Peter Yarrow, member of Peter, Paul and Mary, signing copies of Puff & Other Family Classics on 1/19/08 2:00 PM at Barnes & Noble – Ulster Avenue. Kingston, NY.
About the Book and CD
Those who grew up on -- or raised children to -- Peter, Paul and Mommy will be mesmerized by the fresh folk sounds of Puff & Other Family Classics. Joining the talents of Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary), his daughter Bethany Yarrow, and her musical partner, cellist Rufus Cappadocia (the pair also record as Bethany & Rufus), the disc reflects both a broad view of folk musics as well as an internationalist groove. For example, on "Blue Tail Fly," a tune most closely associated with Burl Ives, PB&R maintain the original's easygoing gait but liven things up with harmonies by Peter and Bethany on the well-known chorus ("Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care") and a folksy-jazzy fusion of electric and acoustic guitars. A deep admiration for Celtic folk ("Shule Aru") and American roots music ("Foggy Dew") is constant throughout, as is a blend of the familiar and the unexpected. Whether listeners know "Careless Love" from Bessie Smith or Madeleine Peyroux, they'll enjoy the expert finger-picking, loping rhythm, and sweet melancholy of the version here. The trio transform the soulful warning dished out by the old gospel number "You Better Mind" into a Stax-influenced workout, with a slithering bass line and swirling organ underpinnings. But the crowning moment here is certainly the title song, which finds Peter revisiting his best-known tune, trading verses and harmonizing with his daughter on a beautifully restrained update that reminds us once again why a good story bears retelling. Turns out that sometimes you can go home again.