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critic’s pick 332: keith jarrett/charlie haden, ‘last dance’

last danceLast Dance is many intended things -.an album of understated but extraordinary beauty, a subtle and soulful conversation by two jazz titans – Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden – whose friendship extends back nearly a half century and a loving representation of a jazz standard’s seemingly limitless interpretative possibilities.

It is also something fully unexpected. Released on June 17, the album stands as the final recording prominently featuring the great bassist Haden to be released in his lifetime. He died on July 11 at age 76 of complications from post-polio syndrome.

How noble it would be to view this delicate, spirited music without factoring in Haden’s passing. Maybe you can do that. I couldn’t.

The hushed finesse of Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s My Ship, for instance, takes on an unavoidably bittersweet quality. That doesn’t detract from the beauty of one of Jarrett’s most delicately graceful recorded performances or the way Haden follows him like a shadow until his own playing on the double bass – a sound that absolutely sings – is allowed to solo.

The same feeling emerges when Jarrett glides serenely into Rodgers and Hammerstein’s It Might As Well Be Spring, where Haden’s feathery bass punctuation serves as a dance partner as much as a duet voice.

Last Dance was recorded during the same round of 2007 sessions that gave us another Jarrett/Haden duets album, Jasmine, in 2011. So finality wasn’t on either player’s mind when this music was recorded. What surfaces instead is a reflection of the musical camaraderie that began in the ‘60s and hit its first pinnacle with several ‘70s collaborations for the European ECM label (which also issued Last Dance). The communication between the two players on the new album is so heightened and exact you can almost picture them playing this music in your living room.

Jarrett, of course, is an old hand with this stuff. Aside from his famed solo piano concerts centered exclusively on improvisation, he has led a resourceful trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette for over 25 years devoted largely to new explorations of jazz standards. But listen to the solo bass blues-speak Haden creates here on Everything Happens to Me and you discover his ability to unlock the lyrical bounty of a standard is equally authoritative.

Then, of course, we have the coincidental application of the titles. Could anyone have imagined Haden’s final album would bear the name Last Dance? Or that its closing tune, would be a pastoral interpretation of Gordon Jenkins’ Goodbye? Or, for that matter, that the next-to-last song would be an equally lovely version of Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye?

It all makes for the most touching of parting shots – the kind that was never intended to be one.

critic’s pick 330: jack bruce, ‘silver rails’ and ginger baker, ‘why?’

jack bruceFor a surprisingly brief period in the late ‘60s, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were the rhythm section for the juggernaut trio Cream. Since then, their respective musical careers have sped past the half-century mark to appropriate numerous shades of jazz and worldbeat music. Still, that sliver of time when the two shook the world with the volcanic blues psychedelia of Cream – a sound that cemented the stardom of the trio’s other member, Eric Clapton – will forever tower over the solo music of Bruce and Baker.

While two recent recordings – Bruce’s first in 10 years, Baker’s newest in 14 – make such comparisons fruitless, ghosts from the past, albeit unexpected ones, are at work.

Bruce, 70, possesses a still-hearty vocal tenor that references his Cream legacy. You hear it within the thick, pervasive melody of Hidden Cities and the rumbling bass groove that undercuts Rusty Lady with longtime pal Robin Trower handling guitar duties. Similarly, Bruce’s longtime lyricist Pete Brown (their alliance stems back to the Cream years) contributes to seven of Silver Rails’ 10 tunes.

But Bruce is no nostalgist. If Cream fans some of the flames on Silver Rails, Spectrum Road, the all-star fusion combo the bassist recorded with in 2o12, sets the house on fire. That group’s keyboardist, John Medeski (of Medeski Martin & Wood) is all over Silver Rails. He enhances the light dub-style framework of Candlelight while Spectrum Road drummer Cindy Blackman Santana drives the ragged, rockish No Surrender.

Best of all, the new album’s blend of retro vocabulary, fresh instrumental fire and vocal color sounds surprisingly vigorous. It makes this rock elder sound vital and, at times, even youthful.

Ginger-Baker-WhyBaker, 74, has zero interest in Cream or in rock ‘n’ roll on Why? The scare-the-children portrait that serves as album cover art practically serves as a No Trespassing sign for any would- be rock archivist. Instead, Baker follows the jazz and African roots sounds that have stood as his prime post-Cream preferences.

