Tales of love and war

I was asked the other day if I would to take part in a recording of Pete Seeger’s song Where Have All The Flowers Gone? It will go out under the name of The Armistice Pals to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I. Of course I said yes. The idea comes from the band Merry Hell, with whom I am doing a gig on November 1st. It’s a great idea and a timely reminder that when folk music was most popular and relevant, it was also at it’s most political.
Pete Seeger, as well as being a wonderful singer and songwriter, also did a lot to promote civil rights in America. It is never easy to stand up against the authorities, but at that time and in that place it must have taken a lot of guts. He was the voice of the people.
Last week at the BBC Radio 1 Folk Awards I was introduced to his sister Peggy Seeger, who also has an old connection with Oysterband. I was able to tell that I was once sang on stage with Pete Seeger. It was at the Tønder festival in Denmark a few years back. At the end of the last day all the artists who were left standing, came on stage to sing Will The Circle Be Unbroken.
I didn’t mention to Peggy that when we came off, the crowd wanted more and started singing. I can’t remember the song, it might have been We Shall Overcome. There was a quick discussion, ‘Shall we go back? Shall we just join in with their singing? Yes. What key are they in?’ Seeger said ‘G, the peoples key!’ So we went back and joined in, but they were actually singing in C. Well, they are all the people’s keys.