Where have all the flowers gone?
On the plane, he pulled out his pocket-size song notebook: "Leafing through it, I came across three lines I'd written down, oh, at least a year or two before: 'Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they've all taken husbands. Where are the men, they're all in the army.'"The creation of one of the greatest lean forward songs of all time described in How Can I From Keep Singing: Pete Seeger by David Dunaway. Many happy returns to Pete who is 90 today. He sings 'Where have all the flowers gone?' with Arlo Guthrie in the video when still a youthful 74. Pete Seeger is a global treasure, as Benjamin Britten confirmed. More Pete Seeger paths here.
He'd read this in a novel by Mikhail Sholokhov, And Quiet Flows the Don; the three lines came from a Ukrainian folk song. For a year he had searched around for the original song, then given up, jotting down this fragment in hopes of using it some day. This time he glanced at the words, and "things just slipped into place."
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Once again the BBC have shown with Radio 4 that they can produce intelligent and informed radio. What a contrast to the cringe inducing banalities of Radio 3.
I dipped into the latter network last week but was forced to re-tune to Radio 4 after a few minutes of vacuous chatter by a classical-jock which included the following - 'the organist playing the organ on that recording was Simon Preston'.
Your "lean forward" comment just begins to describe the effect that banjo has on people. Just last night I played it in a Dixieland group at a fund raiser, and as always, some people came up to say how they loved banjo music. There was a "Peanuts" cartoon way back that said everyone should be issued a banjo at birth.
Also back in the 60's Pete Seeger put together a book called "How to play the 5 string Banjo" and it's one of the best instructional books I've ever used for any instrument. It lays out all the info and ways of playing the banjo in simple, straight forward language. It lets you learn what you want, how you want.
"He sings 'Where have all the flowers gone?' with Arlo Guthrie in the video"
Just in case anyone is uncertain, Guthrie is the one in the shadows on the far left in the wide shots. The one beside Seeger is Tao Rodriguez, I believe.
And, of course, Tao Rodriguez is Pete Seeger's grandson -