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Video: Pete Seeger Debuts New BP Protest Song

Songwriter talks inspiration behind "God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You"

July 26, 2010 1:11 PM ET

Pete Seeger may be 91 years old, but the iconic folk singer still has plenty to protest. On Friday night at New York's City Winery, Seeger debuted a new song he wrote about the disastrous BP oil spill as part of a fundraising concert for the Gulf Restoration Network and Global Green USA . "It's a strange, strange song," said Seeger about the new tune, which featured a simple finger-picked chord progression and gravelly ominous lyrics like, "When the drill baby drill turns to spill baby spill/God's counting on me/God's counting on you." Check out video of "God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You" above.

After his set, Seeger told Rolling Stone he doesn't write many songs these days, but the oil spill inspired him to team up with folk singer Lorre Wyatt to write the track at his home in Beacon, New York. "I'm a fan of old songs that have a lot of repetition, spirituals," Seeger said. "Some of the greatest songs in the world only have one line, like 'This little light of mine.' "

It was a busy week for Seeger. On Wednesday, he traveled to Albany, New York, where he sang the new number outside the state senate chamber to protest hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural gas drilling technique. "I performed for 40 newspaper and radio reporters," he said. "It made sense down there, too. When there's a great big problem lets get together and do something about it and not leave it up to the government, the rich the poor."

Read Seeger's thoughts on Obama and his new disc Tomorrow's Children.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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