|ALBUM LINER NOTES
"Moving" is a particularly apt title for this volume. And that
trunk on the cover is probably where Peter, Paul and Mary keep their magic,
for they've already moved into a million hearts and show no signs of ending
By now most of us have seen them; on television, at a club or,
best of all, in concert. They arrive on any stage like a breath of fresh
air and, during the course of their program, explore a great variety of
emotions. In each lyrical instance, what's more, the emotion is explored
with a depth of feeling and understanding 'til now unheard-of in popular
music. Which is why Peter, Paul and Mary are fast-becoming entertainment's foremost exponents of a special musical experience Judy Garland has called
"pow". Audiences seem to realize they're being offered more than just simple
amusement. Rather than killing time, they're seeing and hearing it brought
to life. Which is, after all, what entertainment used to be about.
And these same audiences are frequently moved to healthy laughter,
another important aspect of the Peter, Paul and Mary experience. There's
plenty of opportunity to laugh at ourselves in their comedy vignettes,
but forget the nervous titters of the "sick" comic syndrome. These bright
fantasies are completely forthright and delightfully Chaplinesque. The
crowd is very often just one big teeth.
Being funny is something the kids haven't got around to you records,
though. And with good reason. Today's entertainment world is too much with
"performing" groups whose recorded efforts are not worth the wax, or "recording"
groups whose idea of a concert is to stand limply on a stage waving their
mouths in time to their record. Peter, Paul and Mary are a "performing"
group in the real sense of that adjective, and humor is a little something-extra
you get when you see them in person.
Recording, however, continues to be a serious business. No one
has been able to sell these three on kettle drums and chimes. Without exception,
they take a song and look it right in the ear, leaving all extraneous noises
and ideas to the rest of popular music. Their posture is serious and their
attention as absolute. Folk songs are taken in hand and elevated to a new
level of excitement. Excellent examples of that unique P,P&M excitement
herein are "Flora" and "Morning Train". Seldom performed songs like "A 'Soalin" and "Old Coat" lose none of their fragile dignity when seen through
the very special P,P&M lens as they are here. Which fact above all
others demonstrates the artistic maturity of these youthful performers.
And here and there an original, or "written" song is rendered, and immediately
validated by their musical sincerity. An eminent folklorist was recently
complaining to Pete Seeger that young folksingers today are writing too
many new songs in lieu of perpetuating the old. Pete replied "Don't interfere
with the folk process!" To which "folk process" I submit the importance
of Peter, Paul and Mary. For, while they are already this country's signally
important popularizers of folk music, their serious interpretations of
folk classics command the respect of the idiom's most inveterate critics.
This album represents love's labor got on tape; you can sense
that easily. And suggested throughout each song is another kind of moving:
continuous growth. The voices, the instrumental work are exacting and pure.
Self- consciousness has been dealt with. Purpose is sweet, and often deeply
moving, in the continued absence of frill.
Peter Yarrow says simply "We're urban folksingers," by which he
must mean one needn't wear bluejeans to sing blue grass with authority.
Paul Stookey adds, "We've discovered understatement," of which truth there
are several eloquent examples on this disc. "We've found some beautiful
things to be had from singing," says Mary Travers, perhaps not realizing
that they're surely given back just as much as they've found.
And here you have it: Peter, Paul and Mary, Part Two. The second
installment in an important new quality of music. Judging by the acclaim
their first album continues to receive (old hearts as well as young hold
it dear), not since the Swing Era has the American musical appetite been
so thoroughly whetted. You already know there's great charm, wit and vivacity
in Peter, Paul and Mary's stage presence. Now gain the very worthwhile
experience of this, their second album, and discover for yourself that
beneath such wonderful frosting, there's really quite a cake.