Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pete Seeger’

We lost a legend today, banjo pickin folk singer Pete Seeger died at the age of 94. We grew up on his songs: “Where Have All the Flowers Gone;” and “To Everything Turn Turn Turn, there is a season;” and “If I had a Hammer.” I remember hearing the Byrds play “Turn Turn Turn” live at MIT in Boston in 1967. Before the Beatles invaded, Seeger had been singing about the plight of Everyman and because he was a Communist, he suffered the economic consequences of poverty first hand. His band, the Weavers, was banned from the airwaves of the 1950s.

“Pete Seeger towered over the folk scene like a mighty redwood for 75 years. He travelled with Woody Guthrie in the 1940s, stood up to Joe McCarthy in the 50s, marched with Dr Martin Luther King in the 60s. His songs will be sung wherever people struggle for their rights. We shall overcome.” Billy Brag via Twitter.

Seeger’s legacy is a lesson to modern musicians. You don’t have to just reflect history, you can change it if you stay the course. UnknownDid you watch the Grammys? I turned it off, and not just because Downton Abbey was about to start, though that was a perfectly good reason. You know I love Mrs Carter (aka Beyonce), but her Flashdance chair opening left me wanting to channel surf. First of all they bleeped half the lyrics, and then the production took over. I love that she’s a feminist, that she dropped her own album on the world, without benefit of a major label, but only a star with Beyonce’s following can afford to produce a record, only a star who is worth 850 Million with her rapper husband JayZ.

It seems that now behind every hit song, including “Roar” and “Wrecking Ball” is a magical mogul named Doctor Luke. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/14/131014fa_fact_seabrook  Sometimes I cringe knowing that a catchy pop tune is just a template that some con artist dreamed up. At least Beyonce and JayZ collaborated with a group to come up with “Drunk in Love.” And awarding the Best New Song of the Year to a young singer, Lorde for “Royals” — Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor, songwriters – was a step in the right direction.

Since the Rocker’s been in the business, I got  a close and personal look at how the music industry has changed. I understand why Prince is suing 22 people for 22 Million for pirating his music http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25927363 The only way for young musicians today to make a living is to hit the road, to sell merchandise and build a fan base, Because they get just pennies on the dollar of every download, and most people are listening to Spotify and Pandora for free. Album CD sales are lagging, technology is pushing the change, but a ray of hope can still appear.

New Jersey artist Nicole Atkins has decided to fight back. I wrote about her before, when she was dating a member of the Rocker’s band and driving cross country in a van. Called a female Roy Orbison, when she appeared on David Letterman last year, he actually walked up to her and shook her hand, “That was great, that was beautiful, wasn’t it boys,” something he rarely does with an artist. Her voice is as smooth as sea glass and her moods as gritty as Jersey sand. She went ahead with the help of a crowdfunding site, Pledge Music, to produce her new album, “Slow Phaser.”  It’s scheduled to be released next month and you can pre-order on iTunes here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/slow-phaser/id778534906

President Clinton called Pete Seeger an “inconvenient artist.” IMHO, we need more of them!

Read Full Post »

On this Veteran’s Day, I’d like to pay tribute to my four brothers.

Michael Edward Lynn passed away last year, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/sports/mike-lynn-former-vikings-general-manager-dies-at-76.html?_r=0 but I remember when our younger brother Jim received his First Lieutenant Bar and  Mike had to salute him! He was 22 by the time I moved back with my family of birth., and was already out in the world seeking his fortune. But Mike served the Army proudly in Korea.

James Joseph Lynn was an Intelligence Officer in Vietnam. My psychologist brother had just graduated from Columbia University when he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Monterey Language School. He met his wife in California and only told me one story about the war. He was at the bar on the top floor of the officer’s club in Saigon when an air raid siren rang out in the night. Only one guy did what he was supposed to do, go back to his bunker. That was the soldier who was shot by a stray bullet.

It made a big impression on teenage me, that subtle message of karma, bravery, and fate all rolled into one little anecdote.

Eric Berla (step-brother) was an original beatnik. He introduced me to Pete Seeger and rebellion. We were both against the war.  Not wanting to kill anyone, but still having to face the draft, he enlisted as a pilot and flew Med Evac helicopters all over Vietnam. I imagined it was like being in a continuous replay of MASH, but in fact most of his fellow pilots never made it home. The red cross on his Huey was like a target.

John (Brian) Cerullo (half-brother) was career Air Force. He was stationed in Germany and later married a German woman. The Flapper’s second child never went to college but rose through the ranks and wrote books about radar, finally becoming a teacher. Though I didn’t know him well, I think we share a certain dry sense of humor.

Here we are at the wedding: Jim is seated in the red tie, and Eric is behind him to the right. Mike’s wife Jorja is in red, but he and Brian were not able to travel. I’m so proud of my brothers, but somehow just saying thank you for your service doesn’t seem like enough.

J&M  0984

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: