Peter, Paul, and Maggie, Too

Folk Singing and Dancing has Found a New Home at the South Street Seaport, 06/1973

I grew up in a family that, after Thanksgiving dinner, slid from singing Christmas carols to singing 60s protest and folk songs.

I had a “folk music for children” record that I played constantly.

I saw Raffi in concert.  (Don’t be jealous.)

And, when I was a teenager and for a few years after that, my friend C and I saw Peter, Paul, and Mary in concert every single summer.  We took the train up to Ravinia, spread out our blanket on the lawn, and enjoyed a picnic while the . . . original era fans marveled at our presence.

It was pretty much the Exact Same Concert every year.  Not just the songs, but the patter, too.  The last few years Mary’s voice was nearly gone; she saved it for “Leaving on a Jet Plane”.  There was always a new song about SUVs or something silly like that.

"The Back Porch Boys" of Stuart: Florida

This is not actually my family, but my father was a folk singer himself at one time (although, as he says, “everyone was a folk singer in those days”).

But it didn’t matter.  I loved that music, and those voices, and I still do.  And now, I get to inflict it on my offspring.

When Zoe was a baby, I used to sing “Lemon Tree” to her while I changed her diaper.  (Just the chorus, since the verses about the faithlessness of women have very little to do with babies generally or dirty diapers specifically).  Now that she’s a preschooler, I think it’s time for this and this, and maybe this one, too.

Because the longer I can keep her singing folk music, the less time she’ll spend singing the terrible music of this modern era.  May it be so.  Amen.

What are the songs of your childhood?



Filed under Marvelous Miscellany

10 responses to “Peter, Paul, and Maggie, Too

  1. Oh, and don’t forget this. Actually we have four of this series, but this one is my favorite. The music! The artwork!

    I used to have Peter, Paul & Mommy. I gave it to my niece so she would have some good music to listen to on a long road trip. I do not believe my BIL has forgiven me.


    • That looks like a great one, too! I would like some more music / book combinations–Zoe is enjoying just the regular liner notes of a CD of children’s music we got from the library, so imagine what a really well-illustrated companion book would do!


  2. Susan

    Maggie, your post inspired a flashback to listening to my Dad’s records and singing along to “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” which you can listen to here: Strange title, but when you hear the catchy chorus you’ll understand why I loved it as a kid. I never knew what it was about, though, and just looked it up to find out it’s sung from the perspective of an Australian stockman on his deathbed. That didn’t matter when I was 7 🙂


    • Susan, Rolf Harris sings this with the Wiggles (or, he did years ago), so Zoe and I know and love this song, too! I did not know the backstory, and the Wiggles version is much more upbeat than this one. No “tan me hide when I’m dead, Fred”, for example. Holy cow! The songs we sing with our children.


  3. Hannah has this one and it is good. My mom used to sing the Carpenters to me . I can hear here “Why do birds suddenly appear everytime you are near, Just like me they long to be close to you.”


    • That does look good, Kara! We will have to check it out. Our current favorite–not soothing, but silly and with lots of good action songs–is Jim Gill. We will bring some to South Dakota when we come!

      What a great song to sing to your little girl–do you ever sing it to Hannah?


  4. Kristin

    Hooray for Lux family post-Thanksgiving sing-alongs!!! One of my favorite memories of all time.


  5. I grew up on Peter, Paul and Mary, have the first two in the car and will play “We’re Going to the Zoo” anytime that we are going to a zoo, of course. I’ve never seen the Campfire one and now may need to go order it.

    9 years ago my parents were staying at a beautiful Victorian resort in the Catskills. They were taking a walk around the lake and another couple was walking towards them. My mother stopped and said, “Peter?” It was Peter Yarrow. They talked for a few minutes and my mother thanked him for all of the joy that PP&M has given us. He said that it was one of the nicest compliments he had been given. Then they headed on their ways in opposite directions around the lake.

    As your little one gets older, you might want to get Free To Be You and Me. It’s one that my mom had for us growing up and now I have the CD in the car for The Cub, and me of course.


    • What a great story, Lisa! Isn’t it fun to share this music with your own child? It warms my heart when Zoe asks for Raffi, who is my preferred singer for “going to the zoo.”

      And I LOVE Free to Be You and Me! My best friend and I listened to that constantly as children. It was on my baby registry, and since no one bought it for us (imagine that!) I just added it to Zoe’s Amazon wishlist. It’s probably still a little early, but I can’t wait to try it!


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