Album: Bruce Springsteen <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, COLUMBIA
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The Independent Culture

Given their parallel positions as icons of American leftism, it's surprising that Bruce Springsteen was apparently unfamiliar with the range of Pete Seeger's work until he came to record "We Shall Overcome" for a tribute album, and was inspired to trawl through the genial folk godfather's back catalogue. The result is this anthology of songs drawn from Seeger's vast repertoire, from civil rights anthems such as "Eyes on the Prize" and the labour demands of "Pay Me My Money Down" to outlaw tales such as "Jesse James" and the kind of whimsical nonsense with which political singers would sweeten their sets, represented here by "Old Dan Tucker" and "Froggy Went A-Courtin'". To accompany him, Springsteen chose an old-time band that played at one of his backyard fiestas, whose blend of banjo, fiddle, accordion and New Orleans marching-band horns brings the songs to life in a rough'n'ready hootenanny style. It's all very jolly, particularly the country-jazz version of "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" and the more plaintive tone of the bargee song "Erie Canal".

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Oh Mary Don't You Weep', 'Erie Canal', 'Old Dan Tucker'