The best music books of 2017

Richard Williams tunes in to Peggy Seeger’s folk revival, David Bowie’s meeting with Lou Reed, and the poetry of Bob Dylan

Peggy Seeger is the woman who inspired Ewan MacColl to write “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, a breakthrough hit for Roberta Flack in 1972 and subsequently a fixture in the repertoire of countless other singers. That, however, was just about least of the claims that could be made on behalf of the daughter of Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Ruth Porter Crawford, a classical composer, and the half-sister – younger by 16 years – of Pete Seeger, who would become a founding father of the folk music revival.

Born in New York City in 1935, Peggy was pretty much a one-woman folk revival herself. A fine singer and an accomplished practitioner of the banjo, the guitar, the autoharp, the dulcimer and the concertina, she absorbed a ...