The New Christy Minstrels


Song Review by

"Today," Randy Sparks' lovely folkish ballad, represents the end of the New Christy Minstrels, the group he founded, as a major commercial force. They placed three albums in the charts in 1963, including the gold-selling Ramblin' Featuring Green, Green, which, as its title indicated, included their biggest hit single, "Green, Green." By the end of the year, however, there was dissension in the ranks, and Sparks himself was preparing to move on. Before he did, though, he contracted to write the score for a film comedy set during the Civil War titled Advance to the Rear, and as part of that soundtrack he wrote "Today" (perhaps better recognizable from its opening line, "Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine"), its simple, folk style reflecting the 19th century time period of the film. The temporal tone of the lyric, in turn, may have reflected the film's wartime setting ("Who cares what the morrow may bring?"), but it also seems to have commented on Sparks' own position. This was the last song he recorded as a member of the New Christy Minstrels before retiring from performing; later, he sold the name to the group's managers. (Also on the recording were members Barry McGuire, later to go solo with "Eve of Destruction," and Gene Clark, later to co-found the Byrds.) Released in the spring of 1964, "Today" hit the Top 20 of the pop charts and the Top Ten of the easy listening charts, making it the second biggest hit of the Christys' career. The Today LP, simultaneously released and also serving as a soundtrack album for Advance to the Rear, made the Top Ten of the LP charts, the group's highest charting album. Though occasionally covered, "Today" remains most closely associated with its initial recording. Only two years after its appearance, Sparks enjoyed the dubious pleasure of watching Broadway songwriters Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt write a very similar song, "My Cup Runneth Over," for the musical I Do! I Do! and having that song become a bigger hit than "Today" in Ed Ames' recording.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964
Greatest Hits 1966 Columbia 2:47
The Very Best of the New Christy Minstrels 1996 Vanguard 2:47
Time-Life's Treasury of Folk Music, V. 2 1996
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:47
Golden Classics Edition: Today/Ramblin' 1997 Collectables 2:44
The Definitive New Christy Minstrels 1998 Collectors' Choice Music 0:00
Hits and Highlights 1962-1968 (Coat Your Mind in Honey) 1999 Raven 2:46
The Folk Years: Simple Song of Freedom 2002
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:46
The Folk Years [Box Set] 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:46
Troubadours: Folk and the Roots of American Music, Pt. 2 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:45