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The Brothers Four: Greatest Hits

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Album Review

As folk revival albums go, this one is tame but very upbeat and well sung, treading a fine line midway between the Kingston Trio and Mitch Miller & the Gang. Side one shows a strong calypso and Carribean influence, and also offers a pair of novelty-style tunes, while side two is weighted more toward traditional American folk material. That material is more beguiling and playful, and serves as a beautiful showcase for the quartet's harmony singing — rousing, straightforward vocalizing on "Hard Travelin'" (which seems like the template for the New Christy Minstrels' sound) and the melodic sea shanty "Eddystone Light," the gorgeous multi-layered arrangement of "Darlin', Won't You Wait," and the moody chart hit "Greenfields." It's all nicely sung and produced in a restrained style that makes inventive but unobtrusive use of stereo separation. The album seems tame and predictable today but, in 1960, this was what folk music was in the minds of most listeners, and this isn't a bad example of the form.


Formed: 1958 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Traditional Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Brothers Four bear a distinction as one of the longest surviving groups of the late-'50s/early-'60s folk revival and perhaps the longest running "accidental" music act in history -- 43 years and counting as of 2001, without any break and with two original members still in the fold. If few recognize that distinction, then it's because the Brothers Four were also part of a largely forgotten chapter in the history of folk music in America. Most accounts of the post-WWII folk music boom focus on...
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The Brothers Four: Greatest Hits, The Brothers Four
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