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Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4

Related threads:
BBC4 Folk America series (44)
Old Time Music on BBC 4 (36)
Review: Tom Paxton on BBC4 (4)


Will Fly 29 Jan 09 - 03:46 AM
melodeonboy 29 Jan 09 - 03:54 AM
Will Fly 29 Jan 09 - 03:58 AM
breezy 29 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM
Will Fly 29 Jan 09 - 04:32 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 29 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM
Paco Rabanne 29 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM
julian morbihan 29 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 29 Jan 09 - 05:03 AM
NormanD 29 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,BanjoRay 29 Jan 09 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,johnmc 29 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM
Will Fly 29 Jan 09 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 29 Jan 09 - 06:34 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Jan 09 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,HughM 29 Jan 09 - 08:17 AM
Paco Rabanne 29 Jan 09 - 08:29 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Jan 09 - 08:32 AM
cptsnapper 29 Jan 09 - 08:55 AM
breezy 29 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Guest, Green Wellies 29 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM
The Sandman 29 Jan 09 - 01:14 PM
Little Robyn 29 Jan 09 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Tinker in Chicago 29 Jan 09 - 03:13 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 09 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 29 Jan 09 - 04:09 PM
Derby Ram 29 Jan 09 - 08:58 PM
Rain Dog 30 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM
breezy 30 Jan 09 - 04:37 AM
Haruo 30 Jan 09 - 04:48 AM
Will Fly 30 Jan 09 - 04:51 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 09 - 05:20 AM
breezy 30 Jan 09 - 07:37 AM
Ron Davies 30 Jan 09 - 08:14 AM
Haruo 30 Jan 09 - 04:37 PM
Ron Davies 30 Jan 09 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Tom 05 Feb 09 - 09:18 AM
John Hardly 05 Feb 09 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,HughM 06 Feb 09 - 08:18 AM
goatfell 06 Feb 09 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 06 Feb 09 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,folkie 16 Feb 09 - 09:49 PM
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Subject: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:46 AM

I caught part 1 of a 2-part concert from 1965 of Peter, Paul & Mary on BBC4 last night - presumably part of the current Folk America strand. I always had mixed feelings about the trio and seeing them again after lord knows how long didn't resolve any of it.

On the one hand, they helped to bring folk music very much to the fore at the time, and were very talented. On the other hand, they seemed unutterably banal and "nice" - somehow irritating. Reminded me of the atmosphere in some English folk clubs which, at that time, were emerging from a former Folk Dance environment, with very old-fashioned attitudes.

As far as PP&M are concerned, I thought it was just me at the time being young and bolshie and obstreperous. Now I'm just old, bolshie and obstreperous, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:54 AM

A Mighty Wind bloweth!


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:58 AM

Ah - now I've yet to catch that film.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: breezy
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM

have no worries

What they achieved was to show how it could be done, they were the wings that lifted and eventually carried us forward only to land us in a mudcat pond !

They gave us the keys to unlock the door through which I walked and discovered bloody uccapella folk clubs that bored the pants off me but I was not to give up that easily and found the music I was to enjoy for a lifetime.

And thanks also goes to Pete Seeger and the Kingston Trio


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:32 AM

Pete Seeger was something else. He always seemed a cut above people like PP&M. I remember learning his version of Cisco Houston's "The Hobo's Lullaby" when starting out on guitar, and various other things that he did. I think it was the feeling that he had sincerity and integrity. The Kingston Trio - to me - seemed like a very nice pop group, but didn't send that indefinable shiver down the spine.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM

I *loved* Peter Paul & Mary.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM

I watched it too. Pleasant and competent stuff, but what struck me was the way the three of them had to huddle around two microphones, which seemed to be too low. Couldn't the TV station afford THREE microphones?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: julian morbihan
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM

Not only just only the two microphones but there did not appear to be any thing for the guitars, no mikes, no cables, very strange.

