Best of the Vanguard Years

Best of the Vanguard Years

by Rooftop Singers


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In the liner notes of the Rooftop Singers' Best of the Vanguard Years, Dave Samuelson suggests that the group was unfairly overlooked during the revival. Although "Walk Right In" became a monster hit in 1963, the group lost momentum when the follow-up single, "Tom Cat," was banned on some radio stations (the lyrics were suggestive). Stranger still, the group's first two albums -- Walk Right In! and Good Time! -- garnered some critical praise but fell by the wayside. The Best of the Vanguard Years includes material from both of these albums by the original (and best) Rooftop Singers' line-up: Bill Svanoe, Lynne Taylor, and Erik Darling. This collection of 27 songs includes five previously unreleased tracks and easily backs up Samuelson's assertion. Even while recording a great deal of traditional material, as most revival bands did, the Rooftop Singers' concocted a spare sound with roots in the blues and jazz. Even on seeming oddities like "R.C. Frog" (aka "Frog Went a Courtin'") and "Working on the Railroad," Darling and Svanoe turn traditionalism on its head with groovy arrangements and a 12-string guitar. It doesn't hurt that the three singers' voices work so well together on songs like "Dip Your Fingers" and "Shoes." Part of the group's jazz influence had also been imported by Taylor, and it's a revelation to hear her add a touch of sex appeal to a throwaway like "Ha Ha Thisaway." Perhaps the Rooftop Singers' new hybrid -- a spare kind of jazzy blues -- was just too unlike anything else of its time to find its niche. It wasn't strictly traditional, meaning that folk purists wouldn't like it, and it wasn't crassly commercial, meaning they couldn't tour with the New Christy Minstrels. The Best of the Vanguard Years should help the Rooftop Singers find their place as one of the most innovative groups of the early-'60s folk revival.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/31/2004
Label: Vanguard Imports
UPC: 0029667002226
catalogNumber: 6700222
Rank: 33728

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rooftop Singers   Primary Artist
Erik Darling   Group Member
Bobby Donaldson   Drums
Wendell Marshall   Bass
Bill Svanoe   Group Member
Lynne Taylor   Group Member
Johnny Cresci   Drums

Technical Credits

Jesse Fuller   Composer
Rodney Dillard   Composer
Erik Darling   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Gus Cannon   Composer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Mitch Jayne   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Jack Lothrop   Engineer
Maynard Solomon   Producer
Herb Pedersen   Composer
Velma Smith   Composer
Dean Webb   Composer
Hosea Woods   Composer
Tom Vickers   Producer
Bob Nolan   Composer
Bill Svanoe   Composer
Harty Taylor   Composer
Lynne Taylor   Composer
Georgette Cartwright   Creative Services Coordinator
Dave Samuelson   Producer,Liner Notes
Josef Marais   Composer
Willard Hooker Svanoe   Composer
Ann Smalley   Art Direction
Karl Davis   Composer

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