Best Of The Vanguard The Greenbriar Boys

Catalogue Id:
VCD2 206

The Greenbriar Boys are to bluegrass what the New Lost City Ramblers are to old timey and the Kingston Trio to folk music. A product of New York's Washington Square Park scene, their urban revivalist, Greenwich Village roots tuned many ears to bluegrass for the very first time. Guitarist and singer John Herald and banjo player and singer Bob Yellin were part of the group from its very first beginnings in 1958. They were joined initially by Eric Weissberg (who later garnered international acclaim for his playing, with Steve Mandell, of Duellin' Banjo in the movie Deliverance) but the latter was subsequently replaced by another excellent musician, the mandolin player, singer and guitarist Ralph Rinzler. Rinzler eventually left to pursue musicological and promotional paths (he died in 1994) and was replaced by another awesome mandolin talent Frank Wakefield.

This 2CD retrospective has contributions from all these musicians. It includes not only substantial portions from the group's albums The Greenbriar Boys (1962), Ragged But Right (1964) and Better Late Than Never (1966) but also the four tracks they contributed to 1961's now rare New Folks collection plus Banks Of The Ohio and Pal Of Mine (both 1961), on which they accompany Joan Baez.

Unlike Vanguard's 1972 Best Of, this collection features not only John Herald on lead vocal but also eight songs where Bob Yellin, Ralphy Rinzer or Frank Wakefield take over the lead role. As such, it captures far more accurately the breadth of repertoire and lead vocal variations within the outfit.

John Herald has recently reappeared as a solo artist, touring the UK and releasing new alt country material on Spit And Polish Records.

By John Crosby


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