Sunday, May 22, 2011

"The First Time Ever"

A few days ago I posted a video of Mary Travers (who died last September at the age of 72), in her salad days, singing with Cass Elliot and Joni Mitchell to some shlocky strings on tv. My friend Howard saw it,  began "webcasting" around for some solo Travers work, and found this gem.

The song was written  by Ewan McColl for his wife Peggy Seeger, and although Roberta Flack's was the most famous rendition, I like this one the best. I think the world of PP&M as musicians and activists, but it's nice to have this solo performance too. Here's the trio performing the song on the BBC in 1965 ... oh, that heavenly blend!! And dang, how gorgeous they look.

Incredible app & website shows some of the "fruits" of a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian. The website cycles through gorgeous high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark, whereas the free mobile app uses visual-recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. On view now are the trees of New York City and Washington, D.C., with the trees of the entire continental United States to come. Pictured: the lesser periwinkle flower.

If that stimulates a yen to learn more, check out Alpine Plants of Europe: A Gardener's Guide or Taylor's 50 Best Shrubs: Easy Plants for More Beautiful Gardens.


  1. The simplicity and beauty of the arrangement and the quiet emotion of Mary Travers' "The First Time" took me back and made me think about many hours spent listening to folk-style music in my youth. Thanks for the memories!! M

  2. What a beautiful, unique quality her voice had - hard to believe now that she just sang that without autotune.