At last June's Gathering of the People's Music Network I sang a song I wrote eleven years ago and sang for the first time, coincidentally, on Pete's 70th birthday. I hadn't sung it in public for a long while, but I was encouraged when Charlie King, among others, praised it. I'll post the words here, if anyone cares, and you can e-mail me at email@example.com if you'd like a copy with the music. I don't know if Pete ever heard the recording of the workshop where I sang the song (it was a workshop of "Songs of Pete Seeger," led by Ben Tousley), but maybe he'll see it if it's here. I hope he sees all the other wonderful wishes sent to him today. The title, "Keep Him Singing," refers to a button his supporters wore in the early 60's, when Pete was being interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee. He didn't take the Fifth Amendment, as many did, to protect him from self-incrimination. Pete invoked the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, claiming that the Committee had no right to ask him those questions in the first place.
I'll tell you of a man, Pete Seeger is his name, His music and folksinging have earned him much fame. And I'll tell you a story 'bout the life that he's led The road that he's taken, few may dare to tread,
Chorus: So keep him singing, keep him singing, Keep that old guitar and banjo ringing. He hears our voice, he sings our song, Keep him singing by singing along.
In this land of the free he took many a bold stand, And found himself in prison, from stage and TV banned. But still he never wavered from the course he felt was right, He kept his light shining like a beacon in the night,
Like a redwood in the forest, he stands so proud and tall, For peace, love, justice and dignity for all. Now some songs come and go, and some you outgrow, But his songs, like the rive, through our lives will ever flow,
First verse, except last line: The road that he's traveled, we all may dare to tread.