The Sunnysiders

Hey! Mr. Banjo

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The Sunnysiders made their sole hit in 1955 with "Hey! Mr. Banjo," a catchy ditty that combined a group vocal with pop-oriented banjo strumming. The Top 20 popularity of that single prompted the release of a Sunnysiders album, even though the ensemble didn't come close to having enough material to fill one. So Kapp Records put the three Sunnysiders originals at the beginning and assigned the remaining tracks to a less successful group on their roster, the Happy Harts. The Sunnysiders' cuts are the highlights of the album; besides their hit and its B-side -- a delightful bit of fluff called "Zoom Zoom Zoom" -- there is a fun boogie called "Banjo Woogie." Margie Rayburn's vocals are charming, and Fred Morgan's banjo playing is first-rate. The Happy Harts' contributions are more pedestrian banjo-based singalongs that fall somewhere between the Banjo Barons and Somethin' Smith & the Redheads. Since two of the three Sunnysiders recordings can be found on the single, the album isn't much of a value even for collectors.