The Womenfolk

The Womenfolk

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

For music trivia buffs, the Womenfolk's contribution to music history is that they recorded the shortest hit single of the rock & roll era. "Little Boxes," a cover of a Malvina Reynolds song that also gave Pete Seeger a minor hit, clocked in at roughly a minute in length and marked the group's only appearance on the pop charts. Appearing at the tail end of a commercial folk craze that catapulted innumerable collegiate trios into the limelight, the Womenfolk's "hook" was that they were an all-female folk quintet at a time when the overwhelming majority of folk groups were trios and exclusively male or mixed. Their eponymous album was their second effort for RCA Victor, following a split live album (We Give a Hoot!) they shared with the Villagers the previous year. The Womenfolk was the group's only album to chart, and one wonders whether the brevity of the 45 spurred sales of the LP. Aside from "Little Boxes," the album shows the Womenfolk's ability to rejuvenate common material with their fresh and buoyant approach. Most of the songs are folk group standards: "Don't You Rock 'Em Daddy-O" (aka "Sail Away Ladies"), "Para Bailar la Bamba" (aka "La Bamba"), "Whistling Gypsy Rover" (aka "Gypsy Rover"), etc. The group is even able to transform the weatherbeaten children's song "Skip to My Lou" into something well worth hearing. The Womenfolk received an endorsement and support from their labelmates the Limelighters -- Ernie Sheldon contributed the song "Green Mountain Boys," and Alex Hassilev wrote the liner notes. Even with five vocalists and five guitars, the Womenfolk's sound is closer to that of the folk trios than big folk ensembles such as the New Christy Minstrels and the Serendipity Singers.