Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Whiskeyhill Singers Live '62

Dave Guard had left The Kingston Trio (replaced by John Stewart) to forge new trails in folk music. The trail got muddied. The name of his new group suggested that he was going to booze it up and sing numbers even stupider than "Tijuana Jail." The group's cover of "Railroad Bill" suggests as much

Most of the other tracks on their ill-fated album veer wildly from irritating unauthentic ethnic tripe ("Salomila") to the morbid ("Plane Wreck at Los Gatos") to nitwit novelty ("We're the World's Last Authentic Playboys") to the lone highlight, Big Judy Henske's solo on the traditional blues, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."

There were high hopes for the group. They were given a strong build-up and were featured in Life Magazine (photo above, lightly colorized, referencing "Railroad Bill.") Aside from that song, nothing was too funny and Judy fled the group while they were recording material for a second album (which was never released).

She turned up on Elektra with a first album recorded live and brimming with the eclectic tastes, wild humor, and bold musicianship that somehow had not come together for "The Whiskeyhill Singers."

Performing live, you can hear that they could put the hoot into hootenanny, and if nothing else you'll get a sense of their ebullience as they roar through the ridiculous ("Railroad Bill") and the overripe ("Salomila") with a little something extra in between.


Anonymous said...

It's actually Liz Seneff - Judy Henske's replacement in the group - on vocals.

Ill Folks said...

Well, that shatters the entire post!

Although there may be a splinter group who figured Liz was seneff of a replacement to still allow for some bookings.

"Comments" are so valuable to all blogs, especially those run by supposed know-it-alls.

Yes, on the solo bits, you can hear it's a strong female singer but definitely not Judy.

Anonymous said...

Well then How about posting some real Judy Henske - perhaps "Nobody Knows You"

Ill Folks said...

I've covered Judy ("Little Romy" vs Peggy Seeger's "Omawise") and Henske-Yester ("Mrs. Connor"). Just type her name in the blog search feature to find those.

But yeah, I could do "Nobody Knows You..." in October. For Henske fans it's the only reason to dig up the Whiskeyhill album, and buying a whole album for one song is a bit much.

Liz Seneff seems to be a bit of a mystery woman. I haven't found any info on what she did before or after Whiskeyhill (and until recently, obviously had no idea about that, either)

Anonymous said...

that old boy with the Cello strapped to his back looks like the older Singing Postman being railroaded out of town