The Town Criers formed in the early '60s, one of the many folk groups vying for coffeehouse dates and recording contracts during the Great Folk Scare. Despite a warm reception on college campuses and some studio time, the group broke up before issuing an album. Now, in 2002, the Town Criers have returned with their debut, Journey, the culmination of a 40-year dream. The first thing one will notice is how similar the material is, musically and philosophically, to folk revival material. Indeed, certain songs -- "San Francisco Bay Blues" and "Soft Blow the Summer Winds" -- were either written or made popular during the revival period. Bing Drastrup, Dan Hale, Stephen Isaacson, Tom Scali, David Jackson, and James Marino instill Journey with a hopeful air that harks back to a less cynical time. The six members also deliver the same smooth harmonies that characterized groups like the Highwaymen and the Tarriers, which makes songs like "Roll Across the Waters" and "The Children's Eyes" easy on the ears. The album achieves unity with the recurring "Water Is Wide," evoking a spiritual air and tying the other songs into a satisfying whole. A number of new pieces have been written for the group by Nanci Scali, and these songs fit seamlessly with the other material. Fans of folk revival recordings will enjoy Journey and rejoice that the Town Criers have at last realized their dream.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.