Anyone any idea as to how, what or why?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 05:03 AM

"Huddled round two microphones". I think this closeness gave a tighter sound to their singing. Look at photos of Young Tradition and The Watersons performing in the 1960s. Even with no microphone, they are standing so close to each other. They were were singing with each other, almost feeling each other's singing. These days, with bands strung out across a stage, each with their own microphone and foldback, there is often not that same sense of singing together or so tightly.
As for the PPM film, what was impressive was the energy of the singing, especially in that first song.
One of the books I've read about the American folk revival (can't remember which and I am at work so can't look it up) describes the way PPM were put together by clever marketing people ... a sort of Monkees for the folk scene!
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: NormanD
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM

In about 1964, I heard, for the first time, the song "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" by Peter, Paul & Mary. Struck with this, I bought the single. When I got home I found that my older brother had bought Dylan's "Freewheelin" LP the same afternoon, which contained his own version of his song, that I had never heard before.

There being the usual sibling rivalry I was keen to show that PP&M was better than BD. I lost, hands down. His clinching argument was "Listen how uncomfortable they sound singing 'knowed'". Dead right. They were far too well-mannered.

I did like their later single, "To Much Of Nothing". And then I heard Dylan's original Basement Tapes version. Once more, beaten hands down.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 05:19 AM

They were superbly professional competent musicians who were extremely good at producing fruit flavoured bubblegum. I thought so at the time, and still think so. My fear is that a lot of the young British folk bands have similar tendencies, but these days it's harder to tell the difference....
Ray


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM

I think their rendition of the Bach piece showed their musicianship.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 06:12 AM

What did annoy me was what seemed to me a disrespectful take on Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues" - but perhaps that was just me.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 06:34 AM

I wonder - how much of their presentational appearance was dictated by the vagaries of the TV heirarchy - what were they like live without TV cameras around?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:02 AM

I loved them but their rendition of Ewan MacColls ' The First Time Ever ' was bloody awful, why did they find it so difficult to sing what MacColl actually wrote,
The first time ever I lay with you,
And felt your heart beat over mine.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:17 AM

It would probably have been frowned upon by the TV station in those days.
I was amused to hear Ewan McColl introduced as someone married to one of Pete Seeger's relatives!


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:29 AM

The second part of that concert is on BBC 4 tonight at 8.30pm.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:32 AM

And Ewan a Salford lad call ' a traditional Scottish singer '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: cptsnapper
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:55 AM

I wasn't sure about Peter Paul & Mary when I first heard their records but I saw them at the Albert Hall and they were, in my opinion, superb both in terms of the singing & the rapport which I felt that they created with the audience.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: breezy
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

I attended PPM and Dylan solo concerts in the 1964 periods also Clancy's

PPM put on a show and were understood, as did the Clancy Bros

Dylan sang songs and the audience pretended they liked him, I was unconvinced and felt cheated by his arrogance, but I've since put that down to being a young man with attitude

my conclusion was Dylan's songs were and still are best sung by others who know how to perform.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Guest, Green Wellies
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM

'the audience pretended to like him'

some are still 'pretending', pretty convincingly too.

'young man with attitude'

Who, Dylan or you?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM

I thought PP&M were terminally 'nice' until the other day, when someone pointed me to a fairly recent performance of Children Go Where I Send Thee by PP&M with a choir doing the responses. Extraordinarily powerful stuff, particularly Mary's singing - shut your eyes and it could be Aretha. Unfortunately the clip's since been pulled from Youtube, so you'll have to take my word for it.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 01:14 PM

Did one of them serve a prison sentence?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Little Robyn
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 01:48 PM

Haven't seen the concert but we saw them live and close up in a university common room concert back in 1964/5 and they still stood close together and sang as one.
Two mics?
Luxury!
Groups around here were lucky to get one working mic between them!
Later my tastes moved away from the PP&M type of song but looking back now, they were truly professionals and were very important to the folk movement at the time and to me personally.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Tinker in Chicago
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:13 PM

Yeah, Captain, Peter spent some time in jail. The story goes that he had a one-nighter with a groupie who announced in the morning that she was underage and wanted hush money. He called her bluff, she called the cops. At least that's the story I heard. But I also heard that, years afterwards, he was formally pardoned by Jimmy Carter.

The accepted version is that Peter's jail sentence is what broke up the trio in 1972, but it's also true that Noel/Paul had become a Christian and was uncomfortable about spending so much time away from his children, on the road. Either way, the years passed and they reunited in 1978.

