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The New Christy Minstrels' Greatest Hits

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Album Review

This 11-song album illustrates the conundrum surrounding the New Christy Minstrels and the way they've been presented over the decades. Issued in the second half of the 1960s, when it was intended to appeal to the same audience that was buying records by the Ray Conniff Singers (et al), The New Christy Minstrels' Greatest Hits encompasses both their most popular, folk-style numbers ("Green, Green," "Cotton Fields" etc.) and also their later, more pop-oriented material, such as "We'll Sing in the Sunshine," "A Little Bit of Happiness," "Everybody Loves Saturday Night" (where they really do sound a lot like the New Main Street Singers from the movie A Mighty Wind), and their delightfully breathless, percussion-heavy cover of "Downtown." Since the mid-'90s, compilers have rightfully ignored tracks like those in favor of their more distinctly folk-oriented repertory, and one gets a very different picture of the New Christy Minstrels — but the song list here is the way the public perceived them at the time. On a minuscule historical note, the CD version of this album was among the very first budget-priced CDs issued by Columbia Records, circa 1988.


Formed: 1961 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

To a lot of casual listeners during the early '60s, the New Christy Minstrels were the embodiment of popular folk music. If they're not remembered (or written about) in a very serious way, it's mostly because of their image: ten well-scrubbed, usually smiling young men and women singing upbeat songs about Paul Bunyan or hopping freight trains, or doing optimistic renditions of Woody Guthrie tunes. The New Christy Minstrels began with Randy Sparks, a singer/guitarist who started out in the late...
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The New Christy Minstrels' Greatest Hits, The New Christy Minstrels
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