The Weavers Best of the Vanguard Years
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- Released: January 23, 2001
- Originally Released: 2001
- Label: Vanguard Records
CMJ - 2/12/01, p.39"...The most important group in modern American folk....many of their uplifting, high-energy tunes have become engrained classics..."
- 1.When the Saints Go Marching In
- 2.Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
- 3.Tzena Tzena
- 5.On Top of Old Smoky
- 6.Sixteen Tons
- 8.Wreck of the "John B"
- 9.Rock Island Line
- 10.Erie Canal
- 11.This Land Is Your Land
- 12.The House of the Rising Sun
- 13.Michael Row the Boat Ashore
- 14.Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
- 15.If I Had a Hammer
- 16.Darling Corey
- 18.Hush Little Baby
- 19.Midnight Special
- 20.Go Tell It on the Mountain
- 21.Marching to Pretoria - (previously unreleased, live)
- 22.Virgin Mary - (previously unreleased, live)
- 23.So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh
- 24.Goodnight Irene
The Weavers: Fred Hellerman (vocals, guitar); Pete Seeger (vocals, banjo); Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert (vocals)..
Additional personnel: Erik Darling (vocals, banjo); Frank Hamilton, Bernard Krause.
Principally recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York in 1955 and 1963, and The 1960 Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. Includes liner notes by Ed Ward.
Digitally remastered by Jeff Zaraya.
Personnel: Pete Seeger (tenor, banjo); Fred Hellerman (baritone, guitar); Lee Hays (baritone).
Liner Note Author: Ed Ward .
Recording information: Carnegie Hall, NY (12/24/1955-05/03/1963); Newport Folk Festival (12/24/1955-05/03/1963).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Erik Darling; Frank Hamilton.
The Weavers' stint at Vanguard, it should be noted, took place after they had their big pop hits in the early 1950s. That might be construed as either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your perspective. These are not the biggest-selling original versions of the staples of their repertoire, but they also feature only the group and their acoustic instruments, without the added orchestration that some felt diluted their early studio recordings. In any case, this has 24 songs drawn from live and studio performances in 1955 and 1963, almost all of them including Pete Seeger in the lineup (there are also two previously unreleased tracks from the 1960 Newport Folk Festival). Listening to these, one is struck by the sheer number of folk standards that the Weavers were instrumental in popularizing: "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," "Tzena Tzena," "Goodnight Irene," "Wimoweh," "On Top of Old Smoky," "Guantanamera," "Rock Island Line," "The House of the Rising Sun," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Midnight Special." It's also undeniable that their interpretations can smack of tame quaintness so far removed, time-wise, from their original setting. It's a serviceable overview of their post-blacklist output, though fans might prefer the less patchwork flow of the original albums, especially the ones recorded just after the group reformed in 1955. ~ Richie Unterberger
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