Oh, Had I A Golden Thread.

I wish I could pay enough homage to Pete Seeger. I wrote him a letter one time. I thanked him for all he had given me. For Pete had given me the gift of music and the feeling that I (and all of us) could play and sing. For joy. For peace.

Pete Seeger, long blacklisted on television and radio, finally had a little show on WNET in New York. He would play his banjo and big 12-string guitar. He would have friends and guests sit and play with him: Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry, Doc Watson, Jack Elliot among others. My friend had recently loaned me his old guitar and I had a chord chart. I would watch Pete’s fingers. He was playing in D. In A. I started to play too. So I thank Pete for opening up that world to me.

Pete’s is a beautiful and brave spirit. I saw him perform several times. He was a great and charismatic performer, yet always Pete insisted that he himself was not important. There was the cause of freedom, there was the struggle for justice, there was the people coming together. We didn’t need the glitz, the amps, the show-biz. Everyone sang. This Land Is Your Land

As a disciple of Woody Guthrie, Pete spread Woody’s songs. This music, this folk music, belonged to us all, belonged to everyone.

This song, Oh, Had I A Golden Thread, was written by Pete. He would play it to open that TV show. Pete was a great songwriter. A fine musician. And a great man. Thank you, Pete.

Oh, had I a golden Thread
And needle so fine
I’ve weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

In it I’d weave the bravery
Of women giving birth,
In it I would weave the innocence
Of children over all the earth,
Children of all earth.

Far over the waters
I’d reach my magic band
Through foreign cities,
To every single land,
To every land.

Show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design,
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind,
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters
I’d reach my magic band
To every human being
So they would understand,
So they’d understan

OK, this is an update. I just recorded it again (Memorial Day 2012) This is for Pete, again.