Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has announced an upcoming box set entitled Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, due to arrive on May 3, exactly 100 years after Seeger’s birth. The newly curated collection was produced by Jeff Place and Robert Santelli, who also produced the acclaimed box sets Woody at 100 and Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection. The set is filled with 137 tracks — classic songs, historic live recordings recorded from the ’50s to the ’90s, special collaborations, and 20 previously unreleased tracks, all of which were newly remastered by Grammy-winning engineer Pete Reiniger. From his first recording sessions with Folkways founder Moses Asch to his memorable 1998 performances from If I Had A Hammer, the box set offers a comprehensive look at the music titan’s career. Recordings from Folkways, Asch, Disc, Young People’s Music, and Paredon Records are all accounted for.
But it’s not just his solo recordings that feature on The Smithsonian Folkways Collection. As Seeger was committed to lifting people’s voices – often proclaiming that “there’s no such thing as a wrong note as long as you’re singing” – it’s only natural that his friends and collaborators are also highlighted. Fellow Weaver Lee Hays; bluesmen Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon; fellow folk heroes Woody Guthrie, Tom Glazer, David Amram, and Mary Travers; and, of course, his talented relatives such as Mike and Peggy Seeger, all feature.
As usual, the packaging will be top-notch, as well. The set is presented with a large-format, 200-page, 12×12″ book with essays, historical commentary, a wealth of photos, extensive liner notes, and a comprehensive discography that, together, contextualize the music and offer insights into Seeger’s life, work, and spirit.