The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Pete Seeger: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

with 3 comments

Wow . . . here’s one of the most electrifying moments in American folk music: Pete Seeger on the Smothers’ Brothers TV show in February, 1968. Note:

  • He plays a short set of soldier-songs, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy being the last. Waist Deep, I learned recently, was originally censored by CBS, and only allowed on-air months later.
  • His songs are not anti-soldier, despite the growing societal division of the late ’60s.
  • His humble performing style crackles with emotion: this is such a performance! And when he switches from banjo to 12-string guitar before Waist Deep, whew! It’s like an orchestra’s been let loose. The song rolls on inexorably, like the river itself.
  • Most of all, it makes me admire Pete Seeger. He so obviously and innocently feels what he sings; I want to be like that.

Pete Seeger-Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

Amazing, eh? How’s it strike you?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

Written by Monte

March 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

3 Responses

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  1. You’re too kind, my friend. This week, my PhD academic advisor was telling me that Peggy Seeger, Pete’s half-sister, is a friend of his and his wife and will be staying here in Sydney on the weekend. An interesting piece of trivia he passed on: the song “The first time ever I saw your face” was written about her. She is also a musician — a talented family, it seems!

    A very Happy Easter to you.

    Monte Says: Thanks! And another bit of trivia I recently learned on PBS: Pete Seeger introduced Martin Luther King, Jr., to “We Shall Overcome.”


    March 21, 2008 at 11:17 pm


    Monte Says: You know about everything! How do you do it?


    March 17, 2008 at 8:20 am

  3. Great video Monte

    We were watching a special on PBS the other night about Pete Seeger. The primary focus, at least at the point in the show at which we tuned in, was on his work/labor songs. What a legacy.

    Love the guitar too – I’d love to have a 12-sting like that!

    So are we over our head in the big muddy yet?

    Monte Says: Neck deep, I’d say. Today’s the 5th anniversary of Shock and Awe; 4,000 Americans are dead; God only knows how many equally precious Iraqis (the difference, perhaps, being that American babies haven’t suffered like Iraqi ones have); we’ve spent more than for any war except WWII; the economy is tanking partly over the missing billions; it’s gone on longer than all but a couple; we’re less safe than ever in history.

    And unbelievably, Republicans have nominated the Senator with the highest Presidential-support rating in the Senate, whose message, loud and clear, is: “Press on!”


    March 17, 2008 at 2:05 am

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