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The Best of the Vanguard Years [CD]

The Weavers Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 13.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Best of the Vanguard Years + Reunion at Carnegie Hall 1963 [VINYL]
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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 April 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Vanguard
  • ASIN: B000059GQ7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,851 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I am rather embarrassed that it took me as long to discover the Weavers as it did. After all, in the Sixties I was listening to the Smothers Brothers do their versions of "Tzena Tzena," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," and "Marching to Pretoria." Even those who missed out on the folk music revival have heard "Wimoweh" (a.k.a. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), "Wreck of the 'John B.,'" and "The House of the Rising Sun," but you can certainly do that without having heard about the Weavers. Certainly you mention "If I Had A Hammer" and you are going to have most people say Peter, Paul & Mary rather than the Weavers. But get them to sit down and listen to "The Weavers: Best of the Vanguard Years," and it is not just their ears but also their eyes that are going to be opened.
They will discover those songs that remain uniquely songs of The Weavers, such as "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and "Goodnight Irene," but they will also learn about another major piece in the history of American folk music going way back before Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Of course, that road back eventually leads to Woody Guthrie, America's troubadour.
The Weavers are Pete Seeger, tenor and banjo; Ronnie Gilbert, alto; Lee Hays, baritone and bass; and Fred Hellerman, baritone and guitar. These 24 tracks are collected from the 1950s and 1960s, taken from the albums "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall," "The Weavers on Tour," "The Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall," "The Weavers At Home," "Traveling On with The Weavers," and "The Weavers Almanac," along with two previously unreleased live tracks from performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960. I have to think it is pretty hard to stop at one Weaver's album once you have heard them sing, but this collection is an excellent starting point in learning more about the glorious history of American Folk Music.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many famous songs by a famous quartet... 5 Dec 2003
By William E. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Almanac Singers of 1941-42 came first, and if you are reading this you ought to purchase the CD by them called "Songs of Protest." Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, who became half of "The Weavers" in 1949, were Almanacs. By the time they got into the later group, their voices and talents had matured and were in their prime. Add Ronnie Gilbert's lovely voice and Fred Hellerman's all-around musical gifts, and you had just about the only folkie supergroup of their era. The anti-Communist hysteria took The Weavers off the charts and off the mainstream Decca label after '52, which crippled the members financially. In the artistic sense, however, they only got better when they resurfaced in 1955 on Vanguard, mostly with live shows. This disc purports to be the "best" from a half-dozen Vanguard LP's from the late '50's and early 60's. Maybe it is. I think too many of the 24 are bland instead of bold, but that's just my personal preference. On this item, not much social protest is to be found---just "Sixteen Tons" and "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" and "If I Had a Hammer". I would have liked the inclusion of "Banks of Marble" among others. But that's really a small flaw. The Lee Hays bass vocals are here, and the Pete Seeger tenor, and Ronnie's alto. Good banjo and guitar, and as another reviewer noted, many live recordings, so they are not mucked up with strings and other unneeded orchestral flourishes. The Weavers kept the folk tradition alive and proved there was an audience, and in the late '50's we got The Kingston Trio and The Highwaymen and eventually Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs and so many other acts into the limelight because the Weavers were there first. This is a great introduction to American commercial folk performing: it won't scare anyone, but it might inspire a deeper search into other singers and songwriters, or even other Weavers' records, which have more political and social bite.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to the music of The Weavers 16 Sep 2002
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am rather embarrassed that it took me as long to discover the Weavers as it did. After all, in the Sixties I was listening to the Smothers Brothers do their versions of "Tzena Tzena," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," and "Marching to Pretoria." Even those who missed out on the folk music revival have heard "Wimoweh" (a.k.a. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), "Wreck of the 'John B.,'" and "The House of the Rising Sun," but you can certainly do that without having heard about the Weavers. Certainly you mention "If I Had A Hammer" and you are going to have most people say Peter, Paul & Mary rather than the Weavers. But get them to sit down and listen to "The Weavers: Best of the Vanguard Years," and it is not just their ears but also their eyes that are going to be opened.
They will discover those songs that remain uniquely songs of The Weavers, such as "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and "Goodnight Irene," but they will also learn about another major piece in the history of American folk music going way back before Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Of course, that road back eventually leads to Woody Guthrie, America's troubadour.
The Weavers are Pete Seeger, tenor and banjo; Ronnie Gilbert, alto; Lee Hays, baritone and bass; and Fred Hellerman, baritone and guitar. These 24 tracks are collected from the 1950s and 1960s, taken from the albums "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall," "The Weavers on Tour," "The Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall," "The Weavers At Home," "Traveling On with The Weavers," and "The Weavers Almanac," along with two previously unreleased live tracks from performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960. I have to think it is pretty hard to stop at one Weaver's album once you have heard them sing, but this collection is an excellent starting point in learning more about the glorious history of American Folk Music.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE WEAVERS 4 July 2001
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Freed of the godawful string-laden arrangements of their studio recordings, this mostly live anthology showcases the Weavers at their very best. These people could flat-out sing, and in front of an enthusiastic audience the experience is complete. Gorgeous stuff.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once Again, Joyful Music 30 Jan 2009
By Alfred Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This review has been used for other work by The Weavers, including review of the PBS production, The 25th Anniversary Reunion of the group. That documentary gives greater detail to the points that I have made below and includes more on the genesis, early successes and the ultimate fates and health of the various members of the group.

Okay, let's have a show of hands. Who first heard learned the classic Lead Belly song "Goodnight, Irene" from his rendition of the song? Who from the group under review, The Weavers? Another try. How about "If I Had A Hammer"? Or the old Underground Railroad song "Follow The Drinking Gourd"? I suspect that I would get the same answer. And that is to the good. Sure, we have heard all the songs in this collection before by various artist like Pete Seeger as an individual on "Gunatanamera", Bob Dylan on "House Of The Rising Sun" , Tennessee Ernie Ford On "Sixteen Tons" or Woody Guthrie on "This Land Is Your Land" but we HEAR this music through the four distinctive voices of The Weavers. Thus the title of this entry- Making Joyful Music.

That said, this group morphed in the 1940's from a grouping, The Almanac Singers, led by Pete Seeger, with occasional assistance from Woody Guthrie that performed in New York City and other locales for the labor movement and other left-wing causes. The rise to eminence I believe, however, came with the addition of the lovely strong voice of Ronnie Gilbert that gives a very different feel to the music in contrast to the Almanac Singers. As a group The Weavers made their mark with a stirring, very popular rendition of the Lead Belly classic mentioned above, "Goodnight, Irene". Then the roof fell in. Between personal differences within the group and the pressure, extreme pressure, of the 1950's anti-communist witch hunt in America that looked for "reds under every bed" and that dragged Pete Seeger in its wake the group fell off the radar for a while (in Seeger's case a long while). Nevertheless this basic American folk music lives on in their voices and in this recording that sounds pretty good even today.

A few other songs from this collection also deserve note. The beautifully harmonic (and wild) "Wimoweh"; a nice version of "On Top Of Old Smokey"; a well done version of the currently very apt and appropriate Yip Harburg song "Brother Can You Spare A Dime"; and, as a finale "So Long It's Been Good To Know You". In the folk pantheon this group has a place of honor. Listen to this CD to find out why.
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, yes 10 April 2014
By Richard Wirtz - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
With all the "folk music" that came after these recordings, it is amazing how good they still sound. Steal my entire CD collection if you must, but don't take this one.
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