The Weavers

Best of the Vanguard Years

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The Weavers' stint at Vanguard, it should be noted, took place after they had their big pop hits in the early 1950s. That might be construed as either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your perspective. These are not the biggest-selling original versions of the staples of their repertoire, but they also feature only the group and their acoustic instruments, without the added orchestration that some felt diluted their early studio recordings. In any case, this has 24 songs drawn from live and studio performances in 1955 and 1963, almost all of them including Pete Seeger in the lineup (there are also two previously unreleased tracks from the 1960 Newport Folk Festival). Listening to these, one is struck by the sheer number of folk standards that the Weavers were instrumental in popularizing: "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," "Tzena Tzena," "Goodnight Irene," "Wimoweh," "On Top of Old Smoky," "Guantanamera," "Rock Island Line," "The House of the Rising Sun," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Midnight Special." It's also undeniable that their interpretations can smack of tame quaintness so far removed, time-wise, from their original setting. It's a serviceable overview of their post-blacklist output, though fans might prefer the less patchwork flow of the original albums, especially the ones recorded just after the group reformed in 1955.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:11 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:13 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:56
4 1:47 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:18 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:07 SpotifyAmazon
7 4:33 SpotifyAmazon
8 2:20 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:21 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:16 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:46 SpotifyAmazon
12 3:45 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:40 SpotifyAmazon
14 2:41 SpotifyAmazon
15 2:14 SpotifyAmazon
16 1:54 SpotifyAmazon
17 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
18 1:02 SpotifyAmazon
19 2:39 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:36 SpotifyAmazon
21 3:30 SpotifyAmazon
22 2:22 SpotifyAmazon
23 2:23 SpotifyAmazon
24 3:41 SpotifyAmazon
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