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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,TJ in San Diego Obit: Mary Travers has died (1936-2009) (89* d) RE: Obit: Mary Travers has died (Sept. 2009) 18 Sep 09


I was in the army in 1961 when I first heard a recording of PPM at a local record shop in Tacoma, Washington. It was quite a change of pace from The Kingston Trio and some of the other groups which did not normally take on "sensitive" topics such as war and social injustice. The Chad Mitchell Trio might have been the only real popular counterpart.

Musically, I found them refreshing for their rather straightforward guitar work and harmonies. They didn't sound as "arranged" as some of the other groups. Over the ensuing years, I saw them probably three times in concert. Frankly, I found Mary's constant flailing about of her voluminous blonde hair a bit distracting, but her singing overcame that. She, and her mates, gave a powerful voice to many real concerns and helped empower those who felt compelled to address them.

As for any other folk ensemble of that time, there were those who felt that PPM was not so much a folk group as a "message" group or a political group. They were sometimes even caricatured by their opponents, but persevered over many years. Their beliefs, whether or not one agreed with them, were transparent and powerfully stated.

They seemed to have an almost symbiotic relationship with Bob Dylan early on. Both he and Gordon Lightfoot, among others, owe at least a portion of their later popularity to PPM's performances of their songs.

For Mary Travers, but also for Peter, Paul and their legion of fans, I wish her a bon voyage. She'll be in great company.


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