By April 1, 1960, when they recorded their fifth Vanguard album (which was their third live disc and second to be recorded at Carnegie Hall), the Weavers had overcome the loss of Pete Seeger and fully integrated his replacement, Erik Darling, who proved a banjo virtuoso and exuberant humorist (listen to his kazoo solo on "Bill Bailey Come Home"). They had an excellent act, mixing old favorites dating back to the days of the Almanac Singers ("The Sinking of the Reuben James") and newer songs that would become standards of the folk boom ("Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream"). And, at least at this point, they seemed to be riding the crest of that boom, which they had inspired with their 1955 Carnegie Hall show, recorded for their first Vanguard album, The Weavers at Carnegie Hall (1957), which belatedly jumped into the album charts a couple of months after this album became their chart debut at the start of 1961. In retrospect, however, the cannily titled Vol. 2 (you'd think it was more from the first concert, wouldn't you?) represented the peak of the Weavers' comeback; in '60s terms, with their bow ties and tuxedos, they seemed like something from an earlier time compared to the collegiate earnestness of the Kingston Trio and the political seriousness of Peter, Paul and Mary (who debuted the following year) -- and, of course, they were. But with The Weavers at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 however briefly, they finally exorcised the ghost of Seeger and demonstrated that they were a valid and popular act on their own.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann