My wife Linda and I saw the Limeliters in Concert Sunday, north Phoenix, and it was Great!
I thought I would feel sad to see the Limeliters without Lou, and there was some sadness, but the joy of the Limeliter's Music became the much larger triumph. After all, it is, and always has been, the Music, the Sound of 3 masculine voices, Forceful, reaching and achieving all that can be given to a Song, carrying the audience to new heights in lyric and song , with the most infectious rhythm of any Musical Band.
The Limeliters now have a replacement for Lou Gottlieb who died in early July 1996. Lou had played the Bass fiddle and was one of the 3 original Limeliters, the Spokesperson and Comedian who also did most of the sheet music for the Limeliters special harmonies.
The man taking his place, Bill Zorn, was with the New Christy Minstrels for many years, then spent 6 years with the Kingston Trio as their banjoist, then lived in England for 6 years, and now plays the banjo for the Limeliters.
This all proves that just like the '60s the Folk musicians stick pretty close together, as through 30 years of concerts the Limeliters and Kingston Trio played many concerts together in the later years.
Rick Dougherty, who used to play guitar exclusively (much as Glenn Yarbrough did in the '60s) has now taken the additional role of Bass player, but he uses a Bass Guitar and has adapted to that instrument magnificently and naturally, and had learned the Bass guitar many years ago and then abandoned it, and says he is still working on regaining his bass-playing technicques, but I watch his playing and he seemed Very Comfortable to me, and the electric bass guitar packs more of a punch than Lou's upright Bass, it really takes control of the song's time signature and throws the bass BEAT right out at the audience, and I loved that sound.
Alex Hassilev is still the commanding presence on stage, he looks Great.
The Limeliters great claim to fame in the early days was making just 3 voices sound like 6 voices, a stong masculine sound, and they have now regained that sound with Bill Zorn, man-o-man did they sound STRONG, AND had lots of fun up on stage, reminiscent of the original Limeliters.
It is in the character of the Trio to portray the sentiments and affect the audience, and this and more was stunningly accomplished in this Concert at the Sundome, resoundingly filling this huge Concert Hall.
The selection of songs could not have been better, from the first "Hard Travelin' " to "The Power and the Glory", all was cohesive and FUN, and it is the Fun as much as all the other elements that carries the audience to inclusion.
The Limeliters' use of the audience to participate was a great joy to me, I believe in it wholeheartedly, and this is among the best messages of Folk Music, all of us together whether in Battle or in meditation of the State of Life, as seen through others plights and Victories.
They all painted a canvas of many brilliant colors, with the Great Limeliter Songs and Music, and the best of Stage presence.
Rick's Bass guitar was a terrific plus, with a stronger Bass beat that reached out to all of us and grabbed us. It added more power to the rhythm. Bill's banjo and strong voice felt like the Early Limeliters, and still was different, certainly he was an excellent choice in completing the Trio.
Just simply a Great Sound, it affected me very emotionally. I have always enjoyed, and participated in, the fun of the Limeliters. I cannot say "Thank You" enough. Perhaps the best way is to say I think Lou would have said "Great Music, no shit!" He would have been Very Proud!
One last thing about the Phoenix Concert, the Limes finished their set with Phil Ochs's "The Power and the Glory", and I hope you all are familiar with that song, it is a great song and I was thrilled they closed their show with such a power and patriotic song! Great Finish!
And so the Limeliters are alive and well! It was a colossal Hootenany, with many wonderful positive messages!