The sixteen selections on If I Had a Song extend the engagingly diverse guest list and wide range of song topics presented on the first volume. A few artists reappear with new contributions (Jackson Browne, this time teamed with Joan Baez for a gorgeous version of “Guantanamera”; Billy Bragg with Eliza Carthy; Kim & Reggie Harris and Magpie), but there are plenty of additional and varied voices represented (as well as Pete’s own, on five selections). Traditional “folkies” and protest singers (Arlo Guthrie, John McCutcheon, Larry Long, Guardabarranco), singer-songwriters (Eric Andersen, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, Dar Williams & Toshi Reagon, John Wesley Harding, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Joel Rafael ), alt.country stars (Steve Earle), pop-rockers (Moxy Früvous), and bluesmen (Corey Harris) all pay their respects to the 82-year-old Pete with imaginative arrangements and song choices. There are songs here that were never previously recorded, and many others that have yet to be reissued on any of Pete’s CDs, only appearing once on long-vanished Seeger LPs. One of the two collaborations between Arlo Guthrie and Pete on If I Had a Song, “66 Highway Blues,” is the first recording of one of the rare co-writing efforts by Seeger and Arlo’s father, Woody Guthrie.
Virtually all of the artists invited to participate in our three-volume tribute to Pete’s songs enthusiastically accepted. Their contributions were recorded in studios across the United States, in Canada, England, Nicaragua, Norway and elsewhere, mirroring Pete’s worldwide impact.
ReviewsSteve Earle's version of "Walking Down Death Row", Dar Williams' and Toshi Reagon's rendering of "Oh Had I a Golden Thread", Eric Andersen's "Snow, Snow", the McGarrigle Sisters' "Little Boxes", and "You Sing It to Me Too" by Guardabarranco are all outstanding interpretations of Seeger's work...For 45 years I've loaded a lunch bucket and hauled myself off to work at one job or another. Most of that time I've had a Pete Seeger song or two running around my brain, helping me remember who the good guys are. Pete Seeger somehow knows what that's like...This album is a fine tribute to a good man, one who never wavered in the good but futile fight for social and economic justice. Carry it on, Pete. - Jack Pugh