Fans inevitably prefer this version of the band, with banjo whiz Bill Keith on hand, fresh out of his stint as a bluegrass boy for Bill Monroe. Former member Mel Lymon was out of the picture, off to the cult/commune that would inevitably claim both Jim Kweskin and his mustache, but not in that order. Unfortunately for fans of the sensational, the latter saga has not much to do with a record review but is a tale worth telling, some other time and some other place. Herein we have Maria Muldaur in the prime of her youth, still going under the name of Maria D'Amato. One thing was perfectly clear at a reunion concert of this group at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in the early '90s: she was the one keeping the beat, all with her tambourine. On this charming and vastly entertaining recording the rhythm is hardly an issue. Whether the tempo is fast or slow, everything is as solid as it needs to be in the tradition of the best string bands. A lovely, deep, and resonant recording quality (particularly in analog) bring out the marvelous tones of the acoustic instruments. The vocals of Muldaur will be the highlights for many listeners, but it is also hearing her in a collaboration with the others, in the context of a band, that is part of the artistic success of this group. Fans of her recordings for children might not realize the original versions of some the best numbers on these recordings originate on this album, such as the hilarious "Never Swat a Fly" and "Storybook Ball." "Turn the Record Over" is one of the best goofs ever recorded, as good humored and naturalistic as anything anyone ever recorded fooling around with their tape machines. This is a musical high point of the folk revival of the '60s, or whatever it was that was going on back then.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne