Precious Friend

Precious Friend

A warm camaraderie runs through the tunes found on Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger’s Precious Friend, a double-disc live album taken from 1981 concerts in California, Illinois, and Michigan. The onstage chemistry between the two singer/songwriters reflects their long history together (Arlo’s father, Woody, was Pete’s mentor), as well as their shared affinity for social commentary, timeless folk tunes, and whimsical storytelling. The setlist features traditional material like “Hills of Glenshee” and “Tarentella,” gospel favorites like “Amazing Grace” and “Old Time Religion” (the latter rewritten to include nearly all the world’s faiths), and topical numbers like Tom Paxton’s “I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler.” Guthrie shines on a spirited take of his dad’s “Pretty Boy Floyd” and “The Neutron Bomb,” his own wry satire on Reagan-era militarism. Reaching back 30 years to his days with The Weavers, Seeger offers a brace of tunes by his old friend and partner Lee Hays, including such lesser-known gems as “Raggedy, Raggedy” and “In Dead Earnest.” The Seeger/Hays standard “If I Had a Hammer” is presented as a joyous sing-along.

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