Late Night at the PB presents: Peter, Paul and Mary

This is a special tribute edition of the PB Pub. Today the folk music world lost one of the original voices. Mary Travers of the group Peter, Paul and Mary has died.

The New York Times reports:

Mary Travers, whose ringing, earnest vocals with the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary made songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” enduring anthems of the 1960s protest movement, died on Wednesday at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. She was 72 and lived in Redding, Conn.

17travers3a_190The cause was complications from chemotherapy associated with a bone-marrow transplant she had several years ago after developing leukemia, said Heather Lylis, a spokeswoman.

Ms. Travers brought a powerful voice and an unfeigned urgency to music that resonated with mainstream listeners. With her straight blond hair and willowy figure and two bearded guitar players by her side, she looked exactly like what she was, a Greenwich Villager directly from the clubs and the coffeehouses that nourished the folk-music revival.

“She was obviously the sex appeal of that group, and that group was the sex appeal of the movement,” said Elijah Wald, a folk-blues musician and a historian of popular music.

Ms. Travers’s voice blended seamlessly with those of her colleagues, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, to create a rich three-part harmony that propelled the group to the top of the pop charts. Their first album, “Peter, Paul and Mary,” which featured the hit singles “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer,” reached No. 1 shortly after its release in March 1962 and stayed there for seven weeks, eventually selling more than two million copies.

The group’s interpretations of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” translated his raw vocal style into a smooth, more commercially acceptable sound. The singers also scored big hits with pleasing songs like the whimsical “Puff the Magic Dragon” and John Denver’s plaintive “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

On a personal note, My mother loved this group as a young lady and still does to this day. With my Mom and many of the other young people at the time; politics was the farthest thing from their minds. They were just enjoying the good music and singing. I am also well aware of the politics of this woman and the other members of the group. However, I do believe a bit clarification is in order.  I believe that the liberalism of this woman’s era was not the same stripe of the liberalism of today. It is sort of hard to explain, there has been books written about it.  It was the Kennedy Liberalism and not the kind of Liberalism of Barack Obama.

Here are a few videos in memory of Mary Travers… Enjoy. May Mary rest in peace and on the behalf of my Mother; thanks for the memories.

3 thoughts on “Late Night at the PB presents: Peter, Paul and Mary

  1. Could you expand sometime on your sense of the difference between Kennedy liberalism (Jack, Bobby or Teddy?) and Barack Obama liberalism? I think it might be interesting. I’m not convinced there is a difference, but I want to hear more.

  2. If one is talking about Ted Kennedy liberalism, there’s not much difference.

    John F. Kennedy was, however, much more of a centrist as he governed, and did some things that would be unlikely for modern-day Democrats, such as: (1) He lowered tax rates in order to spur economic growth – and in doing so actually increased federal revenue! (2) He did not admire Fidel Castro, but tried to unseat his regime, although the attempt was an embarrassing failure. (3) He opposed some labor union power-grabs, and did not often please the AFL-CIO. (4) He advanced the cause of US military and technical preparedness, including the space program.

    Modern-day “liberals” or “progressives” – including the current administration – may tend to raise taxes, praise Castro, obey the labor unions, and let US readiness languish.

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