MARY TRAVERS 1936-2009
Over the years I had the pleasure of meeting Noel Paul Stookey a number of times and some very brief contact with Peter Yarrow. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mary Travers but I recall some things about her that impressed me and made me feel that this was---as the Yiddish expression goes---"a real mensch".
Quite a few years back ---before I was doing a radio show---I called Harold Leventhal's office about the possibility of getting tickets for a Carnegie Hall concert with Pete Seeger and he said to stop by his office and pick up a pair for whatever they cost (always the business man--bless him). I was "wowed" when I realized I was sitting behind PPM in the audience and Mary graciously chatted with this awed unknown. Harold Leventhal, when I called to thank him, said in his gravel like voice--"...glad you like the show , Tony". OK he had me mixed up with someone else. So much for fame.
At one of their first "reunion" concerts I just loved the line she used on the stage at a Westchester, NY venue---"...anything different about us, folks? PAUSE. They are bald and I am speaking". What a great sense of humor.
A brief time of being just MARY without PPM led to long lines, as I recall, at a venue in Newport RI.
Recently she appeared in a documentary on PBS and, sadly, was there with all the tubes she needed for her condition. My take was that she felt the commentary for that documentary was more important than her personal appearance. Few people---well, Farah Fawcett comes to mind---are that open.
There is no sense in my repeating all the comments that have been posted elsewhere and the radio and TV comments here---"soundtrack of a generation", "meaningful music", "talked the talk---and also walked the walk"(I made that one up--though true ). Suffice it to say she is a great loss to a generation and even more so as a "mensch" in a world that needs more such folks.
As to program notes. The thing to do is to tune in on Sunday and read below for the other people that will be remembered that day in addition to some of the new artists that I am sure will admit a debt to people of Mary Travers' generation for their creativity and content.