Today: Bruce Springsteen released We shall overcome – The Seeger Sessions in 2006


We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions was released in 2006, it is the fourteenth studio album by Bruce Springsteen.

This is Springsteen’s first and so far only album of non-Springsteen material and has his interpretation of thirteen folk music songs made popular by activist folk musician Pete Seeger.

The record began in 1997, when Springsteen recorded “We Shall Overcome” for the Where Have All the Flowers Gone: the Songs of Pete Seeger tribute album, released the following year. Springsteen had not known much about Seeger given his rock and roll upbringing and orientation, and proceeded to investigate and listen to his music.

Jacob’s Ladder (Official video):

Via Soozie Tyrell, the violinist in the E Street Band, Springsteen hooked up with a group of lesser-known musicians from New Jersey and New York, and they recorded in an informal, large band setting in Springsteen’s New Jersey farm. In addition to Tyrell, previous Springsteen associates The Miami Horns as well as wife Patti Scialfa augmented the proceedings. This group would become The Sessions Band.

Bruce Springsteen – The Seeger Sessions Live, a video recording of a May 9, 2006 performance in London’s St Luke Old Street church, was filmed by the BBC.

Here is the full broadcast, Bruce Springsteen & The Seeger Sessions Band at St. Lukes , London:

Songs played:

John Henry, Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?, Mrs. McGrath, My Oklahoma Home, Jacob’s Ladder, We Shall Overcome, Pay Me My Money Down

There was a DVD/Blu-Ray release of a Seeger sessions show from Dublin, but in opinion, the London show is better.


Critical reception:
The Reviews were very positive, with Allmusic labeling it “rambunctious, freewheeling, [and] positively joyous”. PopMatters called it a “sonic transfusion on the order of the Mermaid Avenue records”. Seeger himself was pleased by result, saying “It was a great honor. He’s an extraordinary person, as well as an extraordinary singer.”

The album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 49th Grammy Awards held in February 2007.

Old Dan Tucker (Live Indianapolis):

About 10% of the total albums sold, were sold in Norway (population 5 mill.) this is telling of Springsteen’s standing in Norway (and the rest of Scandinavia). Both the album and the tour that followed proved more popular in Europe than in the U.S. Yet despite attendance woes, the U.S. shows received almost universal praise from critics and concert-goers. While they were without the E Street Band and do not include any of Springsteen’s biggest hits such as “Born to Run”, fans were consistently kept on their feet singing along.

seeger sessions poster

We shall overcome, The Seeger Sessions on Spotify:

– Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, Allmusic, Popmatter, Wikipedia (norwegian edition), Youtube

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