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Wasn't That a Time
Wasn't That a Time
Genres: Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #4

It's richly ironic that Pete Seeger threatened to ax the wires when Bob Dylan went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Dylan, after all, was doing the same thing Seeger had done 15 years earlier with the Weavers: l...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Weavers
Title: Wasn't That a Time
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Vanguard Records
Release Date: 9/18/1993
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Folk, Pop
Style: Traditional Folk
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
Other Editions: Wasn't That a Time: The Best of
UPC: 015707475020

It's richly ironic that Pete Seeger threatened to ax the wires when Bob Dylan went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Dylan, after all, was doing the same thing Seeger had done 15 years earlier with the Weavers: lending contemporary pop arrangements to folk music. Back in 1950, going pop didn't mean plugging in electric guitars but adding big-band charts by Frank Sinatra's future arranger Gordon Jenkins. And it worked. The quartet took songs by a black Louisiana convict, a Dust Bowl socialist, and an anonymous Zulu troubador and turned them into pop hits between 1950 and 1952. The Weavers' four-CD box set, Wasn't That a Time, begins with eight of those early 78s for Decca Records and then offers 79 more songs from their later recordings for Vanguard. Weavers' songs like "Wimoweh," "If I Had a Hammer," "Guantanamera," and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" have been recorded by everyone from R.E.M. to Aretha Franklin. If only for their historical impact, the songs on this box set are important. --Geoffrey Himes

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CD Reviews

You can't go wrong with this set!
Rick Forrester | Hoboken, NJ USA | 10/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 4 CD set covers the gamut of the Weavers career, and contains versions of just about all the hit songs that are associated with them. While disk 3 that features Erik Darling in place of Pete Seeger is a bit weaker, if you want a smattering of all phases of their career, this is the definitely the set to get. The booklet that comes with this set contains recent interviews with the (surviving) Weavers, and is also worthwhile.If you already know that you like (or love) the Weavers, than I would say Go for It!"
Another solid collection of the best of the Weavers
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Little did I know when I was growing up listening to the Smothers Brothers do their versions of "Tzena Tzena," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," and "Marching to Pretoria" that the boys were doing songs they had learned from the Weavers. Now I know that even if you ignored the folk music revival you have probably heard songs the Weavers were doing in the 1950s, albeit by different names. You might not recognize "Wimoweh," but you have heard a version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," while "Wreck of the John B." is probably more familiar as "Sloop John B." But it is folk artists such as Peter, Paul & Mary that have kept alive a lot of the songs the Weavers made popular (e.g., "If I Had a Hammer").

The Weavers were Pete Seeger, tenor and banjo; Ronnie Gilbert, alto; Lee Hays, baritone and bass; and Fred Hellerman, baritone and guitar. "Wasn't That a Time: The Best of the Weavers" is one of several solid collections of the songs this seminal folk group made popular. This 22-track collection should not be confused with the larger box set also entitled "Wasn't That a Time." Still, this has the core songs that are on anybody's short list of Weavers songs, which would be the ones mentioned above plus "On the Top of Old Smokey," "Goodnight Irene," "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," "The Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," "Lonesome Traveler," and "When the Saints Go Marching In." Really, the only song that I can say is missing that would be on my list is "Follow the Drinking Gourd," but that is not enough to quibble and if that song is high up on your list keep looking because it is out there to be found.

The other part of the equation is that this collection offers some other songs by the Weavers that do not pop up as often, such as "Around The Corner (Beneath The Berry Tree)," "Old Paint (Ride Around Little Dogies)," and "Along the Colorado Trail," all of which serve to remind you how subversive this group was and why they were denounced as Communist sympathizers (I find it interesting that the Weavers were also denounced by the left for being sellouts at the same time they were being viewed with suspicion by the right because of their politics). Unfortunately, if you are hoping to hear what all the fuss was about in terms of the political controversy, forget about it. For that you probably have to check out the solo recordings of Seeger, who would continue to be political