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Wednesday August 20, 2014
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Peggy Seeger

 

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and often imagined that I was one of the fabulous Seeger family, brothers and sisters all singing together, instead of the lonely little only child I was. I thought deeply about each song. Why did the rich Irish lady in "The Rich Irish Lady" die? Why did that guy stab "Fair Ellender"? And what, precisely, was the nature of the "sugar candy" alluded to in "My Home across the Smoky Mountain"? And could I have some?

In my right hand, I hold Peggy Seeger's brand-new record (which is much smaller than the other one, and packaged quite differently). But Love Call Me Home (2005, Appleseed Recordings) is still filled with Seeger's pristine, girlish voice, delicate banjo playing, eerie/exuberant folk songs, and sense of family and tradition. As in the battered LP, the songs here are old, even the new ones. There's "Poor Ellen Smith" — based on an 1892 North Carolina murder. There's Seeger's own "Sing about These Hard Times" — based on the gospel tune "Down to the River to Pray." And there's a stunning, sobering a cappella reconstruction of an old Alan Lomax recording of Ozella Jones singing "Bad Bad Girl" — filled with regret and loss.

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