A young Bob Dylan (left) performs with Pete Seeger in stirring Power Of Song doc.
Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song (Alliance, 2007) D: Jim Brown, w/ Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNN
Check out Pete Seeger doing his Turn, Turn, Turn over the opening credits. Plain-voiced and declamatory, he sings it like every word is vital. At the 48-minute mark, he sings some of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. It's the wordless falsetto part, but again, Seeger delivers it with urgent conviction.
Those two moments of a man transfigured by music are key to understanding Seeger and his lifelong commitment to social change through folk music. Kicked out of Harvard for being a lefty, he travelled with Woody Guthrie and sang to promote the union movement. He kept on through FBI harassment in the 40s and 50s, through massive commercial success with the Weavers, through the 60s folk revival that he launched, into Vietnam War protests and beyond.
Skilfully used archival and contemporary footage provides a clear picture of Seeger's life, work and play. At 84, he remains vigorous, engaged and engaging.
Talking heads, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and members of Seeger's family, round out the picture.
The five short films in the extras reveal Seeger's ongoing interest in folklore. Finger Song, Wrapping Paper and How To Make A Steel Drum capture him at home and abroad.
EXTRAS Seeger family short films, deleted scenes. Widescreen. English, Spanish subtitles.