musicology #209


12AngryMen #6 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Pete Seeger – John Henry)

day 6, the invisible votes have been cast…and here comes the verdict.

the music is a 1957 piece from an important and highly influential cat in the development of ‘popular’ music who is still performing at the ripe old age of 89. A man who walked it like he talked it, Seeger was, and still is, an Activist with a capital A, who shares themusicologist’s belief that music and song is a most powerful force for change.

Alone among the many witnesses after the 1950 conviction and imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of court, Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which asserted that his testimony might be self incriminating) and instead (as the Hollywood Ten had done) refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that this would violate his First Ammendment rights:

“I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

The man’s refusal to testify led to a 1957 indictment for contempt of Congress and for years he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York.

Finally sentenced, (by Jury Trial), to a 10 Stretch in 1961, for whatever they could hang on him, this was overturned a year later in ’62 for being ‘seriously flawed’

Not trying to style it that I’m a long time fan of the man and his music..in fact that’s one of the things that themusicologist provides, an opportunity for me to explore genres and styles that I am unfamiliar with.

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6 thoughts on “musicology #209

  1. the cracks are widening, Lee J Cobb’s anger
    against the young has been exposed, and some
    of the more timid characters are begining to stand their ground strengthened by Fonda holding his line of an alternative possibility to the group..this piece of dialogue has one of my favorite lines ‘he cant hear you, he never will’!
    cracking stuff……..

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  2. 1957…. that was one hell of a year. I believe it was the year the first satellite (was it Sputnik or Telstar… I can’t remember) was launched. Ergo….. the space race

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  3. Sputnik was indeed launched in ’57

    Telstar, (the first communications satellite), was launched in 1962.

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  4. Not just the political/military “space race” was born in 1957 at the launch of Sputnik (Soviet/UDSSR/Russian)… another child born of the times was The Beat Generation.

    And just as the 1962 launch of Telstar (American) trumpeted a “practical use” of the technology (thus inviting The Suits to pile in.. but that’s another tale) it too gave symbolic birth to “its” generation.

    In England, late ’62, The Beat Generation passed the baton on to the Mods (perhaps snatched away is a better discription)…. And five years later, late ’67, the baton was to pass again!!!

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