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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?


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Written by Monte

March 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

Waist Deep in The Big Muddy

with 2 comments

A high school kid in the late ’60s, I was profoundly stirred by Pete Seeger’s defiant song, and have been thinking of it often lately. I was moved again today, coming across it at the blog of my friend Servant, Ressentiment.

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy – Pete Seeger

Here’s part of what Servant wrote:

Pete Seeger wrote this song in 1963, and in 1967 he sang it on the Smothers Brothers show. CBS decided that the allegory was a little too clear between President Johnson and the big fool of the song, so they censored it. Seeger said much later that people ask him if music can change the way people feel about war. He said he can’t prove it, but the people in power seem to think it does …

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm