Mary Travers, The Angel Who Taught Me to Sing
I dont usually cry when famous people die, but I did tonight when I heard that Mary Travers had passed away. Peter Paul and Mary's first album came out the month I was born, and I remember as a little girl hugging up close to the hi-fi speakers to immerse myself in the amazingly rich sounds of "an angel and two cellos playing guitars" and smiling back at the happy lady on the In The Wind album cover while I listened. I remember my dad explaining the importance of event in the photograph on the back cover- Peter Paul & Mary singing Blowin in the Wind at Martin Luther King's famous March on Washington.
Mary taught me to sing harmony with passion and to be proud of my alto voice that I always worried was a little weird. She and my mom were the only two women I remember singing me to sleep at night:). In tribute, here are videos of some of my favorite songs from the early days of Peter Paul and Mary:
Mary said of this song:
If I had to pick one song, my softest spot, it would be "Blowing in the Wind." If you could imagine the March on Washington with Martin Luther King and singing that song in front of a quarter of a million people, black and white, who believed they could make America more generous and compassionate in a nonviolent way, you begin to know how incredible that belief was.
And still is. To sing the line, "How many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free?" in front of some crummy little building that refuses to admit Jews in 1983, the song elicits the same response now as it did then. It adresses the same questions. "How many deaths will it take till they know that too many people have died?" Sing that line in a prison yard where political prisoners from El Salvador are being kept. Or sing it with Bishop Tu Tu. Same response. Same questions.
Joe Smith, Off The Record, London, 1989, pp. 161-162
Mary's amazing voice ringing out over Sydney Harbor
I love her harmonies soaring on the chorus of this song!!
Probably my very FAVORITE song Peter Paul and Mary ever did...the way it builds is amazing....they could do more with three voices, two guitars and a bass than anyone I ever heard (okay there is a horn section in the back of this, but it wasnt needed, lol)
Finally, a couple of very happy Spiritual Songs to send her home...
We will really miss you Mary, I hope to see you again one day "in that land where Im bound" on that "great day in the morning" :-)