Leon Bibb

Folksongs

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Leon Bibb had recorded across the 1950s for Folkways, in addition to appearing on the 1946 cast recording of Annie Get Your Gun (for RCA Victor) and cutting records as a member of the Skifflers (on Columbia) and as part of an ensemble-type project for Elektra Records. In 1959, he appeared on a Newport Folk Festival live album issued by Vanguard Records, but this long-player marked his formal solo debut, as well as his studio debut for Vanguard. It is somewhat a product of its time, which means the album is over-produced by today's standards, what with a choral accompaniment (in addition to Fred Hellerman present on guitar). But Bibb's rich baritone overcomes any of the datedness, and in its time the contents of this album were sufficiently attractive to get a 45-rpm release (a rarity for Vanguard) containing "Rocks and Gravel" and "Goodnight Irene" (and the album generated two EPs in England on the Top Rank label). The production by Milt Okun is actually very tasteful, if a little overdone at times, and the singer went on to record further LPs for Vanguard.