We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
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Product Description

The premise was simple. Bruce Springsteen invites a dozen or so New York City musicians--packing banjos, fiddles, accordions and the like--to his New Jersey farmhouse for a three-day hootenanny, and tape is rolling. The results are sublime, his 21st album featuring their versions of songs harvested from Springsteen's dog-eared LPs by Pete Seeger. Not all written by Seeger, the songs are how the American folk icon interpreted them, and these organic recordings, with no rehearsals or overdubs, pay tribute with the simplicity and spontaneity he intended. It's not hard to link Springsteen's dissatisfaction with American politics to the protest song "We Shall Overcome" or even the Irish ballad "Mrs. McGrath," where he alters the lyrics to read, "I'd rather have my son as he used to be/Than the King of America and his whole navy." But the beauty of these Seeger Sessions are pieces that underscore the mood of the bandleader, which borders on down-home amusement: the bluegrass outlaw ballad "Jesse James," the Dylanesque "Pay Me My Money Down" and the euphoric "Jacob's Ladder," a gumbo-and-whiskey-fueled romp that could pass for the closing hymn at the Church of Asbury Park. --Scott Holter


A 40-minute film about the recording of the album with artist commentary. Includes filmed performances of:

John Henry Pay Me My Money Down Buffalo Gals Erie Canal O Mary Don?'t You Weep Jacob?'s Ladder Froggie Went A Courtin?' Shenandoah

Plus four bonus live tour videos:

How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live (Bruce Springsteen Version) Bring ?'Em Home American Land Pay Me My Money Down

European CD/DVD (PAL/Region 0) pressing features the same content as the US Dual Disc version. Sony. 2006.

Customer Reviews:

  • can't stop listening!
    I think that Bruce Springsteen was born to sing these songs. I've never been a fan of his pop songs, but his gritty voice brings a real truthfulness to these classic tunes. I especially enjoy thinking about the culture and sociology behind the songs- his selections are a great history lesson. I've been listening to this disc everywhere- in the car, on the treadmill, while I work- singing at the top of my lungs along with it!...more info
  • Great Fun!!
    Bruce and the gang sound like they had a whale of a time making this album. It's great fun to listen to in the car.

    My one criticism would be that Bruce tends to use a phony southern accent when he sings. Oh, and "Shenendoah," as others have pointed out, is the low point.

    Otherwise--kick up your heels!...more info
  • Springsteen's Best
    This is one of the best CDs I've ever owned. It is outstanding! Springsteen does a fabulous job on each and every song. He reaches your heart while singing to the Irish mother in Mrs. McGrath and comforts those listening to O Mary don't you weep. I cry every time I listen to his rendition of We Shall Overcome. It makes me remember how determined Martin Luther King was as he sacrified a scholarly life to march and withstand imprisonment to help us poor uneducated Southern black people. However, the songs on the CD aren't all about sorrow. I laugh every time I hear Old Froggie Went A Courtin. It was a song my sickly uncle sang to me when I was four or five. I was always on the lookout for a frog wedding in the Louisiana swamp.
    Deborah Savoy ...more info
  • Pleasantly Surprised!
    Even as a lifelong Springsteen fan I was extremely (and pleasantly) surprised at the music on this CD. You could sense through the music (and the DVD) how much fun Bruce had putting this arrangement together. What's even better is that my two kids (ages 5 and 7) absolutely love the CD as well so we can all enjoy everywhere we go!!...more info
  • Remarkable
    I have a rule: I don't ever give 5 stars to album full of covers. I had to think long and hard about breaking that rule for this one, but I couldn't do it.

    With that being said; I have enjoyed this album more than almost every other album that has been put out this year. Not one bad song. From the irish drenched "Mrs. McGrath" to the classics of "Erie Canal" and "Pay Me My Money Down", the album never lets you down. This just good ol holler music. Pete knew how to do it then, Bruce knows how to do it now.

    A can't miss for people who just love music....more info
  • Love it!!!
    I got the CD a few years ago, and then saw him perform this album on stage in Des Moines, and both were/are absolutely outstanding. Being a fan of folk to begin with, I was thrilled when Bruce decided to resurrect some of these traditional classics. I love his bluesy spin on them. And the video is so fun to watch. Just makes me want to get up and dance every time I put it on. Never get tired of it, I highly recommend it....more info
  • We Shall Overcome
    If you are a fan of American folk music then this is a CD for you...Bruce and company do a great job and seem to be having a wailing good time while they are about it !! ...more info
  • Music to wake the dead.
    Short & sweet. Banjos, accordians, horns, oh my! I've been a mild Springsteen fan, my favorites being Nebraska and The River. This disc knocked my socks off. As soon as I found myself critical of a track, something came up that made me like it. Enjoy life, enjoy this CD....more info
  • Review - we Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
    The CD/DVD arrived quickly and in good shape. The productopn was constructed very well and Bruce was at the top of his game....more info
  • Old Time Culture with a Modern Flair
    I bought this right before a road trip. My sister and I fell in love with it. Our 11 year old niece is always making requests whenever we're in the car. She and I can't help but belt out "PAY ME MY MONEY DOWN!" I have also found that it really makes cleaning the house a lot more fun too....more info
  • Back to the future
    This is indeed a wonderful rediscovery of American musical traditions which, I believe, are being relegated to the archives. The Smithsonian does a good job of protecting it from extinction.Bruce Springsteen has made the music and the free flowing atmosphere in which the music was originally sung, come alive in a contemporary setting. With all its rich complexity and diversity, American music has two dominant roots, those derived from European immigrants and those derived from African roots. As an avid listener, the dominant music of the past 20 years or so has been the African tradition. This evolved into Gospel, R&B, Blues, Hiphop, Rap and so on. Somewhere along the way, the other great tradition was being swamped, relegated to the archives and kept alive by small bands of people (such as those who have joined Springsteen in this recording at his farm). Contemporary 'country' music is also, I sadly believe, gotten distanced from the 'folk' tradition. It is in this context that I see this as a breakthrough album. Sprinsteen and his informal band of musicians play freely as this music was meant to be played and the joy comes out in the creation. This is not a simple rendition of Pete Seeger's songs, Springsteen and his group have made this their very own and by doing this they have made this wonderful tradition come alive again. You hear the sounds of the banjo and the mandoline, the accordian and the violine, the trumpet and saxophone as well as the B3 organ and piano and drums in purcussion that they would never have used a 100 years ago. It is street corner music, tavern music, gutter music and all the music that is rough and raw on the edges, that is sung and played unrehersed, with the same rawness, beauty and freedom. Do not expect well rehersed studio renditions. This is the very opposite of smooth pop and the American Idol. This album is an absolute treasure....more info
  • the Ruth Crawford Seeger sessions
    I rarely have to buy a CD immediately upon its release. I can wait. This one, though, I bought right away in April 2006. I still listen to it frequently, sometimes every day. It is terrific and I am grateful that these songs are available again for new ears. I want to invite folks to find out how Pete Seeger himself learned these songs, through the collections made by his mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger. All of the songs on this album are in the books she wrote preserving American folk music. Let us remember these songs and this great foremother of American music!...more info
  • Seeger Jam Session
    I highly recommend this album. Great music. Kind of gives the feeling on several tracks that you're actually on a riverboat and a bunch of guys are having a precursor to the jam session....more info
  • I had no idea I'd love Bruce...
    I was never a big fan of Bruce Springsteen growing up - I was a "tweener" when "Born in the USA" came out and for some reason his music just never appealed to me. However, this album is so different from his other stuff I've heard (which I completely admit is limited experience) and more like the music I typically like - folksy, bluesy, a bit of bluegrass, just so many things you cannot put it into a box. LOVE IT....more info
  • Bruce Springsteen does Folk
    Really enjoyed this CD/DVD. Even though the music was decades old, it was performed in a manner everyone could relate to. Watching the DVD sessions, it was evident that Bruce and the crew were having a great time. I liked the way he incorporated a little history into each piece. Made you feel like you were there when the music was written. I had 2 favorites. "John Henry" and "Mary, Don't You Weep"....more info
  • Caveat Emptor: listen before you buy

    I love all of Spingsteen's familiar styles: the anthemic rock, the moving ballad and the acoustic folk of the somber Nebraska. This album, however, simply does not appeal to me on any level. Perhaps it is because I was expecting some profundity, some soul stirring interpretations of the more serious songs associated with Pete Seeger. Unfortunately both the sounds and the songs disappoint, and the blend most of all. Many of the tracks are folk standards of the blandest type, like the introductory Old Dan Tucker. The exuberant treatment feels wasted on such repetitive, nonsensical lyrics.

    Some songs have a gospel undertone, like the classic We Shall Overcome with its soulful backing vocals, Jacob's Ladder with the rousing vocals of its gospel choir and the melancholy Shenandoah which is one of the few highlights. Still I prefer Bob Dylan's version on his album Down in the Groove. Others have a country feel like the authentic-sounding lament My Oklahoma Home with its powerful male backing vocals. Country also surfaces in the uptempo Pay Me My Money Down which is redeemed by an impressive arrangement and instrumental virtuosity. Others are really rock music, like O Mary Don't You Weep with its biblical imagery and the raucous John Henry, a fast-paced song with frisky fiddles and Bruce shouting too loudly.

