40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2008
Detailed liner notes and excellent sound further enhance this comprehensive anthology that, frankly, has saved me a boatload of money. I was around when these songs were popular on Top 40 radio and I liked (and still like) many of them, but not enough to purchase entire "greatest hits" anthologies of all the various artists and groups. This CD brings together so many of the essential songs from the period -- pretty much all the ones I would ever want that I don't already have.
I am surprised the Seekers' "I'll Never Find Another You" is absent, considering its global chart success in 1965 (#4 here in the States and I think #1 in the UK, Australia and elsewhere). But I have everything the Seekers ever released, so it's not a big deal. Chad and Jeremy's "A Summer Song" (a #7 hit in 1964) is another pop-folk tune that could have qualified for inclusion. Maybe even the Silkie's cover of the Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" (a Top 10 hit in 1965) might qualify. And Trini Lopez was another artist whose songs entered the Billboard Hot 100 several times in the 1960s; "Lemon Tree" (#20 in 1965) would fit right in with these other chart entries.
Baby boomers are already familiar with many -- actually, most -- of the 28 tracks here, but for younger music fans who are curious about the "folk boom" of the late 1950s and early 1960s (and a style of popular music that continued sporadically throughout the 1960s), this is your one-stop collection. I have several other CD collections from the Ace label, and that is one company I trust to do a solid job. They have come through yet again with "The Folk Hits." This is an excellent compilation of songs that rarely if ever get any airplay on the oldies stations. Recommended.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
It was a time like no other in the history of American popular music. For a period that spanned roughly half a decade (1958-1964) folk music emerged from the coffee houses and college campuses of this nation and became an integral part of the mainstream music scene. Some of this music was quite intense but most of the songs that made it to the airwaves were light and upbeat. Now, some 50 years after it all began Ace records presents its sensational new 28 track collection "The Golden Age of American Popular Music: The Folk Hits From the Hot 100". With the notable exception of Bob Dylan, this disc features memorable recordings by virtually all of the important folk artists of this era.
Among the most important groups of the folk era was Peter Paul and Mary. You will find one of their most enduring hits "If I Had A Hammer" from the summer of '62 featured in this collection. Most will recall the great New Christy Minstrels recording of "Green Green" as well as the Kingston Trio's mega-hit "Tom Dooley". Both are included here. And the inimitable Johnny Cash checks in with his popular version of the Bob Dylan tune "It Ain't Me Babe" from 1964. And who can ever forget the Rooftop Singers classic "Walk Right In" that shot right to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1963?
What really attracted me to "The Golden Age of American Popular Music: The Folk Hits From The Hot 100" is the fact the folks at Ace records have managed to include a significant number of tunes that have been virtually impossible to find. I have now been able to replace my scratched and worn copy of The Glencoves "Hootenanny" that I picked up at a yard sale several years ago. The Limeliters, featuring the legendary voice of Glenn Yarborough, turn up here with "A Dollar Down" a tune that remains surprisingly relevant all these years later. I was also extremely pleased to find the Simon Sisters 1964 recording of "Winkin', Blinkin" And Nod" included in this collection. Just in case you did not know, The Simon Sisters were actually Carly Simon and her older sister Lucy. This record peaked at #74 on Billboard's Hot 100 just a short time before the act broke up. This was a real find for a collector like myself as I had never heard or even seen this record before! Of course Carly would go on to much bigger and better things as a solo act in the 1970's and 80's. I would also be remiss if I failed to at least make mention of Pete Seeger's "Little Boxes". This simple little ditty made a huge impression on me as a young teen in 1964 and really did change the way that I viewed the whole subject of materialism. America would have been so much the poorer without the music and activism of Pete Seeger. Sadly, as the 1960's came to a close, folk music would largely vanish from the airwaves. Today, folk music has pretty much been relegated to just a few hours each week on local college and public radio stations.
