Rash's Surname Index

Notes for Peggy SEEGER

Peggy, born Margaret Seeger, is the child of American musicians Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger. Her brother is the country musician Mike Seeger and her half-brother the legendary folk performer Pete Seeger. Peggy enjoyed a comfortable upbringing in New York and was well-versed in traditional music by her parents,later accompanying the folk-song collector Alan Lomax on tours around America. In her late teens Peggy and fellow folk singer Guy Carawan performed around the world,ending up in England, where Peggy had a short-lived marriage to the Scottish folk musician Alex Campbell. However, around this time she also met another Scottish folk singer, Ewan MacColl, with whom she shared a long-lasting personal and professional partnership, becoming his third wife in the late 1950s. Along with radio producer Charles Parker they created the BBC radio 'ballads', documentaries which incorporated actual interviews with folk-based songs. The famous song 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Your Face' was indeed Ewan's marriage proposal to Peggy over the telephone. In the 1960s they set up home in Beckenham, Kent, and established the Singers' Club, a folk singing club in London which encouraged young singers such as Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong and John Faulkner, under the collective umbrella of the Critics' Group,and with whom they recorded many folk song albums, these were on Decca's Argo label for which Peggy and Ewan also recorded a ten-volume set called 'The Long Harvest', a meticulously researched series of folk songs in British and American variants. Following a disagreement with Argo they established their own label Blackthorn, still encouraging other young artists such as the Kent-based group Fiddler's Dram. Their self-financed publication The New City Songster also published songs by new young performers. Peggy is the mother of the musician Neil MacColl and the step-mother of musician Hamish MacColl and the iconic performer Kirsty MacColl. Following Ewan's death Peggy commenced a professional - and rather to her surprise, a personal - relationship with the singer Irene Scott under the witty name of No Spring Chickens, Peggy's ironic description of their agent's opinion of them at the time. Latterly she has felt secure that her own children (Neil, Callum and Kitty) have found their own way in the world and has returned to America, where she is still one mean 5-string banjo-player, in addition to her prowess on guitar, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, English concertina and the instrument her parents first taught her to play, the piano.

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