Deep Dive: Pete Seeger, CIRCLES AND SEASONS
40 years ago this month, Pete Seeger released his one and only album for Warner Brothers, an LP which found the then-60-year-old folk singer in fine form and delivering a solid collection of tunes.
Produced by Fred Hellerman, who did time in the folk trenches with Seeger as a fellow member of The Weavers, CIRCLES AND SEASONS featured 14 tracks, several of which were Seeger-penned numbers. Given that he could’ve easily coasted through the album by offering interpretations of other songwriters’ efforts, it’s clear that Seeger was invested in the LP and didn’t just see it as an opportunity for a paycheck and a pumping-up of his profile. (As if any musical artist would do such a thing…)
There isn’t a dramatic shift in Seeger’s sound on CIRCLES AND SEASONS, which is as it should’ve been, but Hellerman did manage to upgrade the production from some of Seeger’s past material to make it at least a little bit more modern. Of the original tunes, the best of the bunch is arguably “Maple Syrup Time,” but “Sailing Down My Golden River” is pretty great, too.
While it was appreciated by both critics and fans, CIRCLES AND SEASONS failed to chart on the Billboard 200, and although Seeger would release several other albums before his death in 2014 at age 94, none of them would ever make the charts. Not that it really mattered, of course: Seeger was already a legend several times over by 1979, and he’ll remain one for the long haul.
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