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Carl Sandburg
Pete Seeger wielded his 'Hammer' with melodic clarity and civic grace
Pete Seeger wielded his 'Hammer' with melodic clarity and civic grace

Pete Seeger was best known as a folk singer, an archivist and writer, and the purveyor of such beamed-from-the-heavens standards as "We Shall Overcome," "If I Had a Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn." But among the musician's most important roles was one that's often overlooked: that of an American citizen who understood the power of song to serve as messenger, as Trojan horse, as lightning rod. It's hard to imagine a song steering and stirring more than "We Shall Overcome." The work long ago became less the domain of Seeger, who helped popularize it when he published it in "People's Songs," than a sacred text owned by...

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