« Dancing Parrots | Main | Real Life Comes Later - After Death »

May 03, 2009



The words of Bells of Rhymney were written by the Welsh poet Idris Davies:


Seeger just wrote the music. Probably the best version is by Oysterband.

Mick H

And the Turn! Turn! Turn! lyrics are from Ecclesiastes.

Sanctimonious. That's a word I should have used in there somewhere.


In Scorcese's No Direction Home, I think Seeger himself claims that he wanted to pull the plug at Newport because he was concerned for his elderly father who was distressed at all the noise. This is a creepy form of dishonesty - the excuse of a person unable to take responsibility for his own anger & who conceals his aggression behind "concern" for others. I for one have always found Seeger's voice as sinister as his niceness.


The Lomax recordings of Jelly Roll Morton are interesting stuff, though. Morton, of course, was an actual musician - God alone knows what category Seeger should be assigned to. Jackanapes Pursuivant? Primary School Teacher in Waiting?
I can remember seeing a few bits of Folk Music shows on the telly when I was young. They were remarkable mainly for assembling audiences who couldn't clap in time.


In fairness, I seem to recall Seeger repudiated Stalin a few years ago.

I mean, OK. Lots of people got around to it earlier. Sure, you could say a more farsighted and perceptive thinker might've started having some doubts about Stalin -- some questions in his mind, if you will -- as early as the mid-90s. But the fact remains, and you have to give him credit for this, he ultimately did take a not altogether ambiguous stand against Josef Stalin.

Has Chomsky?


er... most self respecting Marxist/Leninists had more than questions in their mind about Stalin (& the Soviet Union for that matter) as far back as 1939 when Uncle Joe signed a pact with Hitler. There were doubts about him before that but there was never a valid reason for being a Stalinist after he cuddled up with the Nazis never mind the subsequent revelations of his penchant for mass murder - which were a surprise to nobody surely?
It does seem unfair to pick on dimwits like Seeger who was, after all, only a naff folky with no political power. Yes very Primary School Teacher but not the kind I would feel comfortable leaving my kids with - far too nice/passive-aggressive.
This aside there does seem to be an anti-liberal revisionism abroad in blogdom that appears intent on demolishing American post-war left-wing idealism. Seeger is a very very soft target and condemning him as a Stalinist seems a bit hysterical. Gives me a queasy McCarthy kind of feeling.


And Little Boxes. I was allways troubled by this song, what did it mean? Was it a cheap snear at the Hyacinth Buckles of this world or Stalinist approval of social engineering and the nova hutas.


Re politics in the Blogdom.

North Northwester

I always disliked Little Boxes as a child - it was, I think, played of Children's Choice (Children's Favourites?) on the BBC on weekend mornings alongside Tubby the Tuba and The Ugly Duckling and all that stuff.
Now I think of it and look at the lyrics as an adult, I'm inclined to think it's a Left-wing satire of the conformity of the American middle class: law abiding, productive, and optimistic. You know - civilized. Unlike Seeger's Stalinist friends who of course were all rugged individualists and a bit untidy in the countries they ruled - at least until the trenches were filled in and grassed over, or snowed over.

The comments to this entry are closed.