The Brothers Four -- Bob Flick (upright bass/baritone vocal), John Paine (guitar/baritone vocal), Mike Kirkland (guitar/banjo/tenor vocal) and Dick Foley (guitar/baritone vocal) -- had already established themselves with a string of well-received (although not exactly hit) albums beginning with their debut Rally 'Round the Brothers Four (1960). A steady diet of cross-country personal appearances and consistently new product kept the Brothers in the public eye. They reached a zenith of popularity in 1963 when ABC-TV used their song "Hootenanny Saturday Night" as the theme to Hootenanny, a short-lived music/variety show. Nearly a dozen long-players later, the quartet continued to produce an All-American, if not overtly acquiescent blend of traditional vocal harmonies, creating a cross between the Kingston Trio and the Four Freshmen. As the title intimates, The Brothers Four Sing of Our Times (1964) is a step toward the slightly edgier and socially conscious derivation that folk had taken in the mid-'60s. Also reflected, though to a lesser extent, is evidence of the British Invasion that was practically hijacking all other forms of popular music. Decidedly more apparent was the impact that Bob Dylan -- the Brothers' Columbia Records labelmate -- was having with protest and politically-charged messages. The Brothers' remake of Dylan's "Long Ago, Far Away" is incongruous as their high-energy, almost unnervingly chipper delivery seemingly downplays the seriousness of the inherent message. Conversely, their empathetic interpretation of "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" stands as one of the finest offerings on the platter. To a similar degree, the stirring Lee Hays-penned "Seven Daffodils" and Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds" are timeless ballads given properly thoughtful and effective renderings. Additional covers of note include the Shel Silverstein tongue-in-cheek talkin' blues "Beans Taste Fine," Jesse "Lone Cat" Fuller's equally humorous tall-tale "Monkey and the Engineer" and Albert Wood's frolicking "Dance Me a Jig," rivalling the arguably more familiar New Christy Minstrels' version. In 2003, Collectors' Choice Music coupled Brothers Four Sing of Our Times with Honey Wind Blows (1965) on compact disc with the aforementioned single-only "Hootenanny Saturday Night," which has never been available before in stereo.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer