Bob Gibson & Bob Camp at the Gate of Horn

Bob Camp / Bob Gibson / Bob Gibson & Bob Camp

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Bob Gibson & Bob Camp at the Gate of Horn Review

by Steve Leggett

Bob Gibson & Bob Camp at the Gate of Horn isn't an important album because of the music it contains (which will sound to most listeners like just another couple of white college guys singing old folk songs), but because of the possibilities it suggested to future artists like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Roger McGuinn. Recorded in 1961 at Chicago's legendary folk club, the Gate of Horn, Gibson and Camp's live set was really one of the opening volleys in the coming folk revival, and while neither of these guys got much of the credit, they should have. Gibson, in particular, was instrumental in introducing the idea that traditional songs had a lively and prosperous pop potential when presented in semi-sanitized versions to upscale audiences, and when he backed it up with a solid and skillful acoustic 12-string guitar style, a template was born, one that was adapted in some degree by the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary and even Simon & Garfunkel and the Smothers Brothers in the coming years. Nothing here is startling in retrospect, but at the time these smooth and energetic re-workings of old traditional tunes was damn near radical. Listeners who value albums for their historical importance and consequent influence may want to check this one out. Watch out, though, because the goofy energy on display here will grow on you if you play it three times in a row.

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