Hurry sundown...

One of the key voices in my musical maturation was part of the trio: Peter, Paul and Mary. Tonight word comes that Mary has passed from this life to life everlasting. And while I pray that she rest in peace forever, I also want to express my gratitude to her for beautiful music and great political courage.

As a young teen I was smitten by her bold semi-beatnik beauty. I loved the way she grounded Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow as they sang. And it was so exciting to see a young woman hold equal ground with two men in the folk music genre. She symbolized the hope of equality and creativity in a unique and transformative way for me as a young man.

I still remember buying each of their early albums - and when PP&M sang, "Blowin' in the Wind" - which I always associate with the 1963 March on Washington - I shed tears of joy and longing. In fact, I felt those same tears when Barrack Obama was elected President - and also at his inauguration. There was an innocence and hope in those songs and it nourished our hearts. What's more, there was an integrity to her voice that simply bathed my soul in something of God's loving presence.

I can remember lying in my 9th grade bed listening to my little red Japanese transistor radio at night when I was supposed to be asleep waiting for my favorite songs. Sometimes it was the Rolling Stones singing "Satisfaction." Sometimes it was the Beatles doing "Ticket to Ride." And sometimes it was Peter, Paul and Mary singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" or "I Dig Rock and Roll Music." They were as cool to me as the Mommas and the Poppas.

I baptized my babies to Peter Yarrow's tune, "Weave Me the Sunshine." Like many other guitar players, I shared Noel Paul Stookey's, "The Wedding Song" at the nuptials of my daughter's godfather. And I have listened to Mary Travers bring harmony and hope for almost as many years as I have been alive. I am truly sad that she has passed.

My all-time favorite song is their version of "Hurry Down Sundown," from the crappy Otto Preminger movie of the same name that was the first major motion picture to be filmed with a Black actress in the American South. While the film missed the mark, the song has always touched my heart. I pray blessing on Mary's husband and her musical colleagues. Thank you for all the joy and wisdom you shared with us all for so many years.


ChathamKat said…
Ah, yes, my little radio was not red, but via my silver radio Mary kept me company at night during those turbulent years. I especially loved WBZ Boston.
And she was a trailblazer, for sure. Mary inspired me to get my first guitar at 14.
Thank you for your sweet remembrance.
RJ said…
I used to listen to WBZ, too, all the way in CT when I wasn't listening to WINS. Thanks Katharine.
Black Pete said…
One of my treasures is now lost: Album 1700, with the trio dressed as 1920s gangsters/moll on the cover. I loved their sound, and still play The Wedding Song (OK, so it's not the trio's) on occasion (like our anniversary).

To be fair to all concerned, however, when Mary was not singing, and was pronouncing her opinions on diverse subjects, she invariably made me cringe. She was a very warm, loving person, but, from what I could tell, incredibly ill-informed. {sigh}
RJ said…
That was often my reaction to her words, too, Peter! Sometimes our similarities blow my mind. I will miss the warm richness of her voice.

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