The Weavers

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Talk
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
Discography [?]
Video [?]
 
This editable Main Article is under development and not meant to be cited; by editing it you can help to improve it towards a future approved, citable version. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.

The Weavers were an extremely popular American folk music quartet of the 1940s through 1960s who not only had numerous hits of their own, but were important in being precursors of the great folk-music craze of the late 1950s that introduced such artists as the Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Like their noted contemporary Burl Ives, they not only sang traditional American folk songs but also introduced songs from around the world. Their repertoire was broad, drawn from traditional black gospel music, children's songs, the blues, and other sources such as the labor movement. Along with their guitars, banjos, and other folk instruments, many of their studio-recorded performances also had lush orchestrations behind them, as was typical for much of their era. Although their commercial success was later eclipsed by such acts as the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, they nevertheless sold millions of records of their own and were acknowleged by all that followed as being the seminal force in the folk-music field.

The composition of the Weavers' four members (always three men and one woman) varied somewhat over the years, but the original group comprised Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert. Many of the songs that the Weavers sang on recordings and at concerts are now considered standards in the folk repertoire, including The Sinking of the Reuben James, Hard, Ain't It Hard, On Top of Old Smokey, Follow the Drinking Gourd, Kisses Sweeter than Wine, The Wreck of the John B (also known as The John B. Sails and Sloop John B), The Rock Island Line, The Midnight Special, Pay Me My Money Down, and Darling Corey.

Originally based in New York City, the Weavers were formed in Greenwich Village in November 1948 by Seeger and Hayes, veterans of an earlier group called the Almanac Singers, who had performed sporadically in the early 1940s with various other artists, the most noted of whom were Cisco Houston and the great folk-song composer Woody Guthrie. The political orientation of the Almanac Singers had been notably leftist and labor-oriented and had suffering accordingly during the highly patriotic years of World War II. Finally deciding to disband, they were in a sense reincarnated as the Weavers, who also had a politically progressive philosophy and who, like the Almanac Singers, supported union activities and social justice.

Hit singles in approximate chronological order

  1. Goodnight, Irene—Pop hit, #1; first reached charts on June 30, 1950; 25 weeks in top 100; from a version popularized by Lead Belly in the 1940s; recorded in New York City on May 26, 1950; released by Decca Records as catalog number 27077[1]; the B-side of Tzena, Tzena, Tzena[2]
  2. Tzena, Tzena, Tzena—Pop Hit, #2; reached charts in 1950; originally written in Hebrew by Issachar Miron and Jehiel Hagges; later arranged by Gordon Jenkins, whose orchestra backed the Weavers' version; recorded in New York City on May 26, 1950; released by Decca Records as catalog number 27077[3]; the A-side of Goodnight, Irene[4]
  3. The Roving Kind—Pop hit #11; reached charts in 1950; recorded in New York City on November 3, 1950[5]
  4. On Top of Old Smokey—Country hit, #8; Pop hit #1 on Cash Box chart and #2 on Billboard chart; traditional Appalachian folksong rearranged by Pete Seeger; recorded in Los Angeles on February 25, 1951[6]; released by Decca Records as catalog number 27515[7]; reached charts in June, 1951; two weeks in top 100 Country hits[8]; sold over a million copies
  5. Kisses Sweeter than Wine—Pop Hit, #19; reached charts in 1951; written by the Weavers under the pseudonyms of Joel Newman and Paul Campbell; derived from a traditional Irish song as later adapted by Lead Belly; recorded in Chicago on June 12, 1951; released by Decca Records as catalog number 27670 [9] the A-side of When the Saints Go Marching in
  6. So Long (It's Been to Know Yuh)—Pop hit #4; reached charts in 1951; written by Woodie Guthrie; recorded in New York City on October 24, 1950; [10]
  7. When the Saints Go Marching In—Pop hit #27; reached charts in 1951; recorded in Chicago on June 12, 1951; the B-side of Kisses Sweeter than Wine [11]
  8. Wimoweh—Pop hit #14; reached charts in 1951; Zulu tribal chant arranged by Pete Seeger; recorded in New York City on October 25, 1951 [12]
  9. Around the Corner (Beneath the Berry Tree)—Pop hit #11; reached charts in 1952; written by South African singer Josef Marais; recorded in New York City on February 27, 1952 [13]
  10. The Midnight Special—Pop hit #30; reached charts in 1952; adaption of a Lead Belly song; recorded in New York City on October 25, 1951[14]
  11. Sylvie (Bring Me L'il Water, Silvy)—Pop hit #27; reached charts in 1953; adaption of a Lead Belly song; recorded in New York City on February 26, 1953 [15]

References

  1. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Records, 1940 to 1955, Record Research, Inc., Menomonee Falls, WS, 1973
  2. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  3. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Records, 1940 to 1955, Record Research, Inc., Menomonee Falls, WS, 1973
  4. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  5. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  6. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  7. Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series at [1]
  8. Joel Whitburn's Top Country Songs, 1944 to 2005, Record Research, Inc., Menomonee Falls, WS, 2005, page 408 ISBN 0-89820-165-9
  9. Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series at[2];
  10. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  11. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  12. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  13. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  14. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo
  15. The Best of the Decca Years, Decca Records, 1996, liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo