Originally released in 1966, this outstanding album was my first exposure to "earth songs" or environmental music. Re-released on CD in 1998, this album is an absolute must-have for those who enjoy environmental music!
Unfortunately, the message it delivers is just as relevant today as it was 33 years ago. Nevertheless, in characteristic Seeger style, none of these songs are preachy; in fact most use a delightful dose of humor to convey the message!
The satirical tone of many of the songs are somewhat belied by the liner notes. The original liner notes include an eloquent essay about wilderness preservation and conservation written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. How prescient he was! He wrote:
"Wilderness use covers a variety of multiple uses - refuges for elk and goats, hiking and horseback travel, fishing, watershed protection, and the maintenance of the biotic community in complete ecological balance. These values cannot be preserved if logging, highways, hot dog stands, and motels take over... We want some of the original America left in its primitive condition so that one hundred years from now a lad can walk the hills in the manner of Daniel Boone and see what God has wrought."
The entire Douglas essay is also included with the CD album, along with a comprehensive description of Pete Seeger's career and the songs on the album.
Long concerned with the cause of labor and civil rights, peace, and freedom in general, in the mid-60's Pete Seeger became concerned about pollution and the environment. His song, "My Dirty Stream (The Hudson River Song)" became the linchpin for the album God Bless the Grass. The bulk of the original 18 songs on the album were produced in recording sessions in June, 1965. Noted songwriter Malvina Reynolds composed six of the songs on the album: "70 Miles," "The Faucets Are Dripping," "Cement Octopus," "God Bless the Grass," "From Way Up Here," and a bonus track on the CD, "There'll Come a Time." Two of the songs extoll the beauty of America: Phil Ochs' "The Power and the Glory," and Eric Anderson's "My Land is A Good Land." Traditional folk songs and a number of unique compositions such as Peter La Farge's, "Coyote, My Little Brother," round out the album.
Pete Seeger put his environmental concern not only into music, but into an unique environmental education organization, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater , which still operates today!
In addition to the original 18 songs, three songs recorded by Pete at the original 1965 recording sessions have been included on the CD: An instrumental "America the Beautiful," a very short and satirical "Business," and Malvina Reynolds' vision of ecological calamity, "There'll Come a Time."
Here's the complete song list for the album:
The Power and the Glory, Pretty Saro, 70 Miles, The Faucets Are Dripping, Cement Octopus, God Bless the Grass, The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood, Coal Creek March, The Girl I Left Behind, I have a Rabbit, The People Are Scratching, Coyote My Little Brother, Preserven El Parque Elysian, My Dirty Stream (The Hudson River Song), Johnny Riley, Barbara Allen (Instrumental), From Way Up Here, My Land is a Good Land, America the Beautiful (Instrumental), Business, There'll Come a Time .
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