The Solo Recordings: 1971-1972 [Barnes & Noble Exclusive]

( 15 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
This three-CD set is a rather odd entry into the Peter, Paul and Mary discography, as although it's credited to Peter, Paul and Mary, it in fact consists entirely of solo recordings by each of the group's three members. Each of the three discs is devoted to one of the solo debut albums that were issued around the same time by Warner Bros., those being Peter Yarrow's Peter from early 1972, Noel Stookey's Paul And from mid-1971, and Mary Travers' Mary from early 1971. There are no extra or unreleased bonus tracks, though there are lengthy historical liner notes with first-hand quotes from each of the singers. Nonetheless, taken as a whole, it does encapsulate that time...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
This three-CD set is a rather odd entry into the Peter, Paul and Mary discography, as although it's credited to Peter, Paul and Mary, it in fact consists entirely of solo recordings by each of the group's three members. Each of the three discs is devoted to one of the solo debut albums that were issued around the same time by Warner Bros., those being Peter Yarrow's Peter from early 1972, Noel Stookey's Paul And from mid-1971, and Mary Travers' Mary from early 1971. There are no extra or unreleased bonus tracks, though there are lengthy historical liner notes with first-hand quotes from each of the singers. Nonetheless, taken as a whole, it does encapsulate that time in PPM's careers when the trio had just split up and were pretty much simultaneously venturing into solo careers. It's true that for general folk and pop fans and for many serious Peter, Paul and Mary fans, these records are something of adjuncts or even footnotes to the work they did as a group. It's also true that these LPs sometimes -- to varying degrees -- sound like Peter, Paul and Mary records that are missing essential collaborative ingredients, particularly vocal harmonies and stronger material, that would put them more on par with the music they made as a threesome. Still, each of the records does have some worthwhile stuff, and none of them are poor or embarrassing. And while none of them would be commercial successes on the order of PPM's 1960s hits, they nevertheless were by far the most popular of their 1970s solo recordings. In a surprise a little on the order of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass being the biggest hit of the Beatles' first round of significant solo releases, Noel Stookey's Paul And was the most popular of these three records, in large part due to the inclusion of the Top 30 single "Wedding Song There Is Love." This was also the LP that fit in best with contemporary singer/songwriter trends in its comfortably easygoing rock arrangements, as well as being by far the breeziest and most good-humored of the three as was no surprise to those who knew Stookey as the comedian of the group. The sentimental "Wedding Song" actually isn't too typical of an album largely given over to good-natured, even-tempered, at times even mildly rocking Stookey songs that sometimes owe something to fellow Albert Grossman clients the Band in tone. For those who pine for Peter, Paul and Mary's folkier elements, "Give a Damn" offers those in its wry talking blues and "Tender Hands" is a throwback to earnest '60s romantic folk troubadouring, though the more elegiac ballad "Sebastian" is the most impressive Stookey original on the record. Since he was known as the most politically active member of Peter, Paul and Mary, some listeners might have expected Peter Yarrow's debut solo album, Peter, to be the most successful, or least most ambitious, of the three debut solo LPs issued by the trio in the early '70s. Of those three records, it certainly is the one most in line with the uplifting socially conscious music often associated with the group's 1960s work, whether the lyrics are personal or political. It's also perhaps unavoidably true that the songs -- all written or co-written by Yarrow -- aren't as memorable as the best of Peter, Paul and Mary's, and that the arrangements can sound odd for those accustomed to hearing his vocals in the context of the trio's stirring harmonies. But gearing your expectations to an early-'70s singer/songwriter album rather than stacking it against Peter, Paul and Mary, it's a pleasantly accomplished effort, if a bit tilted toward the gentle and sweet particularly in the vocal department. With backup from such accomplished musicians as guitarist John Till who had recently been in Janis Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band, Paul Butterfield, John Simon, and backup singers Libby Titus and Maria Muldaur, it also shows Yarrow adapting to the early-'70s soft rock sound expected of singer/songwriters, though things never get too cutting or fierce. "Don't Ever Take Away My Freedom" and the singalong-friendly "Weave Me the Sunshine" are the songs most imbued with the staunch liberalism Peter, Paul and Mary typified, but more effective is the more introspective "Take Off Your Mask," whose penetratingly strange Garth Hudson organ solos are the highlights of the entire album. Other superior cuts are "Wings of Time," the track that lies closest to traditional folk music, and the bittersweet "Tall Pine Trees," which is notably Russian-influenced in both melody and arrangement. As the most popular and photogenic member of the trio, commercial expectations might have run highest for Mary Travers, but she was at a disadvantage in being far less prolific a songwriter than Peter Yarrow or Noel Stookey. Indeed, she wrote just a little material co-writing two songs on Mary, which in broad terms saw her cast as an interpreter of songs by contemporary songwriters with a touch of arty orchestration, somewhat in the mold of records of the period by fellow veteran folk boom vets Judy Collins and to a lesser degree Joan Baez. Generally speaking, however, she didn't address material by composers as strong as Collins and Baez had, Mary featuring songs by Rod McKuen, Elton John, Paul Simon, and others, including some by John Denver whose "Follow Me" gave her a minor hit single, and who also plays guitar on the album. More than Yarrow or Stookey, Travers suffered when taking the solo vocal spotlight for an entire album, not being as strong or varied a singer as, say, Collins or Baez. All those shortcomings noted, it was still an acceptable recording of its style and the only Travers solo album to dent the Top 100, if perhaps one of more interest these days to Peter, Paul and Mary fans than anyone else. It's certainly on the earnest side -- even more so than PPM's 1960s output -- including new versions of a couple of songs she recorded as a member of that group, "The Song Is Love" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/18/2008
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227763329
  • Catalog Number: 77633

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Peter, Paul and Mary Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A definite service to those of my generation. I heard P,P, and M in concert many times, and heard Mary and Peter individually after. They were my favorites. At the time of their split, I could afford only the Mary album. Now, this is great!!

    Little more to be said. This is HISTORY. This is moving. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry. It makes my angry at times. But it brings me to a place and a time that is important to me and to many of us, I believe.

    When Mary left us, we mourned. I was so happy to see this set that I just had to buy it. The music may not be profound, but it is grand in its way. It reminds me of when I first heard it at a friend's place. It was magic. Their first album. Then all the rest. And their parting for a while.

    Alas, I ramble. But if you like them, buy it and treasure it.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I had these albuns on vinyl

    I had these albuns on vinyl.And i liked very much, Mary first and Peter second

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Peter, Paul, & Mary CD

    I loved it. I love all their music.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Love all 3 solo CD of Peter, Paul and Mary

    Fantastic

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    Posted December 10, 2008

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    Posted April 6, 2010

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    Posted December 7, 2008

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