Artist: Title (label, release date) 1-5 stars
Peter, Paul, & Mary: The Very Best of Peter, Paul & Mary (Warner Brothers/Rhino, August 23, 2005) *****
Chicago: At Carnegie Hall, Vol. 1-4 (Rhino, August 23, 2005) ****
Bill Haley & His Comets: For Dancers Only (Rev-Ola, August 23, 2005) ****
Edison Electric Band: Bless You, Dr Woodward (Water, August 23, 2005) ****
Peter, Paul, & Mary: The Very Best of Peter, Paul & Mary
It's about time somebody thought to issue a definitive compilation on Peter, Paul, and Mary. After all, 44 years have passed since the trio formed in Greenwich Village, and through all that time, the 1970 disc Ten Years Together was the only really solid overview. However, at 13 songs, that collection barely scratched the surface; with The Very Best of Peter, Paul & Mary Rhino serves up 25 songs, most from their 60's peak, plus a couple of solo hits and other odds and ends from the 70's and 80's. Peter, Paul, and Mary were folkies in the original beatnik 50's sense of the word, and from 1962-1965 they were America's biggest selling pop act, putting five albums in the top-10. They're best remembered for alerting the world at large to Bob Dylan via their covers of "Blowin' In The Wind" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", Gordon Lightfoot, via "For Loving Me", and John Denver, via "Leaving On A Jet Plane", none of whom were well known before PPM's covers hit the charts. They never adapted to the rock era; the closest they came to "rock" was "I Dig Rock 'n' Roll Music", a Mamas And Papas-esque putdown of rock that seemed to be almost fearful at the time. By 1970 their day had seemingly passed, and they released a trio of solo albums before retiring. They reunited in 1978, and have remained together since, performing countless shows for PBS, and releasing occasional albums. Rhino's package does them justice by including all of their familiar hits, plus less heard gems like Paul Stookey's "The Wedding Song", and PPM's 80's stab at political relevance "El Salvador".