The repertoire takes few chances. Ain Temouchant was first featured on one of Baker’s finest jazz records, 1994’s Going Back Home (with Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden) while the traditional Nigerian tune Aiko Biaye is revisited from 1970s’s Ginger Baker’s Air Force. But on Why? they are retooled into lean, spacious, unhurried rhythmic exercises with one time James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

Throughout the album, Ellis plays off of Baker’s largely steadfast fills in a way that recalls the more meditative late ‘60s records of sax giant Pharaoh Sanders. But percussionist Abass Dodoo often lights a greater fire under Baker, as shown during their extended drum duet on Aiko Biaye.

Mostly, though, Why? serves as a set of loose, unvarnished jazz jaunts with the Cream decidedly skimmed off.

singing with the spirit

bobby mcferrin 2

bobby mcferrin

An amusing warning prefaces the current press bio for Bobby McFerrin. It cautions that prolonged listening to the multi-Grammy winning vocal artist “may be hazardous to your preconceptions” and that possible side effects for those embracing his music include “utter and unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, permanent rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.”

For any other artist, that might seem like a series of fanciful boasts. For over three decades, though, McFerrin has made a mighty joyful noise while resetting the boundaries and roles of what a contemporary vocalist can do.

He might be performing as a one man vocal ensemble, improvising alongside jazz giants Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, vocalizing in duets with piano great Chick Corea, conducting such celebrated orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony, fronting the choir group VOCAbuLarieS or taking to the airwaves with the cheeriest of pop hits, 1988’s Don’t Worry Be Happy.

So it is perhaps in keeping with McFerrin’s sense of artistic wanderlust that his Thursday performance at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville deals with none of those accomplishments. It will instead be devoted to the music of his 2013 spirityouall album, a far-reaching collection of jazz, rock and blues inspired spirituals.

“The idea of making an album of spirituals has been kicking around for decades,” McFerrin explained in a recent email interview. “It just took a long time for the pieces to fall into place. I’ve always wanted to do some kind of tribute to my dad and I’ve always wanted to make an album of songs people could sing along with, songs they could teach their kids. It wasn’t until recently that suddenly it made sense that all these separate ideas could come together.”

The singer’s father, Robert McFerrin Sr., was a towering inspiration. A heralded baritone and protégé of the renowned Hall Johnson, the elder McFerrin was the first African-American to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His 1957 album Deep River – in particular, the traditional spiritual Fix Me Jesus – was one of the creative wellsprings his son went to in mining material for spirityouall.

“Both of my parents were such strong influences on me, musically and personally. This album really does reflect my father’s influence enormously. I was a kid when he was working with the great Hall Johnson on the spirituals, preparing to record Deep River. Hall Johnson’s grandmother was a slave and he had very specific ideas about tempo and delivery and how to pronounce certain words, and about the history and emotional impact of the songs.  Listening to them work was a big formative experience. And my father’s versions of the spirituals are just incredible.

“I could never sing them the way he does. I had to find my own way, but his interpretations are a huge influence. Also, maybe even more important, my family always went to church and talked a lot about God. But the only time I really saw and felt my father praying was when he sang the spirituals. Now I try to pray whenever I sing, but especially when I sing these songs.”

The spirit of spirityouall will also carry over into Thursday’s performance in that it will mark one of the few instances McFerrin has played in Kentucky with a full band. While he regularly collaborates with ensembles, including the longrunning jazz quartet Yellowjackets, McFerrin has seldom undertaken an extended tour with a working band of his own.

 “It’s really important to me to keep the music alive and growing and changing. I love working with each and every member of this band. We’ve charted out some beautiful new territory together. Some of my favorite tunes on the album have new life with the touring band – different grooves, different sounds.”

Bobby McFerrin performs “spirityouall” at 7:30 p.m. April 17 at the Norton Center for the Arts, 600 W. Walnut St. in Danville. Tickets are $60-$85. Call (877) 448-7469, (859) 236-4692 or go to www.nortoncenter.com.

critic’s pick 316: ronnie lane, ‘ooh la la: an island harvest’

ooh la laJust the fact that a major record label even remembers Ronnie Lane stands as a modest triumph. That it scoops together a collection of singles, album tracks, concert recordings and more for an anthology like Ooh La La: An Island Harvest – is, in modern pop terms, a freakish commercial anomaly.

