My parents were squares in the ’60s. When it came time to raid their record collection, there were no Jim Hendrix, Canned Heat, or Creedence Clearwater Revival albums to discover (those were in my cool uncle’s stacks). Instead, there were Time-Life classical sets, Herb Alpert, some show tunes, and lots of folk revival records. And of the latter, heavy on the Kingston Trio and Irish Rovers, it was the Peter, Paul and Mary records I loved the most.
What made those records so wonderful was Mary’s voice. It was so different from the Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell records: big and loud and round, a voice for ringing the rafters and raising spirits. It was a civil rights march voice, a union rally voice, stirringly put in service of some of the best songs of the era. Peter and Paul could do some tight harmonies, but without Mary they would have been an earnest shadow of the Kingston Trio.
Rest in peace, Mary Travers; may your voice continue to ring in Heaven.