What else’ve you got in your
Following the amazing success of my rediscovered John Lee Hooker tapes, (see page 10), Bruce Bastin of InterState Music of London, asked me, “What else have got in your cellar, Gene?” The answer to that question is the newly issued double-CD album, “PETE SEEGER IN PRAGUE 1964”
And it worked! Pete’s appearance here directly led to the amazing popularity of American country music among the Czechs! Unfortunately we had been unable to convince the authorities to record Pete at all, so it was up to me to privately preserve Pete’s musical legacy to
Czechoslovakia. I brought my big stereo recorder, and the best electret-condenser microphones of the time, and Pete brought his banjo and 12-strting guitar, and also a home-made banjo, a mandolin, and some flutes. This was Pete Seeger the performer, the musical scholar at his peak! It’s all finally been beautifully restored on this 2-CD album of the complete recordings. Along with Pete personally speaking his notes at age 82 in 2001.
The result of Pete's historic 1984 Prague concert, and my recording of it, which was originally issued on a Czech Supraphon LP, actually changed musical history in this nation, where American country music is now a significan part of the cultural landscape, Pete is 87 years old in 2006, and can no longer sing, but his songs live on with current American folk music master Martin Zak and his group Stara Almara.
Pete Seeger is 90!
As I write this in the spring of 2009, Pete is celebrating his 90th birthday. He’s been through a lot, eventually becoming an American National Treasure. He’s my treasure also, as a close personal friend for 65 years. We met when I lived in Hollywood, in 1945. In honor of his grand birthday, I’d like to show you a little video he made for me last year when I was involved in a Prague music festival. It has a smash ending!Take a look.
The God Gene
No, no, that’s s not me, but it is the cover story in TIME magazine’s November 29th 2004 issue. But many of the thoughts and questions raised in the story have occurred to me over the years.
|A rediscovered letter to my former wife, Marie, from 1969, which I came across in the process of moving, and which was not quoted in my book, “For The Love of Prague.” It is scanned from a copy of the typewritten original.
Thanks for your letter of earlier this month. I have already written Seth to Camp Rowel1, and sent him a couple of snaps from our vacation trip.
Also thanks for including the NYTIMES editorial, but I had already read it. I subscribe to the International HERALD-TRIBUNE2, which is published (in Paris) "with the Washington Post and The New York Times," and includes all internationally significant material and editorials from those papers.
The stinging truth in editorials such as the one you sent me has just yesterday resulted in the closing down of the New York Times bureau here in Prague, only re-opened last year in the olden Dubček Days.
Yesterday was indeed a terrible day. Perhaps the shock we had last year, to walk down "our" streets and see "their" tanks, was even outdone by walking down "our" streets and seeing "our" tanks!
Truth and honor have vanished everywhere in the world during these dark days. I am keeping my eyes open for the appearance of a tall, slim, black monolith.
My eyes are still smarting from tear gas, really a very unpleasant thing, and my spirits are indeed low.
It's ironic that in yesterday's mail, (miraculously, it did arrive in spite of all hell breaking loose), was another huge packet of American revolutionary and "underground" papers and magazines which Pete Seeger regularly sends me. Some of them, the strict Moscow-liners, even had singing class-struggle apologias, nay, acclamations of the Soviet occupation here. one was written by a (former) Czech woman who "knew what she was talking about," because she revisited the CSSR3 in June, 1968, after having escaped the starvation here in 1927. When she saw all of the "great new housing developments," etc. etc., she was thrilled by the great "accomplishments of socialism," She apparently didn't bother to look at Austria, or what is now West Germany, which were also starving in 1927. As I have now lived here continuously for almost ten years now, I think I know a great deal more about what the people really live with here, and what they really think, than this "Genuine Czech." It's strange that in none of the U.S. or local Communist hymnals does anybody talk about what the people want - only that the "intervention" was "needed to save socialism."
Needed by whom?
Incredibly, this very morning the Prague Radio had a comment on the immorality and inhumanity in the USA, where the army is “used against its own people.”
When I heard this with my own ears, it made me wonder at what it was I saw yesterday with my own tear-gassed eyes.
Bill Snyder insisted on timing his latest arrival in Prague just at this time, so as to make up for the excitement he missed by not being here yesterday, and he actually got rubber-billied on the ass right in front of the Alcron Hotel!
No kidding, right on the old duff! He claims that it's all black and blue, but I haven't inspected it personally.
There are many people walking through the streets of Prague today with flaming red-rimmed eyes, and they have plenty to cry about without the help of teargas.
Did you know that there are over 4 million civilian Americans living outside the USA around the world? How come we don't have our own representation in Congress, and an easier time voting? Americans abroad are expatriates but not ex-patriots, and we engage in many activities to the benefit of the USA. Most importantly, we have to pay taxes to the American IRS no matter where in the world we have income. "Taxation without representation" is what our Revolutionary War was fought for. We far-flung Americans are in the same situation that Britain once had us in!
|The Occasional Deitch is 21 Years Old in 2009!
I started this thing as a silly New Years greeting in 1988, reminiscent of my boyhood amateur newspaper hobby.
Here is the front page of the first edition, printed out on a dot-matrix printer, with crude graphics, then copied on green paper,and mailed out to about 100 friends, colleagues, and relatives.I carried this on for at least 10 years, until the mailing list grew beyond my copying, enveloping, addressing, and mailing capacity. Now, this online version allows “occasional” updating throughout the year, and reaches out to bore thousands, perhaps millions!