(1967) Peggy Seeger & Mike Seeger – Peggy ´n Mike
never issued on CD
Mike Seeger and Peggy Seeger – vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, dulcimer, banjo, autoharp
Worried man blues – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
Arizona – MS vocals
Come all ye fair and tender Ladies – PS unaccompanied
Little Birdie (Peggy Seeeger) – MS & PS vocals
Old shoes and leggings – MS & PS vocals
John Riley – PS vocal
A miner’s prayer – PS lead vocals, MS chorus harmony
Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender – MS lead vocals, PS harmony vocals
Shady Grove – MS vocals
Fod – MS & PS vocals
The Streets of Laredo – MS lead vocals
The Soldier’s Farewell – PS vocals
When first to this country a stranger I came – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
A drunkard’s child (Rodgers) – MS & PS vocals
Clinch Mountain Backstep (Stanley) – MS banjo
The Romish Lady – MS lead vocal, PS harmony
Single Girl – PS vocals
The Ram of Derby – PS lead vocal, MS chorus
All songs trad unless otherwise indicated
An album a year – two if you were lucky and padded the two singles out with fillers. That was the norm for most recording artists in the mid-sixties, wasn’t it?
Between 1966 and 1968, Peggy Seeger averaged at least seven albums a year as a performer for Argo (with and without Ewan MacColl) and a further half dozen a year as music supervisor/director/collaborator on Argo anthologies and stuff like albums by the Critics Group.
What with the singing workshops, the song writing, the research, and the public performances, you wonder where she found the time. And she had two children under the age of ten at the time.
IN THE GENES
Peggy and her brother Mike probably hadn’t seen a lot of each other in the ten years since they last recorded an album together (American Folk Songs – 1957). Mike had gone straight on to found the New Lost City Ramblers (in 1958) with John Cohen and Tom Paley. Peggy had gone straight over to the other side of the Atlantic, met Ewan MacColl and eventually stayed.
Mind you, putting together this album probably didn’t take that long. Not because it doesn’t sound really good. Quite the opposite. It sounds effortless. Mike Seeger, as Dylan said, had this stuff in his genes. Ditto Peggy, being his sister.
Not much need for re-takes, you imagine.
NOT YOUR USUAL CITY-BILLIES
Not sure it was their genes, though. More that they were raised in a house where, as their father Charles put it, this music resounded morning, noon and night.
“The children had not learned their stuff later in life after first becoming saturated with urban popular and fine arts, as has the usual city-billy,” Seeger senior said, “but rather in their basinettes and pens, years before much of any other kind of music reached their ears.”
“By the time she was three, Peggy, for example, had a very respectable repertory of ballads, game and love songs,” he recalled. “Before they reached their teens, Michael and Peggy were delighting miscellaneous gatherings and meetings with ‘My Father is a Drunkard’, ‘The Roving Gambler’ and ‘Careless Love’ (unexpurgated and unaccompanied) with original descants.”
Here’s Mike Seeger talking about their childhood:
“My father and mother had a mission to keep this kind of music alive because they believed in its inherent musical value and its cultural value. Because it’s been straighjt mouth to ear without commercial intervention. The commercial domination of records and radio have skewed American cultural life.
“They saw that happening and so they brought us kids up with a counter to that and refused to have a radio in the house, for instance. But they did have Fats Domino and Stan Kenton. The mission rubbed off on me and my sister Peggy.”
Mike Seeger died in August, 2009. For an appreciation of his remarkable life from the Smithsonian Folkways website, click here.
After moving back to the States in 1994 Peggy said she was rediscovering the pleasure of singing with Mike and their brother Pete. “I was so long in England that I lost touch with the dynamics and personnel of my birth family,” she said on her website.
In 2010 she moved back to England.