Jack Linkletter Presents a Folk Festival was a typical early-'60s folk boom exploitation album, presented by Jack Linkletter, the host of the Hootenanny television show. It's far more interesting to collectors than most LPs of its type, though, due to the inclusion of four songs by Les Baxter's Balladeers, featuring a young, pre-Byrds David Crosby. The bill for this compilation, which sounds as if it was recorded at a club rather than an actual folk festival, also includes three songs by folk (and later folk-rock) duo Jim & Jean; the other artists, the Yachtsmen and Chloe Marsh, are inconsequential and forgotten. It's competent but whitebred folk (the repertoire chosen by Alex Hassilev of the Limeliters), the arrangements and singing ranging from enjoyably stirring to ear-cringingly precious variety-show sketch fodder (as on "Buffalo Boy," the duet between Jack Linkletter and Jean). David Crosby's harmonies are evident on Les Baxter's Balladeers' cuts, which are rousing but antiseptic folk with few hints of the folk-rock he would pioneer with the Byrds, though "Baiion" has relatively unusual (for folk boom stuff) Brazilian rhythms and light percussion. Their contributions are notable, though, not just as rare early-Crosby recording appearances, but also for their "Linin Track," a work song whose arrangement is credited to important (but also barely known at that time) folk-rock singer/songwriter Fred Neil. The LP's also notable for one of the very first recordings of a Phil Ochs composition, the Jim & Jean-sung "What's That I Hear?"
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