The new PBS/PP&M fund raiser is PP&M at Newport, 1963-65. I was pretty sure I’d seen most of the clips somewhere, the music was old hat, a lot of it indistinguishable from tracks on the 2-disc “Peter, Paul, and Mary In Concert” album that everyone in the North Reading High School Class of 1964 was nattering about in our junior year. So I didn’t mean to watch it but muscle memory takes over and refuses to change the channel if PP&M are detected.

But the show was worth it not only for the refresher in how PP&M affected me (or the me I was 50+ years ago) but especially for the finale. On the stage were all the performers from the festival – including Odetta, The Revd. Gary Davis, (black guy in shades to right of Mary) and to my delight, Theo Bikel (guy to the left of Mary).

Reverend Gary Davis was one of the most influential guitar players of The Great Scare, in that he lived in Greenwich Village (the center of the infestation) at the time  and supported himself by giving $5 guitar lessons to nearly everybody in range, so when you hear finger-picking from that era by people like Van Ronk and Dylan and Bromberg, etc. you’re hearing Rev. Gary Davis’s style. The repertoire of the early GFS was also heavily Gary Davis.

Theo Bikel was all over the place in the 50s and 60s. I’ve always loved his work, as actor, musician, writer, raconteur, etc. If you don’t know him, check him out – he played the First Officer of the Königin Luise in The African Queen, and Worf’s adoptive father in ST:TNG, (and Tevye, of course) but before that he did cabaret,  and recorded lots of Yiddish and Israeli folk music. He also introduced this fantastic song by Gene Raskin (who also wrote “Those Were The Days”) –

Check him out. What fun he was. If any other names above are unfamiliar, check them out too.