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The Town Criers

Live in San Francisco

(Collectors' Choice; US: 3 Apr 2007; UK: 30 Oct 2006)

The Town Criers never released an album during its heyday in the pre-British Invasion ‘60s. The San Francisco band never was that famous outside of the local area. The Criers followed in the folk revival tradition made popular by acts like the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters, and would probably be completely forgotten except it served as the first combo for Marty Balin (one of the founders of the psychedelic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Jefferson Airplane). This eight-song live disc features Balin making introductions to the songs and singing lead on more than half of them. Balin’s sense of humor serves as an artifact for what passed as funny during a more innocent time, with references to President Kennedy’s fitness program and other non-controversial topics. Balin’s singing voice adequately presents the traditional material, tunes like “900 Miles” and “Hellbound Train”, but there’s nothing special here. This record would only be of interest for those with a particular affection for early ‘60s popular folk or Balin fanatics.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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