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2007-10-29 - 1:40 p.m.

R.I.P. Porter Wagoner

Last Friday, I saw and loved Control, and a week later was also reduced to a puddle of weepiness by a music film, but one that emanates from the opposite end of the spectrum.

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song is a very moving documentary about the folk singer that uses amazing archival footage and lots of interviews with the man himself and his many friends, to create a portrait of a guy who has truly transcended his ego and lives by his principles.

I knew very little about Seeger before this movie, and walked out with a new hero.

My favorite scene, of many, is a black and white clip of him and the Weavers on some TV show, before they were blacklisted, singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and really getting into all the vocal trills and bird-call-y woops. To watch this gangly, uber-white New Englander unabashedly attempting to put across a Zulu folk song demonstrates how game he was to deliver the world's unknown folk music to the masses. It was sweet.

I also never realized, before seeing this movie, that Seeger wrote "Turn Turn Turn." I thought God wrote that.

(Obligatory anti-Alan Lomax footnote: "LST" is not actually a folk song, it was composed by Solomon Linda, and appropriated by Lomax, but later recordings of the song credit Linda as the writer.)

How come seemingly all of Mike Leigh's movies are on DVD except his (IMO) best one?

From the Department of Comeback Albums That Don't Suck:

Days Run Away was the House of Love's 2005 reunion album. Same great sense of melody, a judicious decrease of cavernous reverb. Seems like it never got released in the States--surprising! How about it, indie label owners?

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