The Village Stompers

Washington Square

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The Village Stompers' 1964 album features ten cuts of the former collegiate Dixieland band (which made no less than six LPs in four years at the height of the folk revival!) at its most gimmicky and good-natured. Almost an in-joke, Washington Square, with its title and the band's name, evokes images of an earnest strolling coffeehouse band, and the repertoire here reflects that, from the New Christy Minstrels' "Green, Green" and "Walk Right In" to the Weavers' "If I Had a Hammer" to Richard Harris' "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" to the inclusion of not one but two Bob Dylan tunes, all of them done in prime, campy Dixieland style. This really is just an album of solid good-time drinking music. Why the Stompers' versions of "Blowin' in the Wind" or "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" have never been included on Dylan tributes is a mystery, simply because these are some of the most radical reworkings of his tunes ever. Yeah, this is corny, overly sentimental music, but it's a hell of a lot of fun and expertly played as well as brilliantly arranged. Well worth six bucks either as a novelty or an album to play for the sheer joy of listening to music.

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