Everything Changes by Peggy Seeger
I guess I’ve been aware of Peggy Seeger for quite a while, but I don’t think I had really listened much to what she recorded, and had never heard her solo work. It seems that I have been missing some absolute gems, because this album is a gem.
Peggy was 79 when this album was released, but if you are expecting some kind of cosy, nostalgic album, then you might be in for a shock. The album is full of energy, emotion and (righteous) anger, although there are a couple of gentler tracks. Her voice is wonderful: strong, clear and full of nuance, and she can turn on an emotional sixpence, as it were.
It’s hard to pick favourites from such a strong album which covers such a breadth of musical styles, but ‘Swim to the Star’ about the Titanic gives me shivers every time I hear it, and ‘Nero’s Children’ is an angry anti-war and anti-capitalist song. ‘We Watch You Slip Away’ is an incredibly moving song about the pain of watching her mother slip into dementia and move into a care home. Finally, ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ is a slinky, smoky, knowing torch song to a potential lover, warning him that he’d better shape up and appreciate what he’s getting: “I’m a hell of an angel, and you’d better give a damn.” It’s a fantastic song which Seeger sings like a wonderful badass who lives a full life, and isn’t prepared to give that up for the sake of “a little romance”. If I could do that song justice at 79 (heck, if I could do it justice now), I’d be a happy woman.