In The Wind

Peter, Paul & Mary

Warner Brothers, 1963

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/09/2016

One year after their first album in 1962, Peter, Paul and Mary were firmly on top of the folk revival. They were churning out hit albums and singles, in addition to appearing at the March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. It is hard to imagine a set of low-key musicians producing memorable yet quaint lyrics having such an impact today. But in the mid-‘60s, they were what the public needed. And they delivered.

This album oscillates between upbeat, semi-spiritual songs like the apocalyptic “The Very Last Day,” the Diskensesque “Long Chain On,” and “Tell It On The Mountain,” to slow-paced and beautifully harmonized “Hushabye” “All My Trials,” and “Rocky Road.” Despite trite and juvenile lyrics on numbers like “Rocky Road,” the trio is still able to evoke a seriousness that can really only be found in folk music.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For vinyl enthusiasts, side two fares a bit better than side one. “Stewball” is a serious song with a silly name, with some of the best interplay between the group’s three part harmony and guitar playing that the trio ever performed. This side also really demonstrates that PPM could do Bob Dylan far better than Bob Dylan. While Dylan was a powerful force with his songwriting, let’s face it – in 1963, he was not using the most appetizing voice in his performances. But Peter, Paul and Mary was able to polish his songs in a presentation that could stand the ages. And while Dylan can write an insulting song better than anyone else, their stunningly gorgeous arrangement of “Don't Think Twice, It's All Right” is the star of this album, with a fingerpicked guitar that sings as well as the vocal harmonies; it’s infinitely superior to the author’s attempt. “Quit Your Low Down Ways” is a raucous and very upbeat Dylan tune that demonstrates that the group had plenty of guitar chops in addition to their vocal dexterity. Finally, their version of “Blowin’ In The Wind” is more deserving of the folk cannon than Dylan’s version with a timeless arrangement and feeling that is missing in its writer’s version; its phenomenal reception as the first single from this album actually helped drive sales of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

This critic finds it hard to rate PPM’s albums during this period because they were each solid efforts with equally memorable quality. In The Wind does not disappoint. In light of the political turmoil and disappointment that exists today, as well as the music industry’s inability to respond to it, it is nice to sit back and be transported back to an era where musicians knew how to channel that energy and the public was eager to engage and participate with them.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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