As usual, Ace records has left no stone unturned in their continuing quest to present the finest collections available. There is a reason that most collectors consider them to be the premiere reissue company in the world. The liner notes are terrific and the sound quality impeccable. So whether you are baby boomer looking to recapture those magical days or a younger person simply interested in sampling the music you certainly cannot go wrong with "The Golden Age of American Popular Music: The Folk Hits From the Hot 100". This CD would be a welcome addition to any serious library of American popular music. Highly recommended!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Folk is certainly enduring with its songs protesting war, economic hardships, civil rights, and labor strife and, since the days of Huddy Leadbetter (Leadbelly) and Woody Guthrie, there was never much middle ground where the listening audience was concerned - you either loved it .... or you couldn't stand it. And that pretty much stayed the same throughout each period of resurrection of the genre led by the likes of The Weavers, Kingston Trio, New Christy Minstrels, Serendipity Singers, Arlo Guthrie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Harry Belafonte, The Limeliters, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, and so on.
As earnest and as honest as they were with their lyrics and, for the most part, simple melodies, working on the conscience of the richer elements of the masses, they were also decried as "pinko, commie sympathizers" by the more idiotic fringes of society. Cartoonist Al Capp, after converting from liberalism to conservatism, even went so far as to label Joan Baez "Joanie Phoanie" in a series of vicious lampoons. But although the vast majority of the single releases by these sometimes counterculture icons (not all were in that vein by any stretch) never did well enough to break into the mainstream charts in the early years of the R&R era, every now and then one would do well enough to rank and, in a few cases, do very well.
Indeed, the first selection here, Walk Right In by The Rooftop Singers, is probably THE most commercially successful record of its era, Not only did this tune, first recorded in 1929 by Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, reach # 1 on the Billboard Pop Hot 100 in early 1963 for the Vanguard label, it also made it to # 1 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) charts (introduced in late 1961), Your Hit Parade (THP) and Cash Box (CB). And, to graphically demonstrate its widespread appeal, it also made it to # 4 R&B and # 23 Country. You'd be hard-pressed to find one other song that did as well. In any era. The trio from New York City would only register two more hits, however, and one of them, Tom Cat (# 20 Hot100/# 30 R&B in April 1963) is in this collection. The missing one is Mama Don't Allow, a revival of the 1936 tune Mama Don't Allow It, which reached # 20 AC/# 55 Hot100 in August 1963.
Others that, while not quite managing that enormous success, also did quite well were: Michael by The Highwaymen (# 1 Hot 100, AC, YHP and CB in late summer 1961); Tom Dooley by The Kingston Trio (# 1 Hot 100, YHP and CB and # 9 R&B in late 1958/early 1959); Greenfields by The Brothers Four (# 2 Hot 100/YHP and # 3 CB in spring 1960); We'll Sing In The Sunshine by Gale Garnett (# 1 AC/CB/YHP, # 4 Hot 100, # 43 Country in fall 1964); Don't Let The Rain Come Down [Crooked Little Man] by The Serendipity Singers (# 2 AC/# 6 Hot 100 in April 1964); The Unicorn by The Irish Rovers (# 2 AC/# 7 Hot 100 in May 1968); The Reverend Mr. Black by The Kingston Trio (# 8 Hot 100/# 15 R&B May 1963); and If I Had A Hammer [The Hammer Song] by Peter, Paul & Mary (# 10 Hot 100 in September 1962).
In terms of only the more lucrative Billboard Pop Hot 100, the following, while not attaining the success of those just mentioned, still managed to make the Top 40: Cotton Fields by The Highwaymen (# 13 in December 1961); Green Green by The New Christy Minstrels (# 14 July 1963); Silver Threads And Golden Needles (# 20 September 1962); Where Have All The Flowers Gone? by The Kingston Trio (# 21 March 1962); Greenback Dollar by The Kingston Trio (# 21 March 1963); and Hootenany by The Glencoves (# 38 in July 1963).
Two of the entries never actually made the Hot 100, There's A Meetin' Here Tonight by Joe (Gilbert) & Eddie (Brown) which finished at # 101 Hot 100 Bubble Under in 1963 (they were a black duo whose song was featured in the 1963 film Hootenany Hoot), and Summer's Come And Gone by The Brandywine Singers, # 129 Hot 100 Bubble Under in 1963 (this group included identical twins Rick and Ron Shaw who would later form part of The Hillside Singers who had a hit in 1971 with I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing). I also wonder at the inclusion, in a "folk" volume, of Johnny Cash and Billy Edd Wheeler, both very much Country. But these are minor quibbles and I highly recommend this spin-off from Ace's magnificent Golden Age Of American Rock 'N' Roll series.
All this is detailed in the excellent 31 pages of liner notes written by Rob Finnis which, in addition, offers up the usual vintage record/poster reproductions and photos of The Rooftop Singers, The Kingston Trio, The Highwamen, The Brothers Four, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, The New Christy Minstrels, The Springfields, The Serendipity Singers, The Simon Sisters, Joe & Eddie, The Greenwood County Singers, Billy Ed Wheeler, Bud & Travis, and Gale Garnett.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2008
The three previous reviewers have pretty-much covered
the background of the folk music movement of that era.
This is clearly a good sampling of some of that music,
including most of the more significant songs from the
period as the selections presented here range from
# 1 hits to barely-made-the-top-100 plus the two that
just "bubbled under" . . .
Just be sure to realize that this CD is only a small
sampling since there was a huge quantity of folk music
available back then, much of which is not yet available
on CD. This CD is indeed a great presentation by itself
but I hope that it will be only Volume One of a multi-
volume series of folk hits and non-hits from that
Golden Age of American Popular Music.
I thoroughly enjoy hearing this great music again and I
do indeed think this CD is well worth having in the
collection of anyone who collects the music of the
50's and 60's or just American folk music in general.
It's clearly a winner!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2008
Once again the gang at Ace has hit a home run. I have always had an affinity for the folk music of the 50's and 60's. There is something about folk music that tells stories better than any other form of music.
If you are not familiar with the folk era of the 50's and 60's this is a wonderful sampler of those 'innocent' times. This Cd covers a terrific cross section of both the big hits and the lesser known ones. While I own many of the songs on this CD on other single artist CD's, it was great to hear some of the lesser songs that I had almost forgotten such as "Hootenanny", "Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod" and "A Stranger in your Town". Plus there are a couple that I hadn't even heard of before such as "Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back" and "Ballad of the Alamo".
In addition to the superb song selection, the liner notes (really a mini book) are worth the price of the CD on their own. Great detail and background. If Ace keeps doing these this well there are going to have to get bigger jewel cases. All in all - a gem.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Though an age-old musical format, from the late 50's into the mid-60's, "Folk" music enjoyed a widely successful run with the music-buying public. Folk music compilation CD's have come and gone but none has been as concentratedly powerful as this new edition of the "Golden Age of American Popular Music" series out of Ace Records of the U.K.
No single CD could comprehensively collect all the hit folk records of the era but this new piece comes about as close as could be done. Among the twenty-eight tracks of charting singles (with two that "only" made it into the "bubbling under" category) are several number one pop hits including the Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" (the tune often credited with propelling folk music into the mainstream), "Walk Right In" by the Rooftop Singers and the Highwaymen's "Michael". Included are nine additional top-20 tunes providing the listener with lots of instantly recognizable, if not often heard on "oldies" radio, music. An even greater appeal here comes from those tunes rarely, if at all, found on CD, at least not in quality form. Some of the rarities include the Shacklefords' "A Stranger In Your Town", the Greenwoods' "Please Don't Sell My Daddy No More Wine" and "Hootenanny" as by the Glencoves.
