Photo courtesy of Mike Melnyk
We are tuly saddened by the passing of Mike Seeger. Photographer Mike Melnyk has posted some nice photos on his web site, you can view the slide show here. Following is an excerpt from Bill Martin’s “Old Time Music in Portland“ newsletter. Let’s all do what we can to support “the twangy and scratchy beauty of our great indigenous national cultural heritage.” Thanks Bill!
“Mike Seeger. Good grief, what a loss. We fans and pickers of old-time music and traditional bluegrass are deeply indebted to him. Mike sought out, befriended and promoted long-forgotten hillbilly folk performers such as Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs. In 1959 he went out and recorded a passle of bluegrass bands in the South, thus producing the first bluegrass LP. I can’t urge you enough to buy the CD reissue. The music is powerful bluegrass that had barely, even unsuccessfully, emerged from its old-time mountain roots. Its not the kind of music that passes muster in today’s revoltingly slick indie-bluegrass scene. Hot dog!
“And Mike was a dancer, you square dancin’ fools. He put out a fascinating video of southern dance called “Talking Feet – Solo Southern Dance: Flatfoot, Buck and Tap”. I saw him dancing at Portland’s Old-Time Gathering, and watched him square dance (in shorts and knobby knees!) for three or four hours when I called in Berkeley. There sure as hell had better be a heaven because I want him out on the dance cloud when I gits there.
“When someone like Mike Seeger passes on it shakes you up. He lived a life eminently worth living; lived so generously and creatively that his disappearance leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of our music community, whether or not you are aware of him or his contribution. The old guys like Seeger made it possible for us newcomers to have old-time mountain square dancing in Portland neighborhoods and homes. They helped to preserve, pass on, and educate our ears to the twangy and scratchy beauty of our great indigenous national cultural heritage that otherwise would have disappeared after WWII. Imagine a world without Dock Boggs or “Circle up! Let’s do that Georgia-Alabam!” I hope that in my own remaining years I can live a fraction of such a life worth living, starting right now.”