I'd hesitate to call them "banal" and "nice," as Will Fly did above. PP&M were the most political of the 60's folk groups in the US, deeply involved in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam movements, the anti-apartheid efforts, nowadays the gay rights movement, and other issues. They sang of compassion for the poor in El Salvador...and for the kid who gets bullied on the playground. They sang of love for a child with Downs Syndrome. They appear to be deeply sincere about these things. And they didn't just sing about issues, they marched in the protests, got arrested, confronted the military junta leaders in Central America face to face. They even sang at the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "Dream" speech.

I think they're good musicians, good singers (well, at least the men), and good people. I don't always agree with their causes, but I wish I had their intensity.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:42 PM

I was fairly well acquainted with Noel "Paul" Stookey for three or four years in the early 1990's - he's the person who introduced me to the Digital Tradition, which eventually led me to Mudcat.

At the time I had contact with Noel, his wife was attending Harvard Divinity School, and she eventually was ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ. I gather he had become somewhat of a "Jesus freak" by the late 1960's, and was a somewhat-obnoxious born-again Christian. By the time I got to know him, he had mixed that with his wife's liberal Christianity and a smattering of new-age thought. I can't say I agreed with him very much on religious issues, but we had some interesting online discussions. I never met his wife, but I think I'd probably have an easier time agreeing with her.

One time, I drove down to Fresno for a PP&M concert, and my date and I got to spend some time with Noel before the concert. He sang a new song for us, one he was going to perform in public for the first time that night. I didn't really like the song - it was something about somebody being a jewel, and I don't know if he ever recorded it. However, I was amazed at my up-close experience of the rich sound of his unamplified voice and guitar. Peter and Mary are OK as singers (and Mary was much better when younger), but Noel has an absolutely lovely voice. I think it's best displayed on two songs, "Hurry Sundown" and "There Is Love (Wedding Song)."

And on top of that, he's a genuinely nice person and a pretty knowledgeable tech geek. And he knows a lot about a wide variety of music.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:09 PM

I loved Peter, Paul and Mary. My first guitar was a nylon strung guitar because that's what they played. My first attempt at a beard was a goatee inspired by Peter, Paul and Mary. Although I don't believe Mary had a beard. However, their "play safe" approach used to bother me; for example, in their version of "The Times they are a changing" , they sing the "comes mothers and fathers" lines very respectfully, as if not to offend.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Derby Ram
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:58 PM

In 1964, Peter, Paul & Mary were the guys who really woke me up to the power of vocal harmony and set me on a course of self development in folk music and song arrangement. Their story telling skill through their singing and supportive arrangements was outstanding and as I understand it, thoroughly in keeping with the whole accepted ethos of folksong performance. Perhaps their only crime was a little sophistication and experimentation and if that's true...BRING IT ON! Remember all you very English folk (LIKE ME), they were American, they sang like Americans and their musical interpretations followed a direct American historical musical development line which in my view despite their being targeted by Warner Bros for a commercial manufactured Folk Band were intensely passionate, sincere and committed to their art and folk music in general - but were never 'gated' by it. What's more, a large percentage of their material was in fact English. They not only moved with the times throughout their long, though circumstantially interrupted career together, they also moved the times along occasionally. They were FANTASTIC!


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Rain Dog
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM

Did Mary ever talk between songs?


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: breezy
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:37 AM

They used the stage they were given, and praise be to the Lord they did.

I'ld seen that show before but it was good to see it again, guess I'll have to keep on practising

Fri 27th March The Punphouse Watford


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Haruo
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:48 AM

My dad was absolutely enthralled by PP&M, so I was raised on their music, particularly their renditions of Dylan songs, and it did take some getting used to before I could appreciate Dylan's own versions. And I'm really surprised not to have seen Joan Baez mentioned in this thread.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:51 AM

I should stress, for the benefit of Tinker in Chicago, that although I used the words banal and nice, I also tried to stress the very mixed feelings that I had - 40 years ago - when listening to them. It's very difficult to put properly, though other 'Catters may have expressed it better, but I'll try again.

They were obviously excellent and sophisticated musicians. They sang and performed with passion. They were very good, and at the top of their profession. And yet, and yet... there seemed to be a veneer of "showbiz" about them, to me, that somehow undercut all those qualities. Remember, I'm over here in the UK - at the age of 21 at the time of that concert clip - not being as familiar, perhaps, with the world of protest and politics in which they moved in the States. They just seemed a little too smooth - and I liked my folk (and blues) a little rougher!

