I never slept well last night, and the passing of Pete Seeger kept drifting in and out of my head, the following thoughts occurred to me.
If there's an afterlife it's going to have a lot more singing in it now - I love the way Pete always made the song the star of a performance, and encouraged everyone to sing along.
When someone has a full life and dies at a ripe old age I'm inclined to feel that rather than mourning, we should be celebrating... but that doesn't apply for Pete Seeger - a world without Pete Seeger is a very much diminished one, we should be mourning for a world that has to get on without him.
We should all rest a little less peacefully without Pete Seeger to be a champion of song and people.
This afternoon I read the transcript of Pete's appearance before the HUAC in 1955 - in which he deals with incredible dignity an outrageous grilling - this made me smile... I assume he actually sang the last line - which makes it beautiful and funny and remarkable.
MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before. Of course, I would be curious to know what you think of a song like this very great Negro spiritual, “I’m Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield, Down by the Riverside.”
MR. TAVENNER: That is not at all responsive to my question.