Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary passes on

One of the things I inherited from my parents is a love of folk music. I am a huge Pete Seeger fan, and also greatly admired Peter, Paul and Mary.

(In fact, this no doubt had an influence on the kind of writer I turned out to be. One school of writing says, if you want to send a message, call Western Union. Another -- the one Pete Seeger (and Woody Guthrie) and Peter, Paul and Mary -- subscribed to says, if you want to send a message, send a message! I'm of the latter school, and it's the protest songs of these artists that influenced me.)

Mary -- Mary Travers -- of Peter, Paul and Mary passed away today.

Among the songs the group was known for: "If I Had a Hammer" (which they performed during the 1963 March on Washington), "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," and "Blowin' in the Wind" (and, yes, "Puff, the Magic Dragon").

The New York Times has an death notice.

And here's Pete Seeger himself introducing a clip of Peter, Paul and Mary. I have tears in my eyes right now listening to it.

Frolic in the autumn mist, Mary: you deserve it. What you did mattered, and it made a difference.
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At September 16, 2009 10:20 PM , Blogger Laurie Mann said...

They were an incredible group. I was also introduced to them by my Dad, whose musical interests went from folk to Broadway.

Stu Segal (of "Strolling with the Stars" at Worldcon fame) wrote of seeing PPM in concert just a few months ago:

At September 17, 2009 9:49 AM , Blogger Melody said...

I saw P,P and M in concert last winter, in what I think was their last tour together. It was at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA.

When the concert began, Peter and Paul were standing, while Mary was seated.

It was obvious Mary was quite ill but together they sang all the old songs, with the audience often singing along. Many of us may have become shoe salesmen or grocers but the 1960's spirit was still palpable.

It was a great concert.

There were a lot of tear-streaked faces in the audience, especially when, after the intermission, the stage crew brought Mary back onto the stage in a wheelchair.

I am sad at Mary's passing.

At September 17, 2009 1:21 PM , Blogger b.f. said...

In tribute to Mary, thought I'd post the following lyrics to the public domain "Woman of Experience" biographical folk song I wrote about her during the 1980s:

"Women of Experience"

She's a woman of experience
She's a woman who is strong
She's a woman of intelligence
And she likes to sing folk songs.

She was born in Old Kentucky
And raised in Bohemia
Her childhood was so lonely
But she found some joy in nature
Her parents taught her well
To always think for herself
And resist the Establishment
And that's why she sang folk. (chorus)

Around her was a crowd of rebels
Writers with words intense
Artists who hoped to change the world
And outfox the government
She rebelled against dumb authority
And refused to ape TV clones
Alienated and abandoned
She sang folk songs at home. (chorus)

She wandered in Washington Square
And sang along in the park
She read her quota of books
And sat in the coffeshops
She sang with a couple of men
And belted out her deep feelings
And fought for a better world
And they called her the "new folk queen." (chorus)

She's been through her family
And she's got some new lessons to share
And she's collected a lot of wisdom
And it's still fun to touch her hair
And she'll give you a passionate hug
And her spirit is still untamed
And she brings some love to the world
And sings folk songs in the middle of rain. (chorus)


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