Bruce Springsteen: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
An album of sedition by John Gowland
This is Springsteen’s only album of recorded songs of other artist’s songs but honours 87 year old Pete
Seeger, political activist, protest singer and populariser of America's folk heritage. It’s like
Springsteen is saying “Hey they aint my songs.” But listen to the story.
The music swings between Hill Billy to New Orleans jazz. It crashes, bangs and whistles, you know you
are in a war then in a huge demonstration of anger against the war in Iraq.
The sound is gutsy and gritty as well as lyrically excellent. This is one angry album and artist,
clearly anti war, perhaps the best anti war album ever.
Many tracks have a religious bent, as much American folk does, but that is the disguise for sedition. In
“Oh, Mary, don't you weep,” the line “Pharaoh's army got drownded.” is a clear reference to a powerful
army getting destroyed in the Middle East. Again “One o these nights bout 12 o’clock this world is gonna
But it is not just an album that reflects billions of peoples anger against the USA war on Iraq and
threats of one against Iran, it’s also an album of working class struggle, pain, loss and hope hence the
title “We Shall Overcome”.
Springsteen is no socialist, although he has always been openly anti American war and pro Trade Union
and pro worker, he has given to striking miners not only in the USA but also supported striking
Liverpool Dockers in the UK.
He has for decades been the hero of the American working class.
Many more artists need to make a stand on these important issues, “The Boss” as he is reluctantly known,
needs to be saluted for a brave stance he has taken. Yes he is a multi millionaire, but his roots have
always been with workers everywhere and his message is clear.
Springsteen has a message for socialists and workers internationally. In the hymn-derived civil rights
anthem “Eyes on the prize” he sings “Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on….. The very moment we
thought we was lost, Dungeon shook and the chains come off….. Only thing that we did wrong was stayin'
in the wilderness so long…. Only thing that we did right was the day we begun to fight.”
Get the album and be inspired, you may even start dancing.
Pharaoh's army got drowned and we shall overcome.
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