Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unorthodox wisdom

I heard the news about the death of Mary Travers today, and it really has created a sense of melancholy around the day. It certainly isn't hip or cool or trendy to be a fan of Peter, Paul, and Mary, but I have always liked their music. For one thing, there is the beautiful three-part harmonies of their song. There is also the fun factor of some of their upbeat songs, but mostly there is the depth and power of their lyrics, even when they were simple. They sang brilliant songs of protest and commentary in an enduring style.

This morning, I've been thinking of Mary's husky voice singing these lyrics:

If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two, Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four,
Lord I'm 500 miles from my home.
500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles
Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home.

Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name
Lord I can't go a-home this a-way
This a-way, this a-way, this a-way, this a-way,
Lord I can't go a-home this a-way.


  1. Not all of Peter, Paul and Mary's fans died in the 60's (as a friend of mine once said). PP&M have always touched the hearts of our culture -- justice, love and yes, in later years - great fun. I have seen them in concert several times - what a trill!
    God bless PP& our dear Mary.
    Jackie Krieger

  2. I see I do have to quite reading these in reverse order! I think there are probably many people who would like to hear music that can describe the human condition as well as the folk era did. I am reminded that many of the changes these musicians called for actually happened despite the people who claimed it would be the end of life as we know it. Those who are comtemplating leaving the church should consider this a history lesson.