By 1959, the Kingston Trio had reached mass popularity, won a Grammy, and had even begun to record their music in stereo. While their reign as the world's most popular folk act remained unchallenged, many within the folk community were critical of the group. Writers in magazines like Sing Out! argued that the trio's music had little to do with "real" folk music. Their smooth harmonies and evasion of political controversies placed them at odds with the spirit of Woody Guthrie and the aesthetic of the Anthology of American Folk Music. Like the Weavers before them, however, their fans could have cared less. Even though an effort like Sold Out found the group basically sticking to the formula of earlier albums, their fans kept it on the Top 40 for 54 weeks. The follow up, String Along, became their fifth studio album in a row to go to number one. A number of nice cuts grace both albums, including the humorous "Bad Man's Blunder," the driving "Leave My Woman Alone," and the Mexican-flavored "El Matador." One should also check out the bizarre ballad of Ann Bolin's ghost, "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm." As with other pairings in this series, Collectors' Choice has included several outtakes to sweeten the package. Sold Out/String Along provides 65 minutes of prime music from the heady days of the folk revival and will be warmly appreciated by fans.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.