Terry Gilkyson, the talented writer and singer, was the leader of The Easy Riders, one of the more popular Folk groups to emerge in the 1950s. The group had their biggest hit with the infectious Calypso-flavored "Marianne", which was a Top 5 smash in 1957. The two albums that comprise this disc were released in 1957 and 1959 and have been long out-of-print and sought-after. They are included here in their entirety.
2 LPs on 1 CD: MARIANNE (1959)/WANDRIN' FOLK SONGS (1959).
The Easy Rider: Terry Gilkyson, Rich Dehr, Frank Miller.
Adapters: Frank Miller; Richard Dehr; Terry Gilkyson.
Arrangers: Frank Miller; Richard Dehr; Terry Gilkyson.
The Easy Riders' first two long-players assembled on one CD makes for a handy introduction to this unfairly overlooked folk trio -- it was a long way from this kind of pre-Kingston Trio folk ensemble to Bob Dylan, but it had to start somewhere, and it started with the Easy Riders. The material, a mix of folk, calypso, western, and sea shanties, with an uncommonly pretty blues ("So True Blues") somewhere in the middle for flavor, doesn't contain any surprises, except, perhaps, for the title ("Send for De Captain") on the trio's particular version of "Sloop John B," and the pleasantly upbeat rendition of "I Ride an Old Paint" -- the singing is pleasantly restrained, except where Terry Gilkyson opts to pull out the stops, his sweet tenor voice rising above the rest. The 12 tracks off of Wanderin': Folk Songs by the Easy Riders, which are weighted somewhat more toward blues (especially "Lonesome Whistle") and away from calypso, are in stereo, while the Marianne LP material is in mono -- the latter song is included, of course, but the group's one other (albeit minor) chart entry, "Tina," isn't present. The notes by Mark Marymount slight Richard Dehr's and Frank Miller's contributions to the trio somewhat, and also fail to expand on the superb instrumental work by the trio and their studio back-up musicians. ~ Bruce Eder