I don’t know about you, but I’m STILL recovering from the election. Oh, maybe it’s not just the election, maybe it was Leonard Cohen’s death, and Leon Russell’s and, interestingly enough, Gwen Ifill’s. When I heard the news about the PBS newswoman, I sobbed for twenty minutes, and I’m not even sure why.
Maybe it was because the electoral process often missed Gwen Ifill’s sagacity as she, mostly quietly, fought the cancer. Surely, it’s because, at 61, she was younger than I. Maybe it was seeing how her death affected others. Pete Williams, reporting on MSNBC, could barely get the words out without choking. Or maybe it was her calm in rough seas.
Pete Seeger learned ‘Passing Through’ and sang it throughout Henry Wallace’s 1948 presidential campaign.
I was listening to my favorite podcast not hosted by Arthur. It is a music podcast, which should be no surprise. The second tune in the set was a song called Passing Through. I went to the website to see to whom it was attributed as the original artist of the song, and it said Leonard Cohen. I said to myself – I often talk to myself – “There is NO WAY that song was originally done by Leonard Cohen.”
My certitude came from the fact that my late father used to sing that song when he performed in my hometown of Binghamton back in the 1960s. While I didn’t know all of the specific origins, I did know that his song selection was established in the late 1950s and early 1960s from albums by people such as Woody Guthrie, Harry Belafonte, Odetta and Pete Seeger. Cohen came into prominence as a singer/songwriter later in the 1960s.