Mary Travers


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When Peter, Paul and Mary split to pursue solo careers in the early '70s, Mary Travers was the first out of the gate with Mary, issued in early 1971. As the most popular and photogenic member of the trio, commercial expectations might have run highest for Travers, but she was at a disadvantage in being a far less prolific songwriter than Peter Yarrow or Noel Stookey. Indeed, she wrote just a little material (co-writing two songs) on this LP, 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, this is 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 Peter, Paul and Mary'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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