We Shall Overcome

When I was 18, I discovered my parents’ folk albums from the ’60s. I’ve been listening to  music from that era the past few years, and am going to use the virus downtime to learn guitar.

What’s your COVID resolution?

Below is Pete Seeger, one of the pioneers of the folk revival, in knit tie and buttondown. In one of Ivy Style’s early posts, we featured a clip of Hugh Hefner on the “Playboy’s Penthouse” TV show, in which he says what it takes to play folk music is an Eastern accent and an Ivy League suit. — CC

Shop knit ties at J. Press:

25 Comments on "We Shall Overcome"

  1. Charlottesville | March 24, 2020 at 10:51 am |

    Best wishes on the guitar, Christian. It is a delightful and versatile instrument, and far more mobile than a piano. From about the age of 12 into my 30s, playing acoustic guitar was a very big part of my life. I still have 3 in various styles, but rarely pick them up anymore, tending to noodle around on the piano when the mood strikes. Perhaps this will motivate me to re-develop the calluses on my finger tips.

  2. Sheridan Maxwell | March 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm |

    This, of course, was the music that we really listened to during the early ’60s, certainly not jazz.

  3. Seriously, people listened to music like that? The first thing that popped to mind when I started the video is the guitar smashing scene in Animal House. It is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k3AXX6IuvI

    I was young in the 1960s and listened to the Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and toward the end of the decade, Crosby, Stills, Nach & Young. Never any of the folky Peter, Paul & Mary or Joan Baez. The closest to folk might have been James Taylor.

    A friend texted me a meme the other day that said, “Your grandparents were called to fight in world wars. You’re being called to wash your hands and sit on the couch. Don’t f*^k this up.”

    The finanicial destruction might be the worst of this. But the ending has not been written quite yet.

    Cheer, BC

    PS Anyone got an extra toll of TP they can sell?

  4. In the mid ’90s I knew a sweet old man who’d served in WW II. He told me about having to march along while having dysentery.

    So essentially he was with a hundred fellow soldiers and would occasionally have to step out of formation, pull down his pants, and emit bloody liquid diarrhea as they all walked past.

    No toilet paper.

    Then he’d hike up his trousers and march on.

  5. Roger Sack | March 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm |

    I was at Cornell in the late 50s early 60s. There was a course offered on American folk songs from the English Dept.
    I think. I audited it. With the elderly Professor on the stage was Peter Yarrow, later of Peter Paul and Mary, who would play
    examples of the genre that the professor mentioned on his guitar. The course was informally called “Romp and Stomp”. My
    roommate one year was Leonard Lipton who was a fraternity brother of Yarrow and who later wrote there Lyrics to Puff
    the Magic Dragon. Lipton went on to a brilliant career as a optical physicist with numerous inventions. Although not folk,
    I attended Woodstock.


  6. MacMcConnell | March 24, 2020 at 6:34 pm |

    Folk music never had to be made popular in the regions it originated.

  7. As my own COVID-resolution, and as a way to support one of my favorite businesses, I was thinking about ordering a particular J. Press suit (https://jpressonline.com/products/olive-poplin-suit).

    My concern is that I’m on the west coast, and am apprehensive about ordering a suit online. Does anyone here have experience in the matter, specifically as it relates to J. Press? I’m certain of my jacket size, but worry the pants will end up being too baggy, or something else may go wrong. Would appreciate any advice.

    Also, another resolution is to catch up on my reading. I tackled two Harry Truman biographies (there’s a picture of me reading one in the photo contest post), and look forward to finally cracking Anna Karenina open next.

    Cheers, mates.

  8. whiskeydent | March 24, 2020 at 8:14 pm |

    Hmm, BC.
    Did you like Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Band, Buffalo Springfield, or the Byrds? How’d you like Janis singing “Me and Bobby McGee”? Did you know “House of the Rising Sun” was a traditional folk song? Did you know a lot of R & R arose from black Delta blues musicians who had nothing but an acoustic guitar to play?

  9. Before the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals moved to Festival Field (now a shopping center), they were held at Freebody Park which is behind the Casino and the Tennis Hall of Fame. That’s where I saw Seeger (Avon Old Farms and Harvard) sing the quaint Scottish ballad Manura Manyah:


  10. Charlottesville | March 25, 2020 at 10:02 am |

    Katal – I have had pretty good luck with on-line ordering, and J. Press generally will let you return an item so long as it has not been altered, although of course you should confirm that before you order. I do not find their current clothing at all baggy, but the classic American cut they offer is not the extremely short and narrow style of much contemporary menswear. This, I think, is a definite plus for Press.