    The slower numbers include the brooding Eyes On The Prize, Mrs McGrath and Erie Canal, a song with lovely banjo that incorporates jazzy improvisations in the instrumental sections. The tracks that I would listen to again are Jesse James, a lilting, energetic story song about the Robin Hood character, and of the aforementioned: Jacob's Ladder for its inspiring gospel voices, the melancholy My Oklahoma Home, Shenandoah with its spiritual undertone and maybe We Shall Overcome. Emblematic of the work as a whole, Froggie Went a Courtin' is the type of folk song that ought to remain restricted to kiddie's records. The video material on the recording, conversations with the musicians and the song videos contribute nothing to ameliorate the disappointment.

    Something went wrong somewhere. The wide array of instruments encompasses guitar, sax, banjo, organ, accordion, mandolin, viola, tuba, drums and trumpet, and the playing is mostly enthusiastic. The arrangements aren't always suitable to the song but not bad for the chosen style. Many song segments stand out for the appealing instrumentation. But the arrangements and instrumentation simply do not blend with Bruce's sometimes shouted & sometimes mumbled vocals. Judging by the reviews, this album is clearly enjoyed by multitudes, which I find incomprehensible. Yes, there's no accounting for taste and to each their own, but I am baffled as to why Springsteen fans would even find The Seeger Sessions listenable. Time will tell; history's verdict may be harsh.
    ...more info
  • Very different and fun
    Mix zydecko and 50s-60s folk music and this album is what you get. Not very authentic, and none written by Seeger, but a heck of an enjoyable listen....more info
    My husband and I were more than disappointed. Bruce, the Boss, the Man ....well, it was a let down to hear him holler and screech with much too loud accompanyment - it hurt our ears and our brains.... we have NEVER been unahappy with any of his releases until now.... if he just did this for fun, that's great, but perhaps he should have kept it at home. We are more than surprised at the great reviews this has received. Just don't get it at all... unless you want to listen to a kid's play time music, but then we have heard a lot better of that sort as well - the world already has one "Barney". Hope he gets back to MUSIC in the near future. BRUCE, PLEASE COME BACK!!...more info
  • "Dualdisc" is deplorable system DON'T BUY IT
    Though I liked the music, I found that when I bought the product I was not advised that "The audio side for this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore will not play on some CD...." which reads INSIDE the package.... Music companies are so nervous to protect their monopolies, that prefer to hazzard customers than alow them use their products with all available technologies. This music can not be put into your Ipod, can not be read in a computer system, and worst of all, the disc is recorded on both sides, and packaged in a cardboard box, all this means that even when you buy it, one or boths sides are already scratched and de DVD won't read well on your DVD reader...
    ...more info
  • Just plain fun!
    The music on this CD is classic (I remember learning some of these songs in elementary school), and just a blast to listen to and sing along. Springsteen's raspy voice and musical talent works well with the selection of songs....more info
  • More for Springsteen fans than folkies
    This album was attractive to me for the prospect of one of my favorite entertainers singing songs dear to me from the folk music era. However, for one who had known, loved and participated in these songs for years, some of the arrangements & vocals did not work well....more info
  • The Seeger Sessiions with Bruce Springsteen
    I bought this CD for my husband for his birthday because he likes this kind of (folk) music. He likes the CD very much. I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan but like his rock music so was not interested in this
    CD or the tour for it. The CD does have songs running thru your head
    if you like it or not....more info
  • best springsteen album in over 20 years.
    an established artist doing something experimental, something different. don't see that too often in the music business (or anywhere else for that matter). well, hooray for mr springsteen. kicking out the jams on a bunch of old americana classics with a giant band of guitars, fiddles, banjos, horns of various sort, etc... seems to have been just the ticket to rekindle his energy and passion for music. the enthusiasm is contagious to be sure. bruce whoops in up from "old dan tucker" to "pay me my money down," and these up-tempo numbers are all bright joyfulness. the slower numbers are subtle performances given just the right touch, especially "shenandoah," which is absolutely gorgeous. overall this is my favorite album of 2006, and my favorite springsteen recording in over 20 years....more info
  • blues
    The CD is great. My husband loves it and is so happy to have it....more info
  • Bruce is no John Bon Jovi.
    Where to start..?

    Buy this album. It is one of the best folk albums I have ever heard. And they made it in New Jersey.

    New Jersey.

    Batten down the hatches, prepare for rapture. Things are not as we expected. I mean, this stuff is revelation.

    Now, I have always loved Bruce. Really loved him. Especially Nebraska, which I believe to be one of the greatest albums ever recorded. But this tops even that. Utter authenticity. Like 'Where Brother,' but even cleaner. And performed with sheer virtuosity. This is what real music sounds like.

    Let's just say that I doubt Courtney Cox is gonna get caught on film getting down to this..
    ...more info