Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger, Amiri Baraka and Bud Spangler, RIP -- January 29, 2014

I came along after the folk music craze had lost steam.  Groups like the Kingston Trio give me hives. Pete Seeger, on the other hand, was not just an element of a craze.  He supported migrant farmworkers, union organizers, the anti-war movement (except World War II, he served in that and believed we had to "lick Mr. Hitler"), the environmental movement  and the no-nukes movement.  He joined the Communist Party and later drifted away.  He was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and invoked his First Amendment right of free association.  He was blacklisted.  He taught children.  A good life.  Arlo Guthrie said "Well, of course he passed away! But that doesn't mean he's gone."

I first heard of Amiri Baraka when I read a book about humor from the Anza Branch Library.  It talked about his play The Dutchman, and called him LeRoi Jones, which I thought was an interesting-looking name.  He generated a lot of controversy with his poetry and his statements, but he was an artist.  I listened to his son's eulogy on KPOO.  He talked about his father's spirituality and how the home was always full of jazz and artists and food. 

Bud Spangler was a drummer, a record producer, and a radio producer and artist.  I remember him on KJAZ, where he produced a show with Turk Murphy.  Later, I listened to his "Sunday Night Suites," a series of remote broadcasts on KCSM.  I borrowed the photo from Wikipedia. 

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