By Steven Brodsky
Fans of the music of Peter, Paul and Mary will be replaying this DVD appreciatively for years to come. 50 Years with Peter, Paul and Mary is now available outside of PBS fundraising offerings. Like many of you, I’ve seen some of this documentary on television with pledge solicitations affecting the viewing experience. If you saw it and liked it, you can enjoyit more with the DVD and the included four bonus songs.
There’s a good chance that some of your favorite songs performed by Peter,Paul and Mary are on it with vintage performances of “Five Hundred Miles,” “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” and more. The documentary’s content spans the length of the group’s career. That career skyrocketed upon the release of their eponymous debut album in 1962. Within three months, the album became the top-selling album in America. The following year, Peter, Paul and Mary performed at Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. The gathering was a watershed event for the nation and the trio.Historically priceless film footage on the DVD includes their cover of Bob Dylan’s“Blowin’ In The Wind” performed at the March in front of the LincolnMemorial. Peter Yarrow’s narration about it: “… when we sang “Blowin’ In The Wind” that day it changed the way we saw the world and our role in it.” That role, included advocacy on behalf of numerous political and other causes.
There’s ample coverage of that involvement with film footage and interviews. A former personal manager says: “They never change, you know. There’s a cause and they’re there.” Some of those causes were and continue to be divisive in the U.S. If you take strong objection to anything they advocated, it’s possible that you might be turned off to the documentary, though you might be a fan of Peter, Paul and Mary music.
Concert footage captures the talent of the trio. Performances of “If I Had A Hammer, “Early Morning Rain,” “The Great Mandala, and “There But For Fortune” are among the standouts for me.
Posted Dec. 17, 2016