al stewart

P e g g y ..S e e g e r

beach full of shells

Peggy Seeger
Three Score and Ten


“This two-CD live concert recording from May 2005 commemorates Peggy’s 70th birthday while painting a wonderful intimate musical portrait of Peggy’s work and life. . . . Although Peggy pays homage to traditional songs and she generously shares the spotlight with her friends and family, it’s Peggy’s own star that shines brightly in the performances of her own material. Peggy’s indefatigable spirit still rouses and inspires us in her feminist anthem form the 70’s ‘Gonna Be An Engineer.’ A special treat are Peggy’s spoken word poems, including her striking rendition of  ‘My Mother is Younger than Me’ and the moving interplay of the poem she wrote for her husband Ewan and his song to her that most of us know as Roberta Flack’s 1970’s pop hit ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.’ Three Score and Ten is a tribute that can’t even begin to illustrate the numerous and important works of this artist/activist, but I hope will motivate those who listen to dig deeper into her history and song.”
– Kari Estrin, Sing Out!, Summer 2007

“. . . In May 2005 [Peggy] returned to England to celebrate her 70th birthday and gathered together an amazing group of traditional players and singers including members of her own family. Three Score and Ten documents this joyous concert with two CDs full of great songs and special memories. Seeger is a master musician in her own right, switching easily between guitar, banjo, concertina, piano and autoharp as well as leading or being part of all the evening’s vocal chores. She’s also a genial and warm master of ceremonies. She began the evening with an American version of ‘The Hangman,’ performed solo before filling up the stage with her famous friend. Pretty soon, Eliza Carthy was playing fiddle on the ‘Fiddling Soldier,’ while Seeger’s sons Neill and Calumn MacColl joined in on ‘Logan County Jail.’ . . .  The evening’s first set  ended with a wonderful duet between Seeger and Billy Bragg on her ode to women’s independence, ‘Darling Annie’ before Bragg led the cast through a rousing rendition of the pro-union song ‘If You Want a Better Life.’ The second set opened with some very intimate and personal notes, as Seeger shared her tribute  to her late husband, both in ‘Poem for Ewan’ and her rendition of his love song to her, ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.’ . . . Seeger performed a loving tribute to her late mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, a composer, arranger, pianist teacher and the first woman awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for music. The concert then turned to other family matters, as brother Mike Seeger came on stage to play old favorites such as ‘When First Unto This Country,’ ‘Soldier’s Farewell,’ and ‘Quill Ditty.’  Pete Seeger joined his siblings for the traditional ‘Cindy,’ making this the first-ever recording of the three Seegers together. Pete performed a short solo set highlighted by a stunning rendition of ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ before Peggy treated the crowd to her signature song, ‘Gonna Be An Engineer.’ The evening wrapped up with a lovely rendition of ‘Careless Love,’ sung by mothers and daughters Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy and Peggy Seeger and Kitty MacColl, backed by Neill and Calum MacColl.”
– Lahri Bond, Dirty Linen, August-September 2007

“There’s a celebratory informality to the proceedings . . . It’s also particularly pleasing to hear Peggy Seeger so relaxed, in her element on her rhythmically infectious ‘Different Therefore Equal’ and in sparkling form on the chilling ‘Caveman’, a stinging indictment of man’s inhumanity to man. Her duet with Billy Bragg on her own ‘Darling Annie’ is another highpoint . . . Her power with words is beautifully expressed on her ‘My Mother is Younger Than Me’. The duets with brother Mike . . . particularly stand out as does the version of American popular folksong ‘Cindy’, on which she’s also joined by brother Pete and which, appropriately enough, sets the seal on a delightful album.”
– Sean McGhee, Rock ’n’ Reel, July/August 2007

