Monday, January 19, 2009

the sign didn't say nothin' on the other side

Pete Seeger (born 1919) hasn't been singing much the last few years. He's lost his voice. We saw him about three years ago at an annual gathering of the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the Spanish Civil War and there he for the most part played banjo, joining in a few choruses.

But yesterday Pete sang loudly and joyfully.

Pete and Bruce Springsteen and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger led the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday afternoon in a full rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," and--perhaps as a herald of the moment--added the radical verses often left out. Here's one:

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

And here's one about economic hard times:

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

It is, Pete, it is.