Peter, Paul and Mary: Autumn to May

This kind of thing was a lot more innocent in 1960

This kind of thing was a lot more innocent in 1960

Today is the birthday of Noel “Paul” Stookey (b. 1937). When I was a kid I played my dad’s old Peter, Paul and Mary records (especially their eponymous debut record) over and over and over, wearing out the already worn-out grooves. This is especially funny to me, because I don’t really like them! Or to be more specific, I never liked that squeaky-clean, “Weavers” type singing style. It’s always seemed the antithesis of folkishness to me. But while I don’t go for the way they do the songs, I like the repertoire. Does that make any sense? The songs are moving and meaningful and not incidentally catchy (not to be cynical this sunday, but the group was formed as a commercial enterprise by manager Albert Grossman. They were created to make hit records, and that they did for ten years.)

At any rate, Stookey and his bandmate Peter Yarrow wrote one of my favorite songs in the world, the whimsical, tall-tale-traditional “Autumn to May”. I find it so beautiful it always makes me want to bust out bawling:

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