Born into folk music's first family, Peggy Seeger has blazed her own trail artistically and personally. Jean Freedman draws on a wealth of research and conversations with Seeger to tell the life story of one of music's most charismatic performers and tireless advocates. Here is the story of Seeger's multifaceted career, from her youth to her pivotal role in the American and British folk revivals, from her instrumental virtuosity to her tireless work on behalf of environmental and feminist causes, from wry reflections on the U.K. folk scene to decades as a songwriter. Freedman also delves into Seeger's fruitful partnership with Ewan MacColl and a multitude of contributions which include creating the renowned Festivals of Fools, founding Blackthorne Records, masterminding the legendary Radio Ballads documentaries, and mentoring performers in the often-fraught atmosphere of The Critics Group. Bracingly candid and as passionate as its subject, Peggy Seeger is the first book-length biography of a life set to music.
"O, how I love this book! It gives me everything I wanted to know about my friend, the salty and sweet Peggy Seeger and her unique and prolific family. All the pain is there, but so are the achievements and the joys. This book goes on my shelf next to The Mayor Of Macdougal Street, and I can offer no higher praise than that."
"Peggy Seeger has lived her life at the sharp end of folk music. Jean Freedman tells the story of this free-spirited artist and agitator."--Billy Bragg
"Freedman, a professional folklorist, is the perfect biographer for the incomparable Peggy Seeger. She skillfully weaves together insights from the many interviews she conducted with family, friends, and Peggy herself, with her own expert observations about the musical gifts and accomplishments of the folk music icon. Those of us for whom Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl were living legends will especially savor this book, but everyone will be fascinated and moved by the life of a uniquely talented musician who bridged so many divides: classical and folk music, the British and American folk scenes, and her roots in one of America's great musical families to the several lives she created in the UK and the US."--Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand and You're Wearing THAT?
"Freedman illuminates Seeger's life and career, creating a powerful, in-depth portrait of the woman, artist, activist, and champion of the folk music genre. . . . A must."--Library Journal
"An elaborately detailed investigation of Seeger's enduring musical legacy."--Booklist
"Jean Freedman's biography stands front and center in the tradition of the Seeger family's long history of active engagement in music and musical life. Peggy Seeger's father Charles wrote about 'tradition and innovation' in modern music. Her mother, the composer Ruth Crawford, made her project to 'strike a just balance' in her folk song arrangements to reach across lines of race and class. And their daughter's transformation and reinvention of the family legacy to fuel her own prodigious gifts represent yet another stage of evolution in this remarkable family. Spanning crucial decades of change in the Anglo-American folk music revivals and renewals of creativity, Peggy Seeger's passionate involvement in music, family, and politics has been well served in Jean Freedman's excellent survey of the artist, the activist, and the woman."--Judith Tick, author of Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Composer's Search for American Music