WUMB February Program Guide

Rainbow Quest

I didn’t grow up with TV, and certainly not Public Television, so all I know about Rainbow Quest was what I heard from Pete Seeger when I’d go see him in concert. When VCRs (remember them) became popular, many of the shows were released on video tape and I hunted them down as fast as possible. (Remember this was before Amazon, back when we had things called records, and record stores. But I digress)

It was a show like we’ll probably never see again, and not just because it was recorded in black and white. It was just Pete, on a simple kitchen-like set, sharing music with his guests and with us. And what guests he had…


Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee

Mississippi John Hurt

Hedy West

Judy Collins

Elizabeth Cotton

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Roscoe Holcolm

The Stanley Brothers

Doc Watson

The New Lost City Ramblers

The Greenbrier Boys

And so on……


Sometimes Pete would play along with them, sometimes not. And they’d chat about the music and other things as well. Pete would also occasionally share some film to illustrate at point. Could be anything from the making of a Middle Eastern style flute to his brother Mike (of the New Lost City Ramblers) playing the banjo while riding a unicycle. When he shared a film of Jimmy Driftwood playing the mouth bow, the top of my head nearly came off. One of my all-time heroes and I’d never seen any video of him before.


In 2005 the Shanachie label issued these shows on DVD and now they are available digitally from Amazon and other sources, which is why I bring it up at this time. If you haven’t seen these shows, you really should. If you buy the DVDs or the digital versions from Amazon, please visit WUMB.ORG and click the familiar Amazon logo before you do. That way, Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds of your purchase to WUMB without it costing you a cent. Cool eh?


Note: the shows with Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem and the Mamou Cajun Band don’t seem to be available in digital download format. You’ll just have to buy the DVD.

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