Top positive review
Born to Sing Together
November 15, 2013
Interestingly, Peter, Paul and Mary was an artificially made group, created by Albert Grossman through a series of New York auditions that joined Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. All three had a strong musical background, and their debut album was a top ten, then a number one, and was eventually certified double platinum. They were everything Grossman could have wanted … and perhaps a bit more, for the trio was soon involved in anti-Vietnam War and pro-Civil Rights politics, using their brilliant folk-pop gifts to attract attention to the various causes they favored.
Peter, Paul and Mary’s political stances made the trio something of a hot potato during the 1960s, and a mixture of stress and separate interests led the band to a break up about 1970—but after a year or two apart they were soon back together, and after numerous “special” reunions they reunited for once and all in the early 1980s. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and they continued to perform as a group until Mary Travers’ death in 2009.
In later years, the trio was very selective about their concert performances, playing only about forty dates a year. I had the good fortune to see them in a very intimate venue in 1998. I half expected the performance to be nostalgia, but I was mistaken: the small hall allowed them to conduct a classic folk hootenanny, and not only did they blow the roof with their standards, they performed new songs with perfect musicianship. It was a treasured experience.
TEN YEARS TOGETHER: THE BEST OF PETER, PAUL AND MARY has long been a standard, the go-to album by the band when you wanted to find a particular song or introduce a friend to the trio. But THE VERY BEST OF PETER, PAUL AND MARY surpasses that earlier album. Not only does it include the same thirteen cuts, it adds another twelve, all of them as famous as anything on the first “best of” album. There will always be some argument about what should and shouldn’t be included in a “best of” collection, but it’s hard, hard to argue with additions like “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Cruel War,” and one of the band’s later recordings, “Don’t Laugh at Me.”
I think what impresses me most about Peter, Paul and Mary is their musicianship. They sound very simple, the sort of playing and singing anybody can do right off the top of their head … until you try it for yourself and discover exactly how meticulously planned and rendered the performances are. On top of that, their voices are a perfect match, a seamless weave. They were born to sing together. Unless you want to buy each of their albums separately, THE VERY BEST OF PETER, PAUL AND MARY is the way to go. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer