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The Cambridge Tapes

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Crítica do álbum

A folk quintet who had huge hits with heavily sanitized versions of folk-gospel tunes "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and "Cotton Fields" in the early 1960s, the Highwaymen could be poster boys for all that was great about the commercial folk revival and for all that wasn't so great about it, as well. They, like the countless other collegiate folk groups from the era, certainly rescued dozens of folk songs and gave them new exposure and utility, but they also watered them down for the greatest commercial effect, which essentially turned songs with long historical time lines into pop commodities. That said, the Highwaymen were professional about it, and in concert their good-time, hootenanny, harmony-laden approach was crowd-approved. This two-disc set catches the Highwaymen at a college gig at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from October 26, 1963. The audience knew most of songs — they had probably even sung them at parties back in the dorms — so the good will and community feel of the Highwaymen's show, its very accessibility, makes it a perfect timepiece for the era. "Michael," a fun romp through "The Gypsy Rover," a bluesy "Abilene," and a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "The Universal Soldier" are among the highlights of the show.


Formado: 1958 em Middletown, CT

Género: Cantor/Compositor

Anos em actividade: '60s

It's easy enough to dismiss the Highwaymen as representatives of a brand of folk music that has gone out of fashion, at least among the media tastemakers. Their kind of harmony singing, coupled with traditional songs and ballads, has seldom been written of in the decades since their heyday. What's more, their late-'50s collegiate origins, as a quintet whose purpose was to foster entertainment more than to raise consciousness, belonged more to the setting of the hootenanny than the anti-war teach-in...
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