Born in 1935, Peggy’s family connections are well-known in folk and classical music circles. She is Pete Seeger’s half-sister, Ruth Crawford Seeger’s daughter; partner to Ewan MacColl who wrote First Time Ever I Saw Your Face for her and to whom she bore three children. Peggy has made 22 solo recordings and taken part in more than 100 more with other performers. A singer and multi-instrumentalist, she is considered to be one of North America’s finest female folksingers.
Peggy often visits New Zealand for a few months every summer and when she heard about the arson attack on the Nelson Women’s House offered to perform a fundraising concert at the Nelson School Of Music. We donated sound services and set up as usual and when I asked Peggy if she’d like me to record the concert, she enthusiastically said ‘Yes’. Anyway I decided to multi-track record the concert, with the assistance of JR Richardson.
It was one of those magic nights, with guests including Irene Pyper-Scott, Nathan Torvick and Cairde, all beautifully performed and presented by Peggy and with a very warm reception from the audience, who were in full support of proceedings! The recording turned out to be superb, really capturing the mood of the evening, giving a live representation of Peggy on stage. The BBC recorded Peggy’s 70th birthday concert in London, which was released on CD, but it was felt the Nelson recording was more intimate and easily on a par technically with the London recording. So we mixed the album and it is now due for international release. Had we known we were recording for commercial release, I probably would have used more studio mics on stage, however, it’s a testimony to the live mics we use that the standard was totally professional. Peggy, and her producer Pyper, were a delight to work with and we were thrilled we were able to commit the concert to CD and add another recording to Peggy’s long list of achievements.