came soon after the Smothers Brothers had broken the nearly two decade long TV blacklisting of Pete and was certainly courageous on the part of Johnny Cash. Of course, I think Pete may have had Johnny on his show back at a time when Johnny was going through some of his own personal difficulties, so I’m sure these two great men had a lot in common beyond their music.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      Yes, am vaguely aware of the Smothers Brothers blacklist situation but I’m unsure of the specifics. I know that Seeger refused to cooperate with the McCarthy hearings. CBS made a network decision but then the Smothers Brothers defied it and had him on. And then Seeger’s performance was edited out of the final broadcast? I think it went something like that, but I could very well be wrong!

      In any case, Johnny Cash definitely stood his ground by having Pete on his show. In this video, you can clearly see the mutual admiration and respect that existed between the two men.

      Thanks for commenting, Dave!

      Claudia

      • Dave says:

        You have it pretty much right. It was Seeger’s performance of a subtly anti-Vietnam War song that was cut from his original appearance on the Smothers Brothers, but there was such an uproar about it that when he appeared on the show again a few months later they showed the performance of the censored song.

        When Seeger was called before the HUAC he insisted on refusing to answer questions based on his rights under the First Amendment. Others used the Fifth Amendment and were just sent away. Because he insisted on citing the First Amendment Seeger was found in contempt of congress and sentenced to 10 years in prison. An appeals court overturned the conviction.

  2. Fred says:

    Two classic rebel voices together!

    • artmodel says:

      Fred,

      It’s wonderful to watch, isn’t it? My appreciation of Johnny Cash came very late, for the simple reason that I’ve just never been a fan of country music. So it was nothing against him specifically. Then I saw him being interviewed on Larry King and it was such a great interview! What an interesting man. He came across so humble and thoughtful, generous in his praise of other musicians, and fully aware of his personal failures and shortcomings. For a man who had been through all he had been through, he expressed no bitterness. I believe he passed away just a few months after that interview.

      Claudia

  3. Ron says:

    The first time I saw that clip my thought was that there was no way that something like this could never happen today, both in terms of music and politics. Both the music and political worlds are so fragmented. I can’t see a left wing folk singer appearing on a show hosted by a singer appealing to a mostly country audience, although Cash has a lot of crossover appeal to rock audiences. Look at what happened a few years ago when the Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush.

    • artmodel says:

      Ron,

      That’s a terrific observation.We have arrived at a very divided place, which is unfortunate. I think also that Johnny Cash was just assumed to be some staunch Republican in his politics, but that wasn’t really the case. He cared about many causes, but it seems that he wasn’t rigidly partisan in his views. Warmly welcoming his left wing friend Pete Seeger on his tv show is pretty revealing in that regard.

      Thanks for your comments, Ron!

      Claudia

      • artmodel says:

        Ron and everybody-

        I was checking out the comments on YouTube, and one of the posters referred to the PBS special about Pete Seeger. Here is the comment, from cosmicbandito76:

        “On the PBS Pete Seeger special, there’s a very cool clip taken from backstage prior to this show. Johnny Cash mentions to Pete that he’s received a lot of mail criticizing him for having Pete on the show and questioning his patriotism.
        Johnny then says, ‘Pete. I’ve known you for a long time…many years in fact. And the Pete Seeger I know, and the Pete Seeger June and I have come to love, is in my mind one of the best Americans and Patriots I’ve ever known.’ ”

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