Exhausted by the breakneck go-go pace of spending 300 days of the year on the road, the Limeliters broke up at the height of their fame in 1963. Glenn Yarbrough became a hit solo artist, Alex Hassilev turned to acting and operating a recording studio in his home, producing records for a variety of artists (including The Limeliters), and Lou Gottlieb joined the counterculture as the benign resident guru of freewheeling Morningstar Ranch in Northern California. Other than a trio of studio albums with Ernie Sheldon replacing Glenn and a one-shot 1968 reunion LP ("Time to Gather Seeds"), they pursued their own separate adventures and lifestyles during their ten-year break.
But thanks to the persuasion of Glenn's then-manager, the late Russ Gary, the Limeliters ended their sabbatical in 1973 with the first of several acclaimed "Reunion" tours throughout the United States and Canada. By now, the Limeliters' unique, soaring vocal blend had deepened and mellowed with the years, with Alex now sporting a full-fledged Russian basso and Glenn's tenor having matured into a spectacularly flexible instrument. For the first time, they had a full band behind them a young, energetic, electrified group that allowed them to tackle more diverse tunes and styles.
Lou would hit the stage in a wrap-around Indian dress (once it actually came off onstage in Hawaii), arm draped lasciviously around his bass, a zany music professor turned hippie. Alex was the group's musical antenna, putting in the sounds of the '70s and giving the show a cosmopolitan feel with his mastery of foreign languages. More so than ever, Glenn had become the relaxed star of the act, and the years of solo experience had taught him how to artfully shape and pace each show.
These concerts seemed to defy the laws of show business, a trio of rejuvenated survivors from the Sixties showing the troubled troubadours and trendy self-styled poseurs of the Seventies a thing or two about stage presence, rollicking humor, and stylish music making. You could feel a rare sense of electricity in the air of these shows, going far beyond the deadly nostalgia label that Glenn tackles head-on in "Our Last Song Together."
The CD you now have before you captures some of the best moments from two phases of the Reunion - a 1973 date of Chicago's Orchestra Hall from not long after they started touring again, and a 1975 concert in the Seattle Opera House with the act now completely broken in, their engines running in a smooth gear. To enhance your time travel experience, there are seven performances from the 1973 concerts and two from the 1976 concert that have never been released anywhere, including four tunes - "Living Legend," "Dueling Banjos," "I Don't Want to Hear the Bugles" and "A Time of Peace" - which will be completely new to collectors.
So crank up your space-age Victrola and listen to the Limeliters spread joy across the land.
Source: Liner Notes for Joy Across the Land
Let's Have a Good Time, Living Legend, City of New Orleans, Que Viva Espana, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, Grandma's Letter, Joy Across the Land, Acres of Limeliters, Whistling Gypsy, Whiskey in the Jar (Gilgarry Mountain), Curimao, Dueling Banjos, The Wabash Cannonball, I Don't Want to Hear the Bugles, A time of Peace, If I Had a Hammer, Friend of Jesus, Baby, The Rain Must Fall, Thank you Lord, Old Fashioned Remedy, Our Last Song Together
© 1974, 1976, 1991 West Knoll Records. Used by permission.
Check out this and other Limeliters albums at Amazon.com