In the decades prior to the '60s. folk music had become identified with sociopolitical commentary through the work of such avatars as Woody Guthrie, The Weavers and Pete Seeger. However, the idiom was forced underground during the Senator Joe McCarthy witch-hunting era of the mid '50s. New York's Greenwich Village marked the lone vibrant enclave at the time. with the only faint commercial flicker coming from voices such as Harry Belafonte. In the late '50s a spontaneous renaissance began. The radio started playing music by groups such as The Kingston Trio, The Limeliters. The Brothers Four, and The Highwaymen. Tiny clubs in the Village hosted aspinng young (less commercial) singers such as Eric Von Schmidt, Dave Van Ronk. and Ramblin' Jack Elliott (and standup artists such as Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce). Twenty-year old Robert Zmmerman (aka Bob Dylan) made a pilgrimage from Minnesota to Woody Guthrie's deathbed in January 1961 and then settled into the Village scene.
By the time Peter, Paul and Mary arrived, for the majority of America, folk was viewed merely as a side-bar to pop music which employed acoustic instruments. At this critical historic juncture. with the nation still recovering from the McCarthy era, the Civil Rights Movement taking shape, the Cold War heating up and a nascent spirit of activism in the air, Peter Yarrow, Noel "Paul" Stookey and Mary Travers came together to juxtapose these cross currents and thus to reclaim folk's potency as a social, cultural and political force. But few at the time could have realized how fervently and pervasively the group's message of humanity, hope and activism would be embraced. Ina certain way, they became the catalyst for the success of Bob Dylan in the mainstream - and it was Dylan himself who wrote the poem as the sleeve notes to their third album, In the Wind.
This essential LP edition includes the trio's second album (Moving), which was originally issued by Warner Bros. and recorded in late 1962. The album got off to a slow start but found its way to number two on the charts and a 99-week run with help from "Puff, the Magic Dragon." a song that Peter Yarrow had written in college. The single rose to number two that spring and became one of the most beloved children's tunes of all time, as well as the trio's passport through any potential controversy. Having expended some of their best material on their debut LP, the trio reached further for songs here, including Paul Stookey's "Big Boat" and Mike Settle's "Settle Down (Goin' Down That Highway)," neither of which clicked as singles, despite rousing vocals on both and some distinctive guitar virtuosity on the former. Other album highlights include the haunting "Pretty Mary," the beautiful "Flora," the startlingly intricate "A Soalin'," and the Woody Guthrie number "This Land Is Your Land." In addition to the original album, this Vinyl Lover's collector's LP includes 2 bonus tracks from the same period: "Autumn to May" and a bracing live re,nterpretation for three interwoven voices of Reverend Gary Davis' original "If I Had My Way" (which is even better than the group's studio record.ng of the same song).
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