However simple their tunes or straightforward their words, good folk songs-provided they are presented in imaginative arrangements and performed with sincerity—can fill us with joy or move us to a deep thoughtfulness THE FOLK ALL-STARS is a rich harvesting of wonderful folk songs, old and new, in stand-out performances by some of today's most popular and gifted artists. Nearly all are vocal-instrumental groups, the sole exception being perhaps the most revered man practicing the art of folk-song collecting, writing and singing today. Here, then, is a hootenanny—a sociable get-together in the interests of promoting fun and, perhaps most important of all, good fellowship. Now, meet THE FOLK ALL-STARS!
Four fraternity brothers who met at the University of Washington just a few years ago are now one of the most renowned singing groups in the world. Mike Kirkland, Dick Foley, John Paine and Bob Flick sing and play guitars, banjo and bass—and, of course, they sing! They appear often on nation-wide television and at college campuses throughout the country. One of the foreign countries in which they enjoy special popularity is Japan, where the boys have returned again and again to enthusiastic acclaim, The Brothers Four perform here two of their most oft-requested numbers, Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice, it's All Right, and I'm Just a Country Boy.
Pete Seeger, the only solo performer on this record, is often called "the Johnny Appleseed of folk music." Pete feels that songs should reflect the hopes and struggles of the common man. A self-taught guitarist and banjo-picker, for years he has roamed America and the world, learning new folk songs to add to his vast repertoire and passing along some of his favorites to folk-song enthusiasts who invariably crowd his concerts. Here, he performs the inspiring Follow the Drinkin' Gourd and Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season), Pete's musical setting and adaptation of words from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are Irish lads with a lilt in their voices and a love of music-making in their hearts. They have appeared in a wide range of places—everywhere from Ireland's colorful pubs to Carnegie Hall, from such college campuses as Tennessee's famed Vanderbilt University to the nightclubs of Manhattan. Always, their special arrangements of Ireland's folk songs—performed with the splendor and sparkle of shamrock green—delight their in-person audiences, or collectors of their best-selling albums. Listen to them tell the tales of The Whistling Gypsy and Wild Rover. You'll succumb to their irresistible charm, too!
The individual vocal ranges, choice of harmonic blend and distinctive instrumentation that add up to The Back Porch Majority* are just as friendly and informal as their group name. An aggregation of young men and women dedicated to the principle that the old-fashioned ways are the best ways, it puts its homespun philosophy into practice with the numbers it performs here, Down the Ohio and Out Behind the Barn.
The New Christy Minstrels is another group of exuberant performers whose vitality has appealed to millions of record fans, television viewers and hootenanny audiences. They named themselves after the popular Christy Minstrels of the latter part of the nineteenth century. When asked to account for The New Christy Ministrels' popularity, one of its members said: "I think people enjoy a choral-instrumental group whose performances come from the heart." The humorous Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, a ballad by Rolf Harris with an Australian tang, and Everybody Loves Saturday Night are typical of The New Christy Ministrels' rollicking appeal.
Now, listen to THE FOLK ALL-STARS!