The Austin Chronicle

Music Gift Guide: Books

Honeyed harmonies + social change = PPM

Reviewed by Nina Hernandez, December 5, 2014, Music

Peter, Paul & Mary: 50 Years in Music and Life

by Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey & Mary Travers
Imagine, 144pp., $29.95

Dedicated to the apex of this seminal folk trio, Mary Travers, who succumbed to complications from chemotherapy in 2009, and genre godfather Pete Seeger, who died in January at 94, this handsome coffeetable account weaves together Peter, Paul, and Mary's illustrious half-century of lending honeyed harmonies to social change movements around the world. Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, alongside interviews and writing by their late bandmate, embrace PPM's lifetime commitment through photos of its East Village beginning that then arc through 50 years on a global stage. The surviving duo, still performing, recall Travers as the group's heartbeat and visual focus, and her blunt bangs look especially relevant today. Apartheid demonstrations, nuclear proliferation activism, and even "seven years off for good behavior" spine Peter, Paul & Mary: 50 Years in Music and Life, offering both a long look at the trio in the studio and on tour, not to mention their friendship with folk titan Bob Dylan. Ultimately, however, these are only the pleasant parts of a much longer, deeper, richer history.

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