198

The Rooftop Singers: The Best of The Vanguard Years

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
The Rooftop Singers: The Best of The Vanguard Years The immediate appeal of the Rooftop Singers is their innocent yet informed style. Popular in the mid-'60s, this group predated the Hippie Movement and the Summer of Love. They arose during the searing career of the similar Weavers (the group guitarist/vocalist Erik Darling belonged to before joining the Rooftops). Where the Weavers became political lightening rods, the Rooftop Singers were content to make white folk covers of black blues, ragtime, and spirituals. At a time when Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones were redefining black electric blues, the Rooftop Singers were going in the minstrel direction of Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.



"Walk Right In" opens the disc and proves why it was such an infectious hit. In listening to the remainder of the recording, I'm struck by the fact that the Rooftop Singers were "one hit wonders," not charting another number one hit. Any number of songs on this collection is as good or better than "Walk Right In." Consider "Tom Cat," "Cool Water," and "San Francisco Bay Blues," which are all hook-ridden tunes easily hummed. This disc contains an inventive "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad" and the splendid spirituals "Swing down, Chariot" and "I’m On My Way." Listening to this music today, I'm struck how dated the style sounds. Once you get beyond that cosmetic fact, you can get on with realizing the important place the Rooftop Singers hold in American music.



Visit Vanguard Records on the web.


Track Listing: Walk Right In; Dip Your Fingers; You Don

Personnel: Erik Darling

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Vanguard Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by James Nadal
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Back To Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Back To Your Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "New Normal" CD/LP/Track Review New Normal
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "She Sleeps, She Sleeps" CD/LP/Track Review She Sleeps, She Sleeps
by John Eyles
Published: March 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!