Lane co-founded The Small Faces (of Itchycoo Park fame) in 1965 before the band morphed into simply The Faces (the troupe that cemented the careers of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood) at the dawn of the ‘70s. By 1973, Lane had had enough. He walked away from The Faces, retreated to a farm on the Welsh-English border and re-imagined pop music as a vehicle for carnival style whimsy – a mixture of Dylan-inspired wordplay, traditional folk settings built around acoustic strains of mandolin and strings and a reedy, soulfully imperfect singing voice with a boozy spirit that was undeniably rock ‘n’ roll.

In the early ‘90s, Lane was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and staged two huge all-star benefits on both sides of the Atlantic that not only raised considerable funds for MS research but set the standard for high profile benefit concerts years before Live Aid.

He lived out his final years in Texas and Colorado before succumbing to MS in 1997 at age 51.

Ooh La La (coincidentally, also the name of Lane’s swansong album with The Faces) reverts back to a more innocent time when Lane and his Slim Chance band roamed England with a sort of countryside dancehall sound. The duality of that music is reflected here in two versions of Anniversary – the 1974 original recording that matched Lane’s restless lyrics with a tasteful sweep of strings and a previously unreleased alternate take that borders on pub style honky tonk.

From there, Ooh La La runs from the beautifully orchestated Slim Chance gem The Poacher that seemed to speak directly to Lane’s post-Faces mindset (“I’ve no use for riches and I’ve no use for glory”) to a killer eight-song BBC set from 1974 full of the folkish charm and delightfully rag tag delivery that defined Lane’s best work. The set, as well as the album, ends with Ooh La La’s title track – an ode to youthful naivety that remains a loving postscript for a forgotten rock renegade who spent so much of his career merrily outrunning stardom.

burning down the house

ballister 1

ballister: dave rempis, paal nilssen-love, fred lonberg-holm.

At the onset of Smolder, one of the three lengthy improvisations that make up the third Ballister album Mi Casa Es En Fuego, the music begins as three separate entities. Or expressions. Or outbursts.

The saxophone punctuation of Dave Rempis starts with a series of jabs and pops that eventually bounce about with an almost mischievous agitation. Countering that is the cello colors of Fred Lonberg-Holm that sound less like the product of an instrument usually thought of for its chamber-like qualities and more like the scratchy, electric disturbances of guitarist Marc Ribot. Underneath it all is Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, whose playing can reflect frenzied immediacy one minute, brutal deconstruction the next and, in select passages, an icy calm. Throughout Smolder, he reveals all three tendencies to create a mood that lets the tune live up to it name while fanning the flames that inspired the album title.

After all the English translation for Mi Casa Es En Fuego is My House is on Fire.

“On a lot of levels, this band, to me, is kind of like a punk rock, no holds barred kind of thing,” said Rempis, who will perform with Ballister for an WRFL-FM sponsored Outside the Spotlight concert at the University of Kentucky’s John Jacob Niles Gallery. “A lot of it is about energy in many ways. Pall is one of the most propulsive drummers I’ve ever worked with. And Fted just has this great kind of noise thing that he can do with an electronic set up on the cello. So in a lot of ways, it’s just coming from that dive-in-head-first type of energy.”

Though thoroughly improvised – and, at times, quite brutish and fractured – the music of Ballister is far from musical anarchy. There is a noticeable ebb and flow to the playing, an obvious jazz sensibility to the way the three musicians interact and, quite often, a rhythmic undertow that continually changes the tone and temperament of the music.

“There is definitely a lot of rhythmic interaction happening all the time. I’ve described it as ‘the feeling of moving forward while the carpet is being pulled out from under you.’ We’re all moving with these rhythms in a very forward kind of way. But they don’t necessarily all lock in together, so it’s kind of like this overlapping type of thing.”

At the heart of Ballister, which issues its vinyl-only Both Ends album this month, is a strong personal and professional bond. Rempis, Lonberg-Holm and Nilssen-Love have all been regular visitors to Lexington over the past decade for Outside the Spotlight shows by numerous bands that bridge a fruitful Chicago free jazz community with several European factions of like-minded improvisers.

Ballister is hardly the prime performance project for any of the three, either. This spring, Rempis will be balancing a string of Ballister dates with concerts alongside Boston pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, festival dates with three other trios that stretch from San Francisco to Finland as well a Quebec run with Audio One, a new ensemble led by Chicago composer/saxophonist Ken Vandermark (who returns to town for his own Outside the Spotlight concert on April 28). On top of all that, Rempis oversees a music label, Aerophonic Records, that is chronicling the music of his many band projects.

“That’s actually been the most rewarding part of the last year for me – starting this record label. It’s taking up a lot of time, for sure, but it’s been incredibly rewarding.                                                                                   

“I feel like the musicians in this music really need to take responsibility for their careers at this point because there are just not too many people out there, whether it be labels or agents, who are promoting this music anymore. We have the capability to do all this. So far for me, it’s been a huge pleasure to put out music that, artistically, I feel really strong about.”

surf’s up (but in kentucky?)

kentucky surf

riding the bluegrass surf: a scene from the billie joe armstrong/norah jones music video for ‘kentucky.’

We’re all for big imaginations here at The Musical Box, but a new music video referencing our home state is summoning some serious head scratching.

The clip comes to us from the odd couple of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones and their splendid 2013 Everly Brothers tribute record Foreverly. The song being illustrated is Kentucky, a loving salute that has subsequently been covered by scores of vintage country and bluegrass artists.

Make no mistake, we love Foreverly. Aside from possessing remarkably natural artist chemistry (an attribute underscored by the train wreck performance at the Grammy Awards in February when Armstrong was instead paired for a Phil Everly tribute with a wildly out-of-tune Miranda Lambert), the duo’s treatment is subtle, summery and ultra-respectful of the unforced harmony singing that made the Everlys’ music so distinctive.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s not a big deal, really. It’s just that the video chose to show a young couple (not Armstrong and Jones, by the way) enjoying an afternoon of outdoor fun that includes – we kid you not – surfing. Yes, indeed. Nothing captures the natural majesty of the Bluegrass like slapping on a wetsuit, grabbing a surfboard and catching a wave. Last time I checked, though, Lake Cumberland was pretty much at permanent low tide.

The video reminded me of a poster that hung in my father’s office. My dad was an ad man for General Electric. The poster was of Leonardo da Vinci pondering an electric toothbrush, as though it were one of his myriad inventions. The caption: “Plug it in where, Leonardo?”

Of course, if the video for Kentucky turns a few more folks on to the exquisite Foreverly, than more power to it. Besides that, it’s sort of refreshing for Kentucky to now be battling a stereotype rooted in the West Coast instead of the rural south.

You can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPgZ0mWMByA.

in performance: the robert cray band

robert cray

robert cray.

With Valentine’ Day mere hours away, Robert Cray decided to close out his sold out performance last night at the Lyric Theatre with a somewhat sobering take on the holiday.

The finale tune was Time Makes Two, a song propelled by string-like synths that tightened like a noose as the verses progressed, mallet-played drums that made the music seem less like the blues and more like a processional and guitarwork that shelved Cray’s scholarly soloing abilities in favor of broad, fearsome rhythmic sweeps. And then there was the voice, always the Grammy-winning bluesman’s ace-in-hole. It possessed a gospel fervor that simmered until the song’s telling chorus brought the music to a boil: “Time makes two…it takes two to heal a broken heart.”

A patron exiting the show, figuratively broadsided by the song’s intensity, offered this parting remark: “Damn, Robert. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too.”

Well, folks, they do call it the blues. Cray still exuded a cool and amiable stage presence and preferred echoes of Stax-style soul and assorted rhythm and blues accents of equal vintage to pepper his material over conventional 12 bar blues tunes and the kinds of guitar solos designed as exercises in self-torture. Make no mistake, though. This was the blues – all of it topical and much of it refreshingly blunt.

But the primary charm of last night’s concert, outside of the abundant vocal and guitar strengths, was Cray’s ability to make some of his darkest songs sound so disarming. An extraordinary case in point was Poor Johnny, the highlight tune from Cray’s underrated 2005 album, Twenty. The song’s protagonist, a street kid swept into a life of quick riches with immediate consequences, is doomed almost from the get-go. Yet the song unfolded with a percolating neo-reggae groove, chilled keyboard sounds that mimicked B3 organ and vibraphone, a series of cleanly desperate guitar breaks and a vocal performance that tastefully utilized Cray’s still-youthful falsetto as punctuation. It was a brilliant moment.

Cray’s ‘90 material – specifically, the churchy The Forecast (Calls for Pain) – as well as newer tunes such as Great Big Old House (big as in abandoned) added to Cray’s robust valentine, which was delivered to the Lyric audience in a shade of especially becoming blue.

critic’s picks 314: neil finn, ‘dizzy heights’

dizzy heightsNear the midway point of his first solo album in 13 years, Neil Finn offers an affirmation that is both earthy and spiritual. It surfaces, over and over again, in Better Than TV, a love song of real life wrapped in an orchestral wash of sounds and grooves but presented with a slightly askew posture. It’s as though the pop strategies that so beautifully populated the music he has crafted over the decades with Crowded House were tossed in a washing machine and set on the spin cycle so colors would purposely bleed into one another.

Fascinating as the surface design is, it’s the meditation Finn places underneath it all that best defines the restlessness of an enormously prolific, middle aged popster from New Zealand. It’s a plea for risk-taking as a means of personal discovery at an age when one’s surroundings can often seem strangely settled.

“If there is a chance that you wanted to dance, that you wanted to sing, don’t die wondering,” Finn sings. It’s lovely but unobvious moment on an album filled with them.

Finn co-produced Dizzy Heights with Dave Fridmann, whose studio credits include work with The Flaming Lips. That may partly explain the kind of pop turf the record favors. While it is nowhere near as extravagant as the Lips’ costumed psychedelia, Dizzy Heights possesses a lush pop sensibility that isn’t so much orchestrated as it is submerged.

On the album-opening Impressions, a fractured melody oozes along to keep solemn pace with a storyline of civilization in decline (“I guess we can’t keep the world away, from sinking under pressure”). The mood later slows to a glacial grace on Divebomber with Finn singing in a ghostly, nocturnal falsetto.

The pop charge is more direct during In My Blood, a Crowded House-like reverie with a decidedly familial feel. Wife Sharon Finn, along with sons Liam and Elroy, help out, as they do for much of the record, on bass, guitar and drums, respectively. Wilco-ite and University of Kentucky grad Glenn Kotche then provides percussion for the family band.

But that is one of Dizzy Heights’ more accessible moments. Much of the record possesses a more wintry feel (it was recorded in Buffalo, New York, as well as Auckland) and serves as a collage of neo-psychedelic snapshots. Shifting from demo-style immediacy to icy, surrealistic splendor, Dizzy Heights is a tasty document fashioned by a proven pop family man after sneaking out of the House.

the blues or not the blues

keb' mo'

keb’ mo’

Sometimes the simplest questions become unintentionally but unavoidably difficult to answer.

In the case of Keb’ Mo’, such a query emerged when discussing a new album he is putting the finishing touches on this winter. What was asked was routine: What can audiences expect from his latest recording?

“That’s always the hardest question,” says Mo’ (born Kevin Moore), who returns to Lexington on Thursday for a duo concert with multi-instrumentalist/accompanist Tom Shinness. “What are you in for? I got tunes, man. You know, I got songs. It’s the same thing we’ve been doing. We make a record, we put songs on it. We try to visit life in a way that we haven’t before. We try to remain true and really authentic. There’s some fun stuff and some heartfelt things.”

Mo’ isn’t being evasive or at all curt in the reply. In fact, in conversation he reflects the same upbeat and amiable personality that abounds in his music. But when tags, labels or even basic descriptions get pinned to his songs, things get tricky.

To many audiences, Mo’ is the embodiment of the blues – a new generation roots music voice so emotive and authentic that he portrayed blues legend Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl.

