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Noel Paul Stookey: God's Troubadour

Updated on March 8, 2016

Why am I making this page about Noel Paul Stookey?

Why am I'm making this page about Noel Paul Stookey? That's a good question, especially since I already have a page on Peter Paul and Mary, the group of which he was a part in the 60's. The answer is that I'm making this page about Noel Paul Stookey in order to raise awareness of his life before joining Peter Paul and Mary and his later activities, since he left the trio. But most especially, I'm making this page about Noel Paul Stookey to raise awareness of his conversion to Christ in 1968 (two years before leaving Peter Paul and Mary) and his subsequent Christian works.

The start of Noel Paul Stookey - PRE-Peter Paul and Mary:

(info. gleaned from a biography on allmusic.com)

  1. In the 50's, Noel played electric guitar for several teenage rock bands.
  2. He had a witty personality and thus became popular as a standup comic. He worked his way through collagel as a nightclub MC.
  3. After graduation, he moved to Pennsylvania and then New York, hoping to become an entertainer.
  4. Working during the day, he M.C.'d Greenwich Village clubs at night.
  5. On Sundays, he joined informal folk music jam sessions at Washington Square Park, singing and playing his guitar.

    (Read the allmusic article)

Noel's conversion

According to Wikipedia, Noel had been raised a Buddhist by his parents.

But he felt something was missing and began seeking for that something more which would help him to realize the hope about which he was singing. He spoke to Bob Dylan who told him to read the Bible, which he did. Thus when a young man spoke to him about salvation through Jesus, he readily accepted.

Noel Paul Stookey's best known song:

(info. gleaned from Wikipedia)

In the fall of 1969, Noel's best friend and singing partner, Peter Yarrow (Peter of Peter Paul and Mary) was about to be married and Noel wanted to write a song for the wedding which would convey Noel's Christian convictions while respecting Peter's Jewish faith.

On a midnight flight between Peter, Paul and Mary concert dates in San Jose and Boston, he prayed and asked God how His divine presence could be there at Peter's wedding. The result, in his own words, was that "the melody and the words arrived simultaneously." Thus, not wanting to take credit for the song, he donates all the proceeds to charity. He recorded it for his 1971 album "Paul and" (below) and, as a single, it reached #24 on the hot 100, and #3 on the easy listening chart. Read the Wikipedia article

Take a listen to this great song:

Check out his first solo album - recorded the next year after leaving the group (1971)

They put the word "and" after his name, so that die hard fans could collect the solo albums of each member of the group and put them up on their wall in order to spell out the group name.

[From Amazon] This, his first solo album features the original version of WEDDING SONG [and] ...borrows from a diverse sylistic palette; folk ballad, bossa-nova, classical and rock. The CD is sprinkled with Stookey's identifiable 'audio trademarks' (sound effects, inside musical references and a lightness of spirit) yet manages to maintain a sincere and inspirational musical message of redemptive Love.

Noel Paul Stooky's later activities & albums: - (info. gleaned form allmusic and Wikipedia)

  1. In 1973, Noel moved to South Blue Hill, Main and opened his own recording studio and started his own record label,Neworld.
  2. Also in 1973, he recorded his second solo album, "One Night Stand."

3.Noel joins with the group, Bodyworks:

3. In 1980, Noel joined with a Christian ensemble called Bodyworks and recorded a Christian album with them, simply called "Band and Bodyworks".

4. In 1982, he recorded another Christian album with Bodyworks called "Wait till you hear this"

Noel's later activity continued (1983-1990)

  1. In 1983, as a result of the Peter Paul and Mary tour of South American, he wrote the song "El Salvador."
  2. In 1985, "El Salvador" was released as a single.

    ( Read the allmusic article)

  3. In 1986, at Celebration Shop in Texas, Noel joined with Jim Newton, Paul G. Hill and Denny Bouchard to form hugworks, an organization using original music compositions as music therapy for special needs children. Read the Wikipedia article.
  4. In 1990, he recorded another album with Bodyworks, "In Love Beyond Our Lives," which included the song "El Salvador," and which album seems to be more social need than specifically Christian oriented, although it is a mix of both.

"For The Love Of It All":

.

5. He also wrote the song "For the Love of it all," which was recorded with Emmylou Harris and included on the Peter Paul and Mary album "Lifelines" which was released in 1996. It's not on any of his albums except his holiday album, "There is Love,"

A mostly comedy:album:

From the start, Noel had always been something of an amature comedian. In 2004, he made a comedy album called "Virtual Party" There are a few songs on this album, but it's mostly spoken. ( Read the allmusic article)

More rercent albums from Noel Paul: - 2006-2007

In 2006, Noel Paul Stookey recorded 4 albums: "Reel to reel," "Something New and Fresh," "Circuit Rider," and his holiday album, "There is Love." all on his Neworld label. I had "Something New and Fresh," and I really enjoyed it. The folksy quality reminded me of some PPM songs and the Christian and family emphasis of the lyrics was refreshing.

In 2007, he recorded an album on the 3D label called "Promise of Love."

In 2008, he recorded his latest album, "Facets."


Noel Paul Stookey's latest activity:

(info. gleaned from Wikipedia)

In January 2011, Noel took part in several Dartmouth College events celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., including "Music for Social Change with Noel Paul Stookey and Company." Read the Wikipedia article.

Amazon spotlight personal recommendation:

. I had "Something New and Fresh," and I really enjoyed it. The folksy quality reminded me of some PPM songs and the Christian and family emphasis of the lyrics was refreshing

"Noel Paul Stookey, ..." is listed in:

Christ Centered Web - Directory

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      wayfaring stranger 18 months ago

      I have always liked Noel Paul, but Real to Reel and Something New and Fresh were recorded in the 1970s, not 2006. In an NPR interview recently, the Stookeys said that they have moved beyond the "onlyness of Christ," and Noel said that when he prays he's not really sure who he is praying to any longer (direct quotes). Perhaps he is just ecumenical, but their efforts with the "One Light, Many Candles" interfaith services is, by their own acknowledgment, Unitarian in nature. Spiritually I am not sure where Noel Paul is any longer, but the same Gospel proclamations I once heard are no longer front and center in his music.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm a fan of Paul Stookey, love his music. :)

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      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Interesting - thanks for sharing!

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