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← Complete interview with Pete Seeger

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Showing Revision 3 created 02/06/2014 by nancyk.

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    [background noise]
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    [is it too loud?]
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    [is it on now?] banjo playing music
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    banjo music louder
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    [STUDS] as far as an FMT audience is concerned
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    I think it's almost needless to tell you
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    who's banjo that is you're listening to
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    it's the banjo of the number one
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    five-string banjo picker in the country -
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    [PETE] Oh, go on!
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    [STUDS] - as far as we're concerned
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    the voice you recognize I imagine immediately
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    that's Pete Seeger
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    sitting up with us here
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    [PETE] You've got to quit being a disc
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    jockey for a change...I am not a number one banjo picker
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    in the first place, in any kind of art you can't say
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    the number can't say, how can you say so-and-so is the best pianist
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    in the world? He might be best to somebody, he might be worst
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    to somebody else {STUDS] Pete, I think it's this commercial life I'm leading [PETE] ...and as far as banjo
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    picking goes, there's a fellow down in West Virginnia who can just play
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    rings around me named Earl Scruggs. He's the king of the banjo pickers
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    as far as I'm concerned. [STUDS] It's about three years ago, Pete you mentioned the name of Earl Scruggs
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    you remember the record, uh, the tune that he played [PETE] Foggy mountain
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    Breakdown [SUDS] How'd that go? [PETE] He plays a very syncopated kinda style
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    [fast banjo picking music]
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    [STUDS] About how many songs would you say, this is just for statistical purposes, about how many songs [PETE] oh!
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    [STUDS] ...would you say you know? [PETE] I don't know, well, when I was in the Army, a fellow and I once sat down
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    and we wrote down all the songs that I knew . It was about
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    three or four hundred, but some of those I didn't know all the way through, and they included a lot
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    of popular songs and hymns and so on
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    Army songs, and I've learned maybe a couple hundred since then, but I forgot
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    forgotten a couple of hundred too, so I don't know. [STUDS] Well those you do know and those
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    you remember are enough to fill a number of books and albums, and on that subject
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    Pete, for the FMT audience, those who may be aware of it
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    uh, not the last time Pete was with us, but the time before that,Pete and Big Bill were guests of the Almanac
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    and Folkways got pretty excited about that session and that's gonna come out as an album shortly. You know anything about that Pete?
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    [PETE]Yeah, the drndest things come out on records these days, you buy this record and all you'll hear is Studs and
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    me and Big Bill talkin, and talkin and we play a tune [STUDS] -laughs-
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    and we interrupt the tune to talk some more
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    play a contrasting type of tune
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    [STUDS]Well what sort of
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    tune will you say hits you now, by the way Pete, it was about two weeks ago Dick Bennet was here in this very studio [PETE] Hey! [STUDS] we did the - we used the same technique
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    a stetfoot, sitting together, and uh,
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    remember we asked Dick and he asked to be remembered to you, of course
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    pretty fondly, Dick, play whatever comes to your mind while you're sitting here and it worked out pretty well
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    [PETE] Well, let me think (tuning banjo strings)
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    [PETE]I was down in southern Louisiana last onth
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    in a part of the country where manynpeople still speak French the descendents
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    of the 4000 French-Canadians
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    who were shipped down there two hundred years agoby the English [STUDS] The Acadiens?
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    [PETE] Maybe you remember, Longfellow's [STUDS]"Evangeline" [PETE That's right
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    well I was in the town where she's buried, of course, her real name was Emmaline
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    uh, and Longfellow, I think he changed her name when he wrote the story
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    about her, but (banjo) I was swapping
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    songs down there, and doggone if I didn't find they knew a lot of the same songs I knew
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    but with different words! For example, they had one that
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    went something like this. You know, they speaka funny variety of french, this is not Parisienne
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    French (sings, in Cajun French)
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    [PETE] You see it's a girl, she says "Where have you been?
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    my good husband, where have you been my good old man, you're the best drinker
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    in the country [STUDS] laughs [PETE] and he answers, I'm gonna
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    go out to get drunk" It goes on for about ten verses. Well you know
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    I recognized that melody, and when I heard the words it reminded me I heard