But Mo’s recordings over the last two decades have  just as readily embraced soul, contemporary folk, pop and, on occasion, country. Such stylistic popularity has been the proverbial double-edged sword. On one hand, he has established a strong crossover fanbase and earned a trio of Grammy Awards. Blues die-hards, however – especially critics – has often viewed Mo’ as a faux bluesman, an artist way too cosmopolitan and commercially driven to be viewed as a roots music ambassador.

“I don’t really pay much attention to all that,” Mo’ said. “I mean, the blues is as good a place as any to hang your hat. It’s a very honorable genre steeped in the history of American and African-American culture. It’s a proud place to be and I have no shame at all about it. But how people want to label you is the thing, and I only have a problem with that when they start saying about my music, ‘Well, that’s not the blues.’

“I don’t get angry with that or anything. It’s just that I know it’s not the blues, because I know what the blues is.”

To appreciate just how far Mo’ purposely strays from the blues, take a look the lengthy and diverse list of artists he has collaborated with throughout his career. It includes Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Dr. John, Martin Scorsese, Amy Grant, the Dixie Chicks, Jackson Browne, Kermit the Frog and one of his earliest employers, the late West Coast fiddler Papa John Creach. Mo’ also recorded a Shakespearean sonnet for the 2002 compilation album When Love Speaks as well as the theme song (I See Love) to the current CBS-TV comedy series Mike & Molly.

“All these things are in my background,” Mo’ said. “That’s what people really don’t know about me. I spent years listening to country music on the radio. As far as jazz and things like that, I’ve had to play in a lot of jam situations. I took acting lessons back in my 20s and have popped in and out of theatre. All of that has come to fruition in ways where opportunities came from them.

“I played folk and calypso. I’ve played French horn in my high school band. I’ve done a lot of work. So when I became a bluesman, so to speak, that was the time I got noticed. So when people say, ‘Oh, so he’s a blues guy.’ I’m like, ‘OK. Fine. Whatever you say.’ ”

Keb’ Mo’ with Tom Shinness performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb.6 at the Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short. Tickets  are $44.50. Call (859) 233-3535, (800) 745-3000 or go to www.ticketmaster.com,

pete seeger, 1919-2014

pete seeger

pete seeger.

The polite but tired view of folk music is one of intimacy – a style confined to the comfort of coffeehouses and the company of friends. Pete Seeger lit a fuse to that notion. His coffeehouse was a global stage and his friends were successive generations of artists and activists that saw folk not only as a means of personal expression but as a pen with which to address an often intolerant nationIn a career that spanned seven decades, Seeger upheld folk as a social art form. His music was designed to serve and be shared.

To understand the importance of a performer like Seeger, who died yesterday at the age of 94, one needs to revisit the dark corridors of American history where his music took shape. McCarthyism. Segregation. War. All manner of labor, social and environmental unrest. He may have become a commercial musical force with The Weavers by making a hit out of Leadbelly’s Goodnight Irene. But it was what Seeger was saying in a string of work and protest songs that stirred the pot of social consciousness. It made him famous. Then it got him blacklisted.

But Seeger’s importance didn’t begin there. As a protégé of folk archivist Alan Lomax, folk was his key to America, especially rural areas where folk was a part of daily work life. These were roads Seeger never stopped walking. It led him to benefit concerts for migrant workers in the early 1940s to Occupy Wall Street 70 years later.

What continued to astound, though, was the reach of influence Seeger had upon other artists. The popularity of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash would have likely varied considerably without Seeger’s support in the 1960s, as would the more electric Americana of The Byrds and the progressive country legions they inspired.

More recently, the politically driven music of Bruce Springsteen, the indie activist records of Ani DiFranco and the globally/socially minded songs of Bruce Cockburn would have been unimaginable without Seeger.

For me, the recordings that exemplified the quiet but steadfast power of Seeger’s tireless folk vision were the concert albums he released with Arlo Guthrie over the years, particularly 1975’s Together in Concert. Among that record’s almost childlike highlights was Get Up and Go, a humorous reverie on aging from a Seeger that still had four decades of life and work ahead of him.

“In spite of it all, I’m able to grin,” Seeger sang with no small level of whimsy. “And think of the places my get-up has been.”

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