The Best of Hootenanny (Shout! Factory)

Video and DVD

The Best of Hootenanny

1963-64, Not Rated

This ABC television series has a near-mythic status as much because of its back-story as its content. Cashing in on the Folk revival of the time (which in many ways was more popular than Rock & Roll), the show hosted by Jack Linkletter (Art's son) moved from college to college presenting various acts in concert. Unfortunately, ABC refused to allow Pete Seeger — the godfather of the whole revival — to appear without signing a loyalty oath because of his leftist politics. As a result, Folk superstars like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul & Mary boycotted the program. Watching this three-disc package, the surprise is how little that boycott detracts from the show's quality. First of all, everyone is performing live. Second, the music is excellent and varied, featuring not only inspired Folk acts like Ian & Sylvia, the Simon Sisters (with Carly), Hoyt Axton and the Chad Mitchell Trio but also Gospel (Marion Williams) and Country and Bluegrass (Doc Watson, Johnny Cash). There's even stand-up (Woody Allen and Vaughn Meader). A real treasure. (Steven Rosen) Grade: A

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