A friend of mine, Peter Stone Brown, posted this Saturday August 8th in the rec.music.dylan usenet group:
Last last month it was revealed that Mike Seeger was suffering from Leukemia, and that it had gotten much worse and he declined treatment and entered a hospice. Mike Seeger died last night at home with his family at age 75.
Mike Seeger was an incalculable influence on Bob Dylan, and he wrote about him extensively in Chronicles.
I saw Mike Seeger last May on the New Lost City Ramblers farewell tour. At the time, I did not know the reason for the farewell, and from Seeger's performance that night, you would have never known anything was wrong or amiss. He was a brilliant musician and a very aware and very hip (in the original and best sense of the word person). He excelled on just about every string instrument imaginable and was the only person I ever saw play fiddle and harmonica at the same time.
Here are some relevant quotes from Chronicles:
"He was extraordinary, gave me an eerie feeling. Mike was unprecedented. He was like a duke, the knight errant. As for being a folk musician he was the supreme archetype. He could push a stake through Dracula's black heart. He was the romantic, egalitarian and revolutionary all at once -- had chivalry in his blood."
"He played on all the various planes, the full index of the old-time styles, played in all the genres and had the idiots mastered -- Delta blues, ragtime, minstrel songs, buck-and-wing, dance reels, play party, hymns and gospel -- being there and seeing him up close, something hit me. It's not just as if he just played everything well, he played these songs as good as it was possible to play them."
"I listened to The New Lost City Ramblers. Everything about them appealed to me - their style, their singing, their sound. I liked the way they looked, the way they dressed and especially I liked their name. Their songs ran the gamut in styles, everything from from mountain ballads to fiddle tunes and railroad blues. All their songs vibrated with some dizzy, portentous truth. I'd stay with The Ramblers for days. At the time, I didn't know that they were replicating everything they did off old 78 records, but what would it have mattered anyway? It wouldn't have mattered at all. For me, they had originality in spades, were men of mystery on all counts. I couldn't listen to them enough."
Mike Seeger and Bob Dylan recorded "The Ballad Of Hollis Brown" for Seeger's album Third Annual Reunion (available on Rounder Records). While the person who post this to YouTube has the info totally wrong, you can listen to that version here, which was recorded Los Angeles on May 19, 1993. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Oz8z26VnE
Gentlemen, if you aint right, git right. Mike was a half brother of Pete Seeger, who just reached 90, 15 years Mike's senior. Peggy Seeger is still touring. An amazing family.
No matter how the wacko conservative right-wingers bring all kinds of other stories into the picture, the reason they hated Ted Kennedy was not the negligent vehicular homicide or the wealth his family bestowed upon him at birth - it was that he was the most powerful liberal over the last 40 odd years and every single piece of legislation they hate over those 40 years has his fingerprints on it. He was, in short, their worst nightmare. How dare he care about the poor & sick & old & discriminated against. How dare he desert the entitlement of the super rich & powerful to help them all amass even more wealth & power and instead become a...a...a liberal!
It is not often that we get to observe the story-line of the creative process being shaped by someone looking as if she were only on the sidelines, but if there was anyone who may have tangentially altered the course of recent history in a more amazing way, it was the now, sadly late, Suze Rotolo. Suze may have been rudely discarded by Bob's own callous pushing on towards the Light of Stardom, but we, the world at large, are all so much the luckier to have all the songs she inspired and also a great sense of the power of the artistic movement in the 60's.
For those of you in the dark, she appears on the cover of Bob's Freewheeling Bob Dylan album, clutching onto him in the vicious cold New York winter, exuding a smile that gave us all, at the time when we were young, the sense that anything was possible....... 50-60 songs easy.
Elvis Costello’s hate letter to Thatcher, Tramp the Dirt Down — sample lyrics: “when they finally put you in the ground, I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down” — may rank as the nastiest, but Billy Bragg was arguably better known for railing against the Iron Lady in song. He’s had more than one gem on the topic — Thatcherites, Waiting for the Great Leap Forward, Between the Wars — and will likely trot them out tonight for his show at MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary.
it says bob Dylan once called him a saint and he responded "what a terrible thing to call someone."
excerpted from Bob's 11 Outlined Epitaphs on the notes to his 3rd album, Times They Are A-Changin':
with the sounds of Franois Villon echoin' through my mad streets as I sumble on lost cigars of Bertolt Brecht an' empty bottles of Brendan Behan the hypnotic words of Al Lloyd each one bendin' like its own song an' the woven spell of Paul Clayton entrancin' me like China's plague unescapable drownin' in the lungs of Edith Piaf an' in the mystery of Marlene Dietrich the dead poems of Eddie Freeman love songs of Allen Ginsberg an' jail songs of Ray Bremser the narrow tunes of Modigliani an' the singin' plains of Harry Jackson the cries of Charles Aznavour through the quiet fire of Miles Davis above the bells of William Blake an' beat visions of Johnny Cash an' the saintliness of Pete Seeger