And as has come to be expected from Ace, beyond the amazing selection of tunes included, the sound quality is top-notch. Most of the tracks are stereo, and therefore album versions, the exceptions being 12,15,17,22,26 which are in clean mono. Complementing the music is an incredibly detailed and lavishly illustrated 32-page liner notes booklet containing background on all the artists represented.
This new offering in the Ace "Golden Age of American..." series is an astounding accomplishment and deserves a place on the shelves of any fan of the genre and any collector of the music of the era.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2008
The folks at ACE records have done it again. This time, they've ventured into territory they haven't really gone into in the past, and that is Folk music. And they still managed to come out with an excellent collection of some of the biggest hits of the Folk era along with some very hard to find charting hits that many people may have forgotten about over the years.
Some of the standout tracks on this set are the stereo 45 version of If I Had A Hammer by Peter, Paul and Mary (a group who's music is nearly impossible to license), Ballad Of The Alamo by Bud & Travis (which makes it's stereo debut on this cd, in a mix that probably could've been a little wider), A Dollar Down by the Limeliters (a song big on radio at the time but very seldomly reissued since then), the correct hit take of We'll Sing In The Sunshine by Gale Garnett, Hootenanny by the Glencoves (which has appeared on only one other legitimately issued cd, although both use the same vinyl source for their master), Please Don't Sell My Daddy No More Wine by the Greenwoods (which has probably not been reissued since it was originally out in 1966), There's A Meetin' Here Tonight by Joe & Eddie (an excellent track that just blasts out of your speakers in stereo on this collection, although that means it is missing the fake audience overdubbing found in the mono 45 version), and a low charting but well known record by Pete Seeger called Little Boxes (however i would've probably opted to use the Womenfolk version as i'm not sure that one has been reissued ever).
Due to the mix of well known tunes and obscurities, the fact that some rare or hard to find versions are presented, along with correct single versions/edits that have been hard to find in the past, this cd gets 5 solid stars from me, and i highly recommend this to even the most casual fan of folk music.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2008
Perhaps the single best available collection of folk tunes that made it to the pop charts in the 50's and 60's. Includes best sellers like "Tom Dooley", but also more obscure songs like "Winkin', Blinkin' And Nod" by the Simon Sisters (including a young Carly Simon). It doesn't include more Peter, Paul and Mary ("Blowin' in the Wind", "The Lemon Tree") besides "If I Had a Hammer", "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (although his voice is featured on "Green, Green" by the New Christy Minstrels) or "Catch the Wind" by Donovan, but this single CD does contain 28 songs altogether. Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
I love oldies, from good rock and roll, to that often dreamy 60s style and, as in this edition, even the folk songs. But there are so many compilation Cd's; which ones to choose? Simple: ACE is the best of the best, only equaled sometimes by Eric Records. So that is why I have almost all ACE compilation Cd's. What makes this label stand out?
1) Every single compilation they release lives up to the title, because the songs really represent what the Cd cover states. We all know that wonderful feeling to hear a song again we were looking for, or hear something new but wonderful, thinking; yes this is exactly what I hoped this Cd would contain. Ace has given me that listening enjoyment on every compilation I have bought from them.
2) You get truly rare songs, some never before issued on Cd. This edition is just a perfect one Cd collection that indeed contains almost, if not all, quality folk songs from the 60s you would want to have.
3) There are always many tracks on the CD, unlike Time Life or Rhino or some other reissue labels, that give you 58 minutes or so.
4) All tracks are in good, to best, sound quality.
5) And then last but not least the booklet, that is the best I have seen anywhere: packed with background information about the style of that particular music, the artists, the particular tracks.
So if you look for something particular in the 50s or 60s era, Ace is where you should look first.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2008
This is another great CD from the "folks" at ACE. Some rare, some not so rare, but all great! plus some first time stereo. You cannot go wrong with this collection. A genre that has been overlooked amongst the "oldies".