Published Jun 15, 2016When a musician wins their first Grammy late in their career, it's typically viewed as a consolatory award, usually given to an album unworthy of the prestige (see Jethro Tull, Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock). But when legendary folkie Pete Seeger won the 1996 Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album for Pete, it was well deserved; Pete was one of the best LPs of his career, not to mention the best folk releases of that year.
On his 46th LP, Seeger — an expert storyteller, often accompanied by just his guitar and banjo — reimagined some of his classic repertoire with the help of the Paul Winter Consort, Pe De Boi's Power Samba Band and three different choral groups to create one of the most eclectic and joyful releases of his long career, well worth a revisit.
This retrospective reissue's three new compositions range from charming ("Huddie Ledbetter Was a Helluva Man") to inventive ("Russian Song: Ode to Joy") to throwaway ("Natural History (Spider's Web)"). Remastered and reissued on Paul Winter's Living Music label, Pete-Pak packages Seeger's last great studio album with a hefty DVD featuring archival live footage spanning his career, a 1997 video entitled Pete-nik and a 23-page booklet of liner notes and photos.
Although it might have been more welcome as a vinyl and digital video package, Pete-Pak nonetheless stands as a beautiful snapshot of one of folk music's most important voices. (Living Music)