Mary Travers – Not Your Average Folk Singer

Mary Travers, singer, songwriter and unforgettable member of the folk singing group, Peter, Paul and Mary, died a few days ago on September 16, 2009 at the age of 72. Peter, Paul and Mary made their presence known on the international stage at a time when songs often carried a message along with a tune, and Mary and her cohorts, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey’s, songs carried more messages than most.

In the 1950s and the 1960s patriotism had not been hubristically claimed as the exclusionary property of any political party or philosophy, so the spirit of patriotism was shared by all Americans and hogged by none.

In that same spirit we present Peter, Paul and Mary singing “This Land is Your Landand performed live in Japan, no less:


Mary Travers understood that music and song did not work if they were not fun, so she and the group also popularized songs that had no real message but were most definitely fun. Some were thought to be children’s songs, but adults loved them every bit as much as the kids did.

Here are Peter, Paul and Mary singing “Puff the Magic Dragon:”

In one concert I attended the group jokingly ridiculed the concept that “Puff” was a veiled reference to marijuana because music critics had been attempting to draw parallels between the lyrics and drug use. Puff was merely a fun children’s song and nothing more.

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1) Mary Travers (singer),; Wikipedia. Retrieved 9/20/2009

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