We Shall Overcome

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Commercially released: April 24, 2006 / "American Land" edition: October 3, 2006
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and film by Thom Zimny
Recorded by Toby Scott at Thrill Hill East (November 1997, March 2005 and January 2006)
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain
Mastered by Bob Ludwig

Overview

Springsteen completed the Ghost Of Tom Joad tour in May 1997. In September 1997 Bruce organized a “Siesta” themed bash at his Colts Neck, NJ farm. He needed a band to play at the party and invited New York City-based outfit The Gotham Playboys. Bruce had heard about the band from Soozie Tyrell, who sometimes sat in with them at live gigs. In October 1997 Springsteen was asked to contribute a recording for an upcoming Pete Seeger tribute album. Bruce felt some of the musicians in The Gotham Playboys might be right for this project. He re-contacted them, fleshed out the session with additional musician friends and acquaintances, and a recording session was held at Bruce’s New Jersey home studio on November 2, 1997. There were six songs recorded at this session, including "We Shall Overcome", "Jesse James" and "My Oklahome Home". "We Shall Overcome" was the track selected for donation and it was eventually released on the March 1998 tribute album Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger. The Gotham Playboys were later invited to perform at a couple of other parties at the farm, including Bruce’s 1998 and 2000 birthday bashes.

From that original November 1997 Seeger session we must fast-forward seven years in the timeline to late 2004, soon after the conclusion of Springsteen’s ‘Vote For Change’ mini tour. Springsteen was liaising with manager Jon Landau regarding material for a follow-up to the 1998 Tracks boxed set. Some of the leftover material from the November 1997 Seeger Session was being evaluated and out of those discussions came the idea of releasing this session material as a stand-alone album project. However there were not enough songs recorded in November 1997 to fill an album. Consequently the original 1997 musicians were re-contacted and an additional session took place on March 19, 2005, just prior to Springsteen embarking on his solo tour to promote his about-to-be-released Devils And Dust album. There were nine songs recorded at this March 19, 2005 Seeger session.

Following the completion of the Devils & Dust tour Springsteen undertook a third and final Seeger Sessions Band studio session on January 21, 2006. There were eight songs recorded at this session. The original 1997 session wasn’t filmed, however the final two sessions in 2005 and 2006 were filmed and 30-40 minutes of docu-performance footage from these sessions (mostly the second) was included as DVD bonus material with some versions of the album.

Springsteen toured with the Seeger Sessions Band throughout 2006. During a break in the tour in mid-2006, and then in late 2006 shortly after the tour’s conclusion, Bruce recorded several other items. Some of these later session details are now known and others are likely to emerge over time. Although these mid-2006 to early 2007 recording sessions were not part of the true “Seeger Sessions” we have included the details below, as the material most logically fits into this section and time period.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1.1. OLD DAN TUCKER 2:31 WSO / WSO: AL
1.2. JESSE JAMES 3:46 WSO / WSO: AL
1.3. MRS. McGRATH 4:20 WSO / WSO: AL
1.4. O MARY DON'T YOU WEEP 6:05 WSO / WSO: AL
1.5. JOHN HENRY 5:04 WSO / WSO: AL
1.6. ERIE CANAL 4:03 WSO / WSO: AL
1.7. JACOB'S LADDER 4:25 WSO / WSO: AL
1.8. MY OKLAHOMA HOME 6:02 WSO / WSO: AL
1.9. EYES ON THE PRIZE 5:14 WSO / WSO: AL
1.10. SHENANDOAH 4:53 WSO / WSO: AL
1.11. PAY ME MY MONEY DOWN 4:30 WSO / WSO: AL
1.12. WE SHALL OVERCOME 4:51 WSO / WSO: AL / 1998 comp
1.13. FROGGIE WENT A COURTIN' 4:33 WSO / WSO: AL
1.14. BUFFALO GALS 1 3:11 WSO / WSO: AL
1.15. HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING? 1 2:20 WSO / WSO: AL
1.16. HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? 2 3:23 WSO: AL
1.17. BRING 'EM HOME 2 3:36 WSO: AL
1.18. AMERICAN LAND 2 4:44 WSO: AL

Total Running Time: 1:00:34 / 1:18:04 (American Land Edition)

1: Available on the bonus DVD of the original edition of WSO or, alternatively, on the later "American Land" CD edition of WSO. Also available as a internet download single. Videos directed by Thom Zimny.
2: A live version (not studio) was issued as a bonus track on the "American Land" CD edition of WSO. Also available as an internet download single.
3: A live version (not studio) was issued as a bonus tour video on the DVD of the "American Land" edition of WSO.

Additional Information

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