Noel Paul Stookey

Paul And

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Who would have expected that, out of the three solo albums to emerge from the dissolved trio of Peter, Paul & Mary, Paul And -- by Paul Stookey (also known as Noel Paul Stookey) -- would be the most passionate and musically distinguished of them? Paul And (which was titled to slot in between the concurrent solo releases Peter and Mary) is an energetic and exciting meld of solid electric rock, gospel, folk, satire, and even some rock & roll sounds, sung and played with a lot of heart and spirit and even some flashiness; he also manages to work in some PPM folk-style material, and a vicious commentary on radio censorship and human nature, hooked around the Spanky & Our Gang song "Give a Damn" (using the same title). Stookey's voice isn't the richest instrument ever to work a microphone, but his passion carries him past the limitations of his intonation, most notably on the gorgeous "Sebastian" -- the best folk-style number Stookey may ever have written -- and coupled with some first-rate playing and production, this is a surprisingly worthwhile album, and one that ought to be considered for CD release by Collectors' Choice or Rhino Handmade, especially given the presence of the perennially popular folkie nuptial classic "Wedding Song (There Is Love)."

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