Watching them again, after an interval of 44 years, I still had those same mixed feelings. And I would accept that all this probably says more about me than them...


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 05:20 AM

Rain Dog asks whether Mary ever spoke between songs. I suppose she spoke only rarely when all three were on stage. Peter was more-or-less the leader and spokesman for the group, and Noel (Paul) had his comedy routines.
But every PP&M concert had a time for solo performances, when each performer was alone on the stage for two or three songs. Mary always gave introductions to her songs after the group reunited in the late 1970's, but I notice she didn't speak between songs on the 1964 In Concert album and I can't remember whether she spoke during the one PP&M concert I attended in the 1960's. She had a speaking part in the "It's Raining" song on the Concert album. I saw her perform solo in about 1975, and she had lots to say. She also split the seat of her jeans, which was memorable...
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: breezy
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 07:37 AM

They kept intros to a minimum, their music spoke, more songs per hour.

I attended a John Tams gig a few years back and he sang one song per 10 minutes

then again P P M had variety, contrast and pace changes, harmonies, solos and the time flew by, we didnt need or want talk, just music that was worth listening to and they delivered.

The Corries, Clancy bros, Ian C folk group, the Spinners all provided entertainment.Today we have the Fureys still at it.

PPM set a yardstick

as did does Pete seeger

Then come the solo Folk-entertainers.

All garner from and respect the traditions


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:14 AM

It was commercial music. And they could and did sing in tune and in good close harmony. As has been pointed out, sharing a mike can help in close harmony. And audiences like to see it.

Some writers who were just getting started probably appreciated the boost PPM gave them: e.g.   Gordon Lightfoot--"For Lovin' Me".

Some of the music still holds up. Most probably doesn't--especially the many saccharine offerings.

But kids probably still like some of it.

In the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, we consciously avoid anything they sang, by and large.   Not that they didn't do it well--it's just that because it was commercially successful, it doesn't need our help to survive. And a lot of music which deserves further exposure can benefit by our attention.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Haruo
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:37 PM

We sang Yarrow's "Light one candle for the Maccabee children" at Fremont Baptist during the Israeli invasion of Gaza, dedicated to our siblungen (or whatever the inclusive form of brethren is) at Gaza Baptist, who were having a rough week. (We'd also done it a week or two earlier for Hanukkah.)

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 10:15 PM

Light One Candle is a good, catchy song. We also did it at a recent Christmas concert.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 09:18 AM

PP&M were just fine for what they were. Everyone can't be a grizzled old ex-con who lived the life he sings about. Variety is good


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: John Hardly
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 10:54 AM

I didn't care for the Kingston Trio or many of their clones. I did, however, like Peter, Paul, and Mary quite a lot. But I didn't even think of them as "folk". I was young and I just thought of them like any of the other pop music I liked back then -- from Dave Clark 5 to the Beatles to the Supremes to Otis Redding. If I liked the song, I liked the song.

And I thought some of their vocal arrangements were just wonderful -- Jane, Jane, A-Solin' etc, were a cut above.

They were a very good pop group. And I guess that's the difference for me (addressing why I liked PP&M but not the Kingston Trio and their clones) -- the Kingston Trio and their clones were neither good pop, nor good folk.

Sometimes you can take the best of something and build on that, synthesize it into something else good. Sometimes when you take a little of this and a little of that, you end up with a lot of really bad. Like a ketchup milkshake. I like ketchup. I like milkshakes. I don't think adding the two together is a good idea.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 08:18 AM

The wonderful thing was that the cameramen didn't zoom frantically in and out and the vision mixer didn't switch madly from one camera to another as is often the case nowadays! I found it really nice and restful.


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: goatfell
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 08:25 AM

i like them


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 09:33 AM

You're dead right HughM, they drive me to despair when they do that (all the b****y time, these days!) and I often give up and switch channels to a less interesting but less demanding prog, maybe it's one of the signs of growing older and less tolerant!


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Subject: RE: Peter Paul & Mary on BBC4
From: GUEST,folkie
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:49 PM

Really, some of you would be hard to please. PP&M forever!


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