Best of Hootenanny DVD:
The Limeliters and More

Review by Harold Wood


This new DVD box set will be of great interest to fans of The Limeliters and other folk musicians of the 60s.

The HOOTENANNY TV Show was on ABC-TV in 1963 and 1964. It offered a great mixture of many of the top folk musicians of the time, including The Limeliters. You can now buy the Best of Hootenanny on DVDBest of Hootenanny which includes 3 songs from The Limeliters:

  • Midnight Special (also performed by Jimmie Rodgers on disc 3)
  • Done Laid Around
  • I'm Going to Leave Old Texas Now

Although these aren't some of the Limeliters most popular songs, it seems clear that the college students singing along were familiar with them enough to earnestly sing along quite well! We don't get any of Lou Gottlieb's trademark humor, but Lou, Alex, and Glenn never looked so young!

You will also get to see and hear quite a few songs that were frequently performed by The Limeliters presented by other popular musicians of the time, including:

  • There's A Meetin' Here Tonight performed by Bob Gibson
  • Lonesome Traveler performed by Trini Lopez
  • Hard Travelin' performed by The Brothers Four
  • Mighty Day performed by the Chad Mitchell Trio
  • Wayfarin' Stranger performed by Jimmie Rodgers

In addition, 36 other folk acts are feaured on this collection, with more than than 91 performances, including 80 songs including: Froggie Went A-Courtin', He Was A Friend Of Mine, C.C. Rider, Cottonfields, Turn Turn Turn, If I Had A Hammer, Little Boxes, Wimoweh and Ole Blue.

Some reviewers are criticizing this Best of Hootenanny collection due to the fact that Pete Seeger was blacklisted from from the series, causing other top names to refuse to participate, like Peter Paul & Mary and the Kingston Trio. Nonetheless, you will find several songs written by Seeger on this collection, including If I Had A Hammer performed by Trini Lopez, and Turn, Turn, Turn performed by The Simon Sisters (yes, Carly was a folk singer before becoming a pop artist!). You'll also find both white and black musicians, including some integrated groups - which for 1963 popular television was still unusual.

And while it's true most performances on the series avoided the political, this set nonetheless includes some quite pointed political advocacy, such as the wildly satirical John Birch Society performed by the Chad Mitchell Trio, and the strong social criticism of Little Boxes performed by Leon Bibb. You'll hear lots of traditional ballads too, like Follow the Drinking Gourd, Kisses Sweeter than Wine, Swing Low Sweeet Chariot, Five Hundred Miles, and more.

The artists featured in addition to The Limeliters and those mentioned above include The Brothers Four, The New Christy Minstrels, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Bob Gibson, Ian & Sylvia, Joe & Eddie, Miriam Makeba, Jimmy Rodgers, The Serendipity Singers, and more!

Less well known groups are also some of the best performances on this collection, such as The Traverlers Three. Each of the three DVDs on this collection are ended by rousing choruses performed by ensembles of all the featured performers of the evening - and the college kids singing along.

Even though this was commercial television, what you will find here is what the Limeliter's song procleims: Singing for the Fun!


Last update: February 10, 2007