This final, GRAMMY-nominated installment in the Appleseed label's trilogy of celebrations of Pete Seeger's music ("Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "If I Had a Song" are the first two volumes) is a 2-CD set that opens with Pete's first disc of new recordings since his 1996 Grammy winner, Pete. On disc one, 84-year-old Pete, family members (grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger and half-sister Peggy) and musical friends (Arlo Guthrie, Anne Hills, and Tom Pacheco, among others) perform songs he wrote, adapted or adopted. Several pro-peace songs here were recorded even as the U.S. was invading Iraq, including an updated version of the Vietnam-era "Bring Them Home" featuring guest vocalists Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco and Steve Earle. Other songs on disc one range from the lighthearted ("English is Cuh-ray-zee," "Maple Syrup Time") and optimistic ("A Little a' This 'n' That," "Over the Rainbow") to pained political outrage ("Estadio Chile") and social commentary ("Take It from Dr. King," "Visions of Children"), concluding with the autumnal tranquility of "Sailing Down My Golden River."
The second disc presents exclusive recordings of Seeger-related songs by a diverse assortment of highly respected folk musicians. Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Natalie Merchant, Pete's fellow ex-Weaver Ronnie Gilbert, Holly Near and many others explore some of the lesser known entries in Seeger's repertoire. Highpoints include Pat Humphries' cover versions of Pete's meditations on the circle of life ("Old Devil Time" and "To My Old Brown Earth"), a slow, almost psychedelic rendition of "Bells of Rhymney" by Dick Gaughan, Natalie Merchant's fierce "Which Side Are You On," and Janis Ian's quietly bitter take on "Who Killed Norma Jean."
Both discs are interspersed with spoken comments by Pete, and the packing includes a 28-page booklet with extensive liner notes by Pete himself detailing the inspiration behind many of these songs.