Dave Guard & The Whiskeyhill Singers

Dave Guard & the Whiskeyhill Singers

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The sole album by Guard's sole post-Kingston Trio recording project isn't anything special. It's par-for-the-course, clean-cut, early-1960s folk, not too different from what he'd done with the Kingston Trio. Perhaps it was more diverse in repertoire, and the female harmony (and sometimes lead) vocals by Judy Henske were an element missing in his former group. Of course, as it turns out Henske steals the show from the ostensible leader perhaps more often than was intended; her trademark husky, powerful vibrato vocals featuring strongly throughout, and coming to the fore on the cover of Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" especially. When she does take the lead, things get a little more interesting, with a bluesy bent that would have been downright foreign to the Kingston Trio. The group's earnest interpretation of Woody Guthrie's "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportees)" is one of the stronger tracks, but the dumb, dated humor of "We're the World's Last Authentic Playboys" is a decided lowlight, and the other detours into comedy-tinted tunes are corny too. Really, the only reason to search for this would be if you're a big Judy Henske or Kingston Trio fan. Even then, it's not nearly as good as the best things Henske did as a soloist or part of other groups, as she grew into folk-rock and even psychedelia throughout the rest of the 1960s.

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