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Wanderin' Folk Songs

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Album Review

The Easy Riders' first two long-players assembled on one CD makes for a handy introduction to this unfairly overlooked folk trio — it was a long way from this kind of pre-Kingston Trio folk ensemble to Bob Dylan, but it had to start somewhere, and it started with the Easy Riders. The material, a mix of folk, calypso, western, and sea shanties, with an uncommonly pretty blues ("So True Blues") somewhere in the middle for flavor, doesn't contain any surprises, except, perhaps, for the title ("Send for De Captain") on the trio's particular version of "Sloop John B," and the pleasantly upbeat rendition of "I Ride an Old Paint" — the singing is pleasantly restrained, except where Terry Gilkyson opts to pull out the stops, his sweet tenor voice rising above the rest. The 12 tracks off of Wanderin': Folk Songs by the Easy Riders, which are weighted somewhat more toward blues (especially "Lonesome Whistle") and away from calypso, are in stereo, while the Marianne LP material is in mono — the latter song is included, of course, but the group's one other (albeit minor) chart entry, "Tina," isn't present. The notes by Mark Marymount slight Richard Dehr's and Frank Miller's contributions to the trio somewhat, and also fail to expand on the superb instrumental work by the trio and their studio back-up musicians.


Formed: 1956 in California

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s

The Easy Riders aren't mentioned in any reference books on folk music -- indeed, one will find no entry on them in any reference work on popular music of the 20th century, despite the fact that they had a massive hit in early 1957 with the song "Marianne," and also wrote songs that were recorded by everyone from the Kingston Trio to Dean Martin to Doris Day. In fact, the Easy Rider trio -- Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr, and Frank Miller -- occupy what is usually thought of as the "lost" years of the...
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Wanderin' Folk Songs, The Easy Riders
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