Picks and Pans Review: No Easy Walk to Freedom

updated 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Peter, Paul & Mary

Mary Travers says two things about her will never change: "my politics and—as long as there is Clairol—my hair." Indeed, she, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey have maintained a certain consistency of protest in their singing. Cynics may nonetheless be forgiven for being troubled by a suggestion of political dilettantism—a devotion to protest itself as much as the issues involved—in this, their first joint album in six years. There are songs about racism in South Africa, U.S. military intervention in El Salvador, saving the whales and peace in general, all of them worthy subjects. To cram them all into one album is reminiscent of bad political speech making, in which issues are tossed out wholesale in the hope that there's something there for everybody. Far more musically satisfying than the protest songs are the less pretentious I'd Rather Be in Love, which Travers sings touchingly (over the keyboards of fusionist Warren Bernhardt) or Right Field, Willy Welch's tune about the purgatory of kids' baseball games. It's a little puzzling, though, why so many of the tracks are done as solos by one member of the trio, and there is so little of the harmonizing that was always one of PP&M's most charming qualities. (Gold Castle)

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