“It’s hard to imagine a better birthday bash than the one commemorating Peggy Seeger’s 70th, a multigenerational London concert that served as both a family reunion and a gathering of the transatlantic folk-traditionalist tribes. . . . An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, a prolific songwriter, and a luminous vocalist, Peggy commands center stage through most of this two-disc set, while joined by both of her brothers, the husband-and-wife team of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson along with their daughter Eliza Carthy, and acolytes including Billy Bragg. From the feminist anthemry of ‘Different Therefore Equal’ and ‘Gonna Be an Engineer’ to the pointed protest of ‘Cavemen’ to the poems and performances she dedicates to her late husband, her late mother, and her current partner, Irene Pyper-Scott, her concert exemplifies a life well lived with love, humor, and purpose.” 
– Don McLeese, Editorial Review

“Turning up for folk music luminary Peggy Seeger’s 70th birthday bash in London almost two years ago were brother Mike Seeger and half-brother Pete Seeger, plus an additional cast of offspring, friends and kindred spirits, including Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy and Billy Bragg. Listening to Three Score and Ten, a double-disc recording of the event, you get the feeling that there's always another grateful Peggy Seeger devotee waiting in the wings. Of course, there are lots of family-brand banjo sounds from Mike and Pete, though Peggy also picks up the instrument when she isn't playing piano, concertina, autoharp or guitar. . . . The second disc, incidentally, opens on an elegiac note, with Peggy reciting a poem she wrote for late husband Ewan MacColl, best known on this side of the Atlantic for composing ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.’ Seeger, who inspired that lyric, then quietly segues into a wistful, warmly affecting rendition of MacColl’s signature ballad. It's among the reasons why Three Score and Ten seems to hold double-digit rewards.”
– Mike Joyce, Washington Post

“For her 70th birthday party, Peggy Seeger hosted a big concert that celebrated traditional folksong, plus political and social songs from her own catalog and those of her esteemed peers. And such a peerage gathered for this event! Peggy’s joined by her brother Mike, her half-brother Pete, and a slew of great British musicians, including Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, and Billy Bragg. A festive mood and two CDs worth of great songs put this in the ‘essential’ category.
– Gene Hyde, CD Hotlist: New Releases for Libraries

“Peggy Seeger has been involved in folk music since the '50s, even before the folk revival kicked into high gear. She's always practiced a more traditional strain of folk music like her half-brother Pete Seeger, and while her vocals were quite distinct, her recordings have been too few and hard to find. Three Score and Ten serves to remind folk fans, then, of Seeger's long commitment to the field as well as her talent as a singer and musician. The two-disc live set celebrates her 70th birthday in a manner befitting a well-respected insider. Seeger takes center stage, and she's joined by a number of well-known comrades in a variety of vocal and instrumental configurations which include Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, and Norma Waterson. Pete Seeger performs his own ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone,’ while Mike Seeger performs ‘Quill Ditty.’ Highlights include Peggy Seeger's ‘Different Therefore Equal,’ a folk-rap of sorts backed by propulsive bodhran and spoons. There's also a group singalong behind Bragg on ‘If You Want a Better Life.’ In a way, the listener will feel as though she has been invited to an intimate, private party on Three Score and Ten, a party where she is surrounded by friends, memories, and lots of good music.”
– Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., All Music Guide

“Of course, an audio disc cannot capture the excitement of getting last-minute tickets to a sold-out show, the beauty of the South Bank venue, and the buzz one feels just being in the audience, but this double-disc set does a great job of faithfully delivering the good vibrations made musically and emotionally by the artists involved. . . . The individuals involved have performed with each other many times during the past decades and have an easy rapport. They joke and tell stories, but mostly they play Peggy Seeger songs and familiar tunes from the traditional repertoire. The 70-year-old honoree has been a social activist her whole life and her self-penned compositions reflect this. She sings here with her guests about Che Guevara, human rights, and the cost of war. Seeger also performs her celebrated feminist anthem, ‘Gonna Be an Engineer.’ . . . Judging by Seeger’s liveliness, she should be around to celebrate many more birthdays.” 
– Steve Horowitz,