". . . Tall and lean, in faded Levi's and corduroy shirt, Pete Seeger still pretty much looks like he did when the young Harvard dropout met the man who helped him find his life's work: Woody Guthrie.
"I was working in Washington, D.C., at the time with Alan Lomax, the folklorist," Seeger says. "And in Alan's house I met Woody, and he found that I could follow him in any song he played. I had a good ear and I stayed in tune, played the right chord, didn't play anything too fancy. So pretty soon, I was tagging along with him."
Seeger says Guthrie taught him not only lots of songs but also how to play in saloons, get paid first, how to ride the rails — carefully — and that no matter the consequences, to stick with your beliefs.
In a spoken-word track on his new Guthrie tribute album, Pete Remembers Woody, Seeger tells the story of Guthrie's famous slogan.
"He went through WWII with a piece of cardboard pasted to the top of his guitar: 'This machine kills fascists,' " Seeger says on the recording. "He really wanted his guitar to help win the war against Hitler. When Woody went into a hospital in 1952 ... I put something similar on my banjo: 'This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.' ". . . "
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