Peter Paul & Mary

Carry it On (Rhino)

Reissues

Peter Paul & Mary

Carry It On (Rhino) On their 2002 LP, One Beat, the women of Sleater-Kinney asked, "Where are the protest songs?" Exactly. We're living in a time that casts a similar shadow to the Vietnam era, when singers like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul & Mary were articulating impassioned and literate objections to our national leadership's actions abroad. Yet the protest songs from the Sixties, like Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," have saturated our cultural fabric so thoroughly that Elmo sings it on Sesame Street. But we still need these songs, and this 4-CD box set of just about everything recorded by the beloved trio serves as a reminder of a time when protesting our leaders wasn't a career killer. The collection isn't entirely political; there's a generous portion of folk standards that sometimes border on hokiness, but there's also something here for everyone of any generation. Each of the four discs contains a hidden track at the beginning, comprising compelling slivers of pre-trio history, including a charming solo track, "Single Girl," by Mary Travers, and a rollicking bit of beatnik cool by Noel (Paul) Stookey and the Corsairs, titled "Goodbye Baby." Remote-control addicts will find this feature irritating, though, as it requires getting up and reversing the first track in order to get to the hidden one, which can be frustrating. The best bonus is the DVD, which features live performances from critical moments in the trio's career: "If I Had a Hammer" at the civil rights march on Washington; "Leaving on a Jet Plane" with John Denver; and a video for the heartbreaking "The Great Mandala (The Wheel of Life)." It's the DVD that hits home with the fact that this trio of activists, maligned by the way-too-hip, are the musical ancestors of any intelligent artist working today.

****

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