    Of course, any ready-made suit may need the jacket taken in a bit at the sides, the sleeves shortened or lengthened, the trousers adjusted in waist, seat and length, and other minor tweaks, as long as the shoulders fit and the jacket length is correct. I have a good local tailor who is able to takes care of any alterations I need, and have had him perfectly tailor a new, mail-order J. Press suit for me in the past. If you like your trousers a bit narrower than standard, I have had several pairs tapered to an 8″ opening at the cuff for about $25, and am quite satisfied with the fit. I would say go for it. I have a similar olive poplin I bought at J. Press in Washington about 15 years ago and it still looks great.

  11. MacMcConnell | March 25, 2020 at 11:38 am |


  12. MacMcConnell | March 25, 2020 at 11:44 am |


    Great list, most of those folks can be heard on each other’s albums.

    Wasn’t Seeger the guy who went bat shit crazy when Dylan plugged in electric guitars at the folk festival? Tried to destroy the equipment. I believe it was the first electric concert Dylan ever gave.

  13. whiskeydent | March 25, 2020 at 1:49 pm |

    Thanks. I don’t know about Seeger (wouldn’t surprise me at all), but the crowd at Newport booed Dylan when he went electric. Many of the purist folkies viewed it as a betrayal.

    One person’s evolution is another’s defection.

  14. Thanks, Charlottesville.

  15. Charlottesville | March 25, 2020 at 2:55 pm |

    Katal – You are most welcome. If you decide to get the suit, please report back on your experience. I’d love to hear how it goes.

  16. @ MacMcConnell and whiskeydent – There are a lot of stories about that performance in July of 1965. One has Seeger frantically trying to cut Dylan’s (and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) electricity with an ax. He asked show producer George Wein, “Well, aren’t you going to stop him?” Wein replied, “He’s Dylan!” When that didn’t work, he is said to have gotten into a car, rolled up the windows and covered his ears.

    As for the boos, some insist that the crowd was really reacting to the lousy sound system and simply couldn’t hear the musicians.

    I was there, but I can’t tell you if any of this is true.

  17. Old School | March 26, 2020 at 3:11 am |

    “Folkingers ’round Harvard Square” (1959):
    First Joan Baez recording:


  18. Old School | March 26, 2020 at 3:28 am |

    Details of the album “Folksingers ’round Harvard Square”:


  19. whiskeydent | March 26, 2020 at 9:47 am |

    It’s funny how our “I was there” stories become gauzy over time. You’d think a big thing would remain vibrant.

    I have a few from Austin’s music hey days, and often my mind’s eye sees them as if I’m watching myself watch the show. Is that my own quirk or have others had similar experiences? Don’t worry, I already know I’m crazier than a sackful of koodies. I’m unafraid of further evidence.

  20. Pete Seeger sounds like a real snowflake panty waist. From the above first hand accounts, he behaved just as liberals do today-shut down the opposition and when that fails, find a safe space and cover your ears.

    Olive shorts, white OCBD Troy Shirtmakers 80s vintage, old navy cotton crew neck, tank watch on NATO strap, blue navy issue web belt, two day beard.



  21. whiskeydent | March 26, 2020 at 2:40 pm |


  22. Whiskeydent

    Yes, I really am wearing olive drab shorts, white Troy Shirtmakers Guild OCBD, old navy blue cotton sweater and a tank watch with a NATO strap. Working from home while the bull shit passes.



  23. whiskeydent | March 26, 2020 at 10:22 pm |

    Good. I was worried you were going to melt.

  24. Pete Seeger said that what really happened when Bob Dylan “went electric” is that he yelled to the sound guy to turn the guitar down, because Dylan’s lyrics couldn’t be heard at all. The sound guy yelled back that “this is how they want it”, and Seeger replied, “If I had an axe, I’d cut the cable!” Seeger had no specific objection to Dylan playing an electric guitar.

    As for Seeger being a “liberal scold”, he certainly scolded the members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he refused to plead the Fifth, but rather stonewalled them on the basis of that he could have whatever politics he pleased and that it was inappropriate of the Committee to demand him to tell them what they were. He was convicted of ten counts of contempt of Congress and sentenced to ten concurrent one-year prison terms, which he never served.

  25. My great friend, constitutional scholar Gary L. McDowell — RIP — was a Reagan conservative and a 60s folk music fanatic. When he headed the Institute on the US at the U of London, he invited Pete Seeger to appear at the U, and also to perform at the American Embassy in London. It was a great success and much fun, I love as told. All too close to Mr. Seeger’s passing. Gary — a “young” guy in his early 70s, had declining health and retired from the University of Richmond and died last year. Quite the Ivy dresser, too. Edwin Meese, former FBI director William Webster and other Reagan alums attended his services (and reportedly went out for Martinis afterwards). I wasn’t the only Democrat there, though. Honored to be asked to read from the Scripture.

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