Fourteen 14K Folk Songs - Liner Notes

Why Do the Limeliters Always Record Standing Sideways?

by Hal Levy

Scene: Backstage. Someplace.

Time: Late. Or early. Depending on whether your midnight is a beginning or an end.

Characters: Very much so. Even the interviewer.

* * * * * *

Interviewer: Mr. Gottlieb?

Lou: I was born in...

Interviewer: But I'm really not interested. All that is past. I want to know about the present, the whole gestalt-grabbing present.

Alex: But how about ...

Inter.: I'm interested in this renaissance of vocal focal art. I mean folk vocal art.

Glenn: I once drove a folkvocal, but ...

Inter.: How, gentlemen? How did it all happen? How did you wind up in the limelight, so to speak?




Inter.: That's what I thought. But you explain it so lucidly. And now a few words, perhaps, about folk music.

Lou: Anyone who continues singing folk songs after his or her sophomore year will find that those songs endure which conform to the scholars' definition of a folk song.

Inter.: To wit?

Lou: To wit, to woo, to do any number of things. But it must first have no known composer or lyricist.

Alex: Second, it doesn't exist in any one definitive version, but rather exists simultaneously in a number of equally authentic variants.

Glenn: Third, it has to have been in what scholars call the "oral tradition" for a long while.

Inter: In other words, nobody wrote it, nobody remembers it and everybody sings it.

Lou/Alex/Glenn: EXACTLY!

Inter: And ethnic. Are you gentlemen ethnic?

Lou: Privately, we are very ethnic.

Alex: But musically, no.

Glenn: An ethnic folk singer is a person who sings folk songs without knowing of the existence of any other kind of music.

Inter.: And you know about "other" music?

Lou: I took my doctorate in Liturgical Polyphony of the fifteenth century, a study of twenty-one previously unpublished cyclic masses of the Renaissance Church.

Alex: And I sing in over a dozen languages.

Glenn: Some of my best friends like Dave Brubeck.

Inter.: Extraordinary. And the songs in this album. You call them "nougats"? As in candy?

Lou: No. Nuggets. As in gold. Because that's what they are pure as.

Alex: And that's what we hope they will earn us.

Glenn: We each chose two awful songs for ourselves, and two awful ones for each of the other gentlemen. This way we can be both masochistic and sadistic, all in the same album.

Lou: Which is a pretty neat trick, considering how thin albums are nowadays.

Alex: That's why we always record standing sideways.

Inter.: Do you have any final statement to make regarding the relationship of the Limeliters to the future development of non-ethnic folk music?

Lou: Yes.

Inter.: Thank you.

Source: Liner Notes from Fourteen 14K Folk Songs:

The Midnight Special, Spanish is the Loving Tongue, Drill Ye Tarriers, Sweet Betsy from Pike, I'm Goin' Away, Betty and Dupree, Faretheewell (Dink's Song), John Riley, Blow the Candles Out, No more Cane, The Youth of the Heart, Hangman, Hangman, Gambler's Blues; Whoopee Ti Yi Yo.

© 1963, Radio Corporation of America. Used by permission.

Last update: March 22, 1998