Halifax Three

San Francisco Bay Blues

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The Halifax Three's second and final album is mildly gutsier than their debut, and therefore an improvement. It's still more mild than gutsy, however, and still very much in the sub-Kingston Trio group vocal harmony style prevalent among commercial folk ensembles in 1963, when this LP was released. The improvement is largely due to a better selection of material, including a few tunes that dovetail with blues (Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Blues," the traditional "Rocks and Gravel") and country ("A Satisfied Mind"), as well as covers of songs by some of the better folk singer/songwriters of the day (Mike Settle's "Sing Hallelujah," Bob Gibson's "I'm Gonna Tell God"). In the more traditional folk vein, there are also respectably competent versions of "East Virginia" and "The Great Silky," while the sole original, Richard Byrne's earnest minor-keyed "He Call Me Boy," is actually one of the better tracks. The corny, satirical humor of "The Man Who Wouldn't Sing Along with Mitch" is a regrettable sidestep, though. San Francisco Bay Blues has been combined with the group's first album, The Halifax Three, on the single-disc compilation The Complete Halifax Three, which also includes the non-LP single "All the Good Times" as a bonus track.