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Mary Travers 1936-2009: In the Wind

September 16th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

Yes, theirs was the safer version of Blowing in the Wind.

But the melodic harmonies that Mary Travers sang with Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow, in the group Peter, Paul and Mary, were, for many newly-minted music lovers of the era, the gateway drug that led inexorably and happily to a deeper and edgier world beyond them.

Peter, Paul and Mary were also were the real deal. They didn’t just sing protest songs from a protected distance, they showed up. The passion that bled through Mary Traver’s voice was authentic.

“We’ve learned that it will take more than one generation to bring about change,” Mary once said. “The fight for civil rights has developed into a broader concern for human rights, and that encompasses a great many people and countries. Those of us who live in a democracy have a responsibility to be the voice for those whose voices are stilled.”

RIP, lovely Mary Travers.


Posted in American artists, Obits | 10 Comments »

10 Responses

  1. Irini Connerton Says:

    a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady

  2. Gava Joe Says:

    Nothing puts me at one with the universe like Peter, Paul, and Mary. I know Mary is still with us. I feel her karma. I feel her energy. I feel her. Enjoy the new horizon, my love. Enjoy the jet plane. We know that you’ll be back again.

  3. Tor Hershman Says:

    Did you ever view Mary, with P & P, singing “The Times They Are A-Changing”? It’s at YouTube (Get the 60s version [black & white]) and she REALLY was puttin’ all the feeling of person that REALLY believed things would get better and she is MOST spectacularly beautiful singing the number. The “Blowin’ In The Wind” video is from the same concert and would be my second choice.

    At moi’s blog I have a parody of TTTAAC Dylan album

  4. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Okay, I just went and found the video. It’s wonderful. Thanks for suggesting it, Tor.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EWVlmzHEtg

  5. Woody Says:

    I’m sorry that Mary died, and she was once great looking and had a great voice, but I didn’t care for her PBS view point of politics. There are people who want to see everything wrong with our country and others who are proud of the republic that we created. I don’t remember her celebrating the latter. Nevertheless, I realize that a lot of people felt some fulfillment from her music.

  6. reg Says:

    Nice, talented, earnest and ultra-decent lady.

    (And Albert Grossman was an evil genius, of a relatively benign sort. As a hardcore Dylan freak – yes, I was one of about 600 people whose very first Dylan album was Bob’s very first Dylan album, clutched in my grubby hands soon after it came out and loviing it – I could never quite figure out whether PP&M were harder to like or harder to dislike. To Grossman’s credit he asked Dave van Ronk to be in what eventually became PP&M, which would have been quite the bizarre aggregation. And no John Denver songs…)

  7. reg Says:

    One thing I really liked about Mary Travers is that she didn’t project that “precious” thing that the very young Baez sort of gloried in and which was annoying at times. She just put the song out there with a kind of honest energy and enthusiasm.

  8. Gava Joe II Says:

    You did great with your definition of where PP&M stood in the scheme of the emerging folk/activism genre, Celeste. They were able to round off the hard edges Dylan and Ramblin Jack Elliot, and even Woody Guthrie brought to the table. It was melodic folk music for the masses, but it held the message, and they made a fine job of it. Many hardcore zealots of the 60s resented their softcore versions, but the circle has pretty much met its start and yup, it remains unbroken.

  9. Marty Says:

    Why did she let herself balloon up so much? She got so fat NASA had to orbit a satellite around her. I’d see her often at Clifton’s cafeteria . She broke a chair once and often argued with the managers, defiantly refusing to put out her Pall Mall until she was finished. I always liked Trini Lopez’ version of ‘If I Had A Hammer’ better. I liked playing my maracas to it. Well I got to go.

  10. RobThomas Says:

    Hey, maybe I can play with Woodys maracas. Waddya say?

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