When I was working at the Los Angeles Daily News, I went to a Peter Paul & Mary concert at Universal Amphitheatre. It must have been 1993 or 1994.
Their politics were as loopy as ever (sorry, I know lots of people agreed with them) and Mary was — well, there’s no other way to say it, she was fat. But it was all magic just the same.
In one section of the program, the members of the trio came out separately, to sing a couple of solos, and to share some personal reflections.
Mary, who grew up in Greenwich Village, recalled the time when the trio was just getting started, in the early 1960′s. Once, she recalled, she rushed home all excited, to tell her mother about the great gig they’d just landed at a Village club.
“Oh, Mary,” said her mother, with weary patience. “Get a real job.”
One of the stories I’ve read in the past couple of days mentioned that the trio had been practicing in the Travers’ home for months before they began to catch on, which may explain Mom’s lack of enthusiasm.
Obviously, being Mary of PP&M was a real job. The trio broke up for a while during the 1970s, but began giving reunion concerts around 1978. I saw them twice more, at Wente’s Vineyard in Livermore, Calif., in 1996 and at Fiddler’s Green in Denver a few years later, after I moved to the Rocky Mountain News. They were still giving concerts as recently as April of this year. A wonderful run for any musician.
I’ve kept my 1960s’ folk LPs, and I even bought a turntable with a USB port so I could listen to them again.