Peggy Seeger has an amazing 5 star review in The Times from her recent concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall. For the full article click here. Peggy Seeger is currently on tour — click here for full listings

 

An 80th birthday concert, yes, but Peggy Seeger is not the sort to indulge in geriatric sentimentality. Much like a folk-singing equivalent of Elaine Stritch, she bossed and cajoled, cracked sardonic jokes and made a point of letting the audience know when it was not keeping its end up in the singalongs.

Long may she continue. This was a gloriously relaxed gathering, the singer and multi-instrumentalist joined by her sons, singer-guitarists Neill and Calum MacColl, neither of whom was in the mood to be cloyingly reverential. Seeger responded to their teasing by recalling the circumstances in which they were conceived. Game, set and match.

Amid the good-natured ribbing, the brothers also provided immaculate accompaniment, augmented by guest spots from Paul Brady and Eliza Carthy, the latter opening the second half of the show with a sequence that included Prairie Lullaby and Robert Burns’s song The Slave’s Lament.

If Seeger herself has not renounced her loyalties to the old Left, the occasional bout of sermonising was tempered with dry humour. And her no-nonsense running commentary occasionally smuggled in moments of heart-rending tenderness, most notably on her short poem My Mother Is Younger Than Me, inspired by Ruth Crawford Seeger, who died of cancer at the age of 52.

Elsewhere, the yearning harmonies of Sweet Thames Flow Softly paid homage to her late husband, Ewan MacColl. Seeger’s keening voice isn’t a perfect instrument by any means — lyrics were sometimes smudged and blurred — but flitting between guitar, dulcimer, piano and banjo, she was a commanding presence. And at the very end she evoked memories of her half-brother Pete with that genial lament about old age, Get Up and Go (How do I know my youth is all spent? / My get up and go has got up and went.) Old Father Time will just have to wait.”

 

 



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