Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions Review
by Zane Ewton
Bruce Springsteen returned to his quiet side with last year's Devil's & Dust, an album that earned more attention for one line of dialogue that couldn't even be printed in most publications than for the album itself. So it is refreshing to hear We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions is a different kind of record for Springsteen.
We Shall Overcome is a celebration of the music of Pete Seeger. The life and career of Seeger deserves far more mention than there is room in this review. The month of May this year will mark Seeger's 87th year on earth. His past few recordings have been primarily for children but the past six decades show Seeger as the champion of folk music. Everything from the traditional ballads to the strong political and social activism that folk has supported.
Springsteen absolutely understands the spirit of these songs and treats them with the reverence, respect, and most importantly, humor that they deserve. The entire album was recorded in three one-day sessions in 1997, 2005 and 2006. There were no rehearsals and arrangements were made up on the spot. What you get is a fantastic album that plays like Bruce and the band are pickin' on your back porch.
Most of the performances are not of song's Seeger wrote himself but of traditional folk songs Seeger popularized in his day. Seeger was known for his spare voice and lonely banjo, a far cry from the rock bombast Springsteen is best known for. We Shall Overcome is somewhere in the middle with the band thumping on accordions, banjos, upright bass, washboards and horns.
It is an album unlike any Springsteen has ever done. It's about time
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