BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
A meeting of two legends, albeit from different generations, this archival concert from 1994 is literally bursting with songs, stories and astute reflection. Amazingly enough, this was the first time McGuinn met Seeger as professional performers. Seger was McGuinn’s musical hero well before he became a Byrd, and indeed, it’s easy to detect his enthusiasm on this particular evening pairing when he finally had the chance to share the stage with his idol. Both men run through select songs from their back catalogs — “If I Had a Hammer” and “Get Up and Go” by Seeger, “Eight Miles High,” “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Chestnut Mare” from McGuinn, with renditions of “The Midnight Special” and “The Bells of Rhymney” done as a duo), and even though the accompaniment is limited to solo acoustic guitars, the power in these performances is palatable. Each takes turn relating the origins of the material they do here, and the anecdotes are as enlightening as they are entertaining. This is only the latest entry in a recent series of reissues from the Bottom Line archives (previous entries have included concerts by Janis Ian, Willie Nile, Tony Orlando and Harry Chapin), and each offers a rare — and rarified — glimpse at the music made at one of folk music’s most venerable establishments. If the albums to come are as memorable as this two CD set — and there’s every reason to believe they will be — so we can only hope that that the label keeps them coming.
DOWNLOAD: “If I Had a Hammer,” “The Bells of Rhymney,” “Eight Miles High”