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50 Years With Peter, Paul & Mary (DVD)

Peter, Paul & Mary

MVD Visual 2016

Review by David Bowing

 

Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers, better known as Peter, Paul & Mary, sold tens-of-millions of records during the early 1960’s pre-Beatles era and enjoyed a career that lasted until Mary’s death in 2009.

The trio formed in 1961 and they quickly became an important part of the folk revival movement. Their smooth style helped to make folk music a part of the American musical consciousness. Their early hits, “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” introduced Bob Dylan to the American public.

50 Years With Peter, Paul & Mary is a retrospective of their career as seen through concert footage, news clips, and interviews. Most of their well-known songs are presented. There is early footage from a long-lost BBC program, the famous performance of “Blowin’ In The Wind” at the 1965 Martin Luther King march on Washington, the poignant farewell to Mary Travers nostalgic memorial, and everything in between.

They are forever linked with the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement. Today their songs such as “Puff (The Magic Dragon),” “If I Had A Hammer,” “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane,” and “Stewball” may seem a little quaint and may have lost some of their impact but they are a reminder of a simpler era of the early 1960’s that quickly changed to a far more complicated one by the end of the decade.

The video and sound tend to of varying quality depending upon the date and whether it was originally meant for general release.  Everything has been cleaned up as much as modern technology allows but much of it is still not up to the standards of the day.

There are probably better instructions to their music such as any of their compilation releases or any 0f their early 1960 albums. However, if you want to understand their career, then 50 Years With Peter, Paul And Mary is a good place to start.

Rating: ***

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