No one needs telling — least of all the youngsters — that folk singing is sweeping the country. There was a time when a small audience of folk-song devotees would gather in a hall to hear one of a half-dozen or so groups sing the spirited folk songs of America. Today, however, it's a rare city indeed that hasn't played host to local or touring folk artists, filling its high school, college or civic auditorium to the rafters with enormous, enthusiastic crowds.
Whether old or new, down-to-earth folk songs have an appeal to which our hearts invariably respond. Gathered together in JUST PLAIN FOLK are many of today's most outstanding folk artists, soloists and groups — and in one instance, a famous baritone who from time to time enjoys forsaking musical comedy's glitter for the gold of our rich heritage of folk songs.
Appropriately, the proceedings begin with This Land Is Your Land, by one of America's greatest folk-song writers Woody Guthrie. THE NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS, a vastly successful group, perform the stirring ballad in their infectious, robust style.
PERCY FAITH fans have come to expect the unexpected from this talented conductor. Here, Percy leads his orchestra of nearly fifty musicians in a breath-taking arrangement of The Lemon Tree.
No one is immune to the timeliness and timelessness of a folk song, whether he hears it out in the fields, at a folk festival or in the comfort of his armchair. In Pretty Peggy-0, BOB DYLAN brings you his special world of folk singing, a world that contains exciting music-making.
The fresh vitality of THE BROTHERS FOUR has charmed audiences in concert and nightclub appearances, and in their frequent performances on television. Mike Kirkland, Bob Flick, John Paine and Dick Foley derive enormous pleasure from singing, and playing guitars, banjo and bass. You'll share their enjoyment as you listen to them in Michael Row the Boat Ashore.
Greenwich Village's Washington Square lends its name to the lilting tune played by the orchestra of LES AND LARRY ELGART. In this colorful area of Manhattan, youthful folk singers and instrumentalists get together to perform such folk-inspired tunes as — Washington Square!
The folk jamboree continues on the record's other side as famed baritone EARL WRIGHTSON sings Shenandoah, one of America's most beautiful folk songs. Although Mr. Wrightson is accustomed to singing hits from Broadway shows, his rich, resonant voice is ideally suited to this moving song.
Greenwich Village again provided the inspiration for a name — this time for a group, THE VILLAGE STOMPERS.  The zest and irrepressible high spirits with which they perform such folk tunes as If I Had a Hammer are impossible to resist.
PETE SEEGER, as well as being co-writer of the previous selection, performs two famous traditional ballads here: Johnny Riley and Barbara Allen. Seeger is recognized as one of the world's greatest folk-song interpreters and composers.
THE CLANCY BROTHERS AND TOMMY MAKEM, a foursome with the Emerald Isle in their voices, give an authentic treatment to a fine old Irish story-in-song, Brennan On the Moor.
A happy group of virtuosos who call themselves THE BANJO BARONS bring their unique sparkle to the album's concluding selection, Goodnight Irene, written by John Lomax and Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter.
Here is an album that has all the warmth and friendliness of its title — JUST PLAIN FOLK!
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!
ZENITH SALUTES . . . THE FOLK SINGERS and they, in turn, give back the compliment by performing some of the heartiest and happiest songs ever to warm a listener's heart. The folk music you hear in this album differs from other kinds of songs in that its down-to-earth subject matter reflects man's relationship to his fellow man and his attitudes toward the complex world he inhabits. In this rich and varied collection, you hear a wide spectrum of performing groups that ranges all the way from a solo performer, a duo and quartet straight through to a many-voiced chorus. But no matter what the number of people involved, it's the artistry that counts, the ability to communicate the "message" of the song at hand and to it every bit as vital and persuasive as its creator, well-known or anonymous, intended it to be.
The album begins with THE NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS, a bright-faced and bright-voiced group of guys and gals who named themselves after a nineteenth-century company of traveling entertainers. Listen to them give Cotton Fields, one of their most oft-requested numbers, a walloping-good treatment. The group holds pride of place on the album's reverse side, too, as they sing the jubilant Homeward Bound.
Next, you hear SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, a dynamic twosome who are as gifted in performing as they are in creating some of their own material. Here, they sing the subtle Leaves That Are Green and, on Side 2, I Am a Rock. Both songs are by team member Paul Simon.
THE CLANCY BROTHERS AND TOMMY MAKEM scour the Irish countryside—taverns, pubs and farms—for out-of-the-way songs and ballads to add to their huge repertoire. First, they sing their adaptation of the provocative Nancy Whiskey; later on in the record, they add the lusty Westering Ho to the program.
Women and their fascinating ways provide the subject for the two ballads sung by THE NORMAN LUBOFF CHOIR. The first, Annie Laurie, is a well-loved Scottish classic sung all over the world; and the second, The Girl I Left Behind Me, is an eighteenth-century colonial fife song supposed to be either of Irish origin or based on an English song called "Brighton camp."
A midwestern upbringing, cross-country wanderings and finally performing triumphs in New York City—this in a few words traces the climb to fame of BOB DYLAN, folk singer and folk-songwriter extraordinary. Dylan's singing style is intensely personal, a compelling expression of songs he writes—such as the two he performs here: Just Like a Woman and I Want You—to stir the emotions and stimulate the mind.
THE BROTHERS FOUR are famous for their versatility. They sing folk ballads of yesterday and they interpret popular songs of today. Whatever they do, they have a great time doing it. For proof, just listen to the boys sing When Everything Was Green and Wild Colonial Boy.
ZENITH SALUTES . . . THE FOLK SINGERS—and you will, too!
Includes a 50-page booklet with essays by Greil Marcus and Holly George- Warren as well as individual track annotations by Charles K. Wolfe.
The most definitive folk collection ever assembled! Never before has one collection captured the essence of Folk music - from Dylan to The Byrds from Pete Seeger to Peter, Paul and Mary - 8 CDs with 120 classic folk songs, plus a 52-page lavishly detailed booklet complete this truly amazing collection. Time Life has broken it down for you into 4 titles (2 CDs per title), Blowin In The Wind, Yesterday's Gone, Reason To Believe & Simple Song Of Freedom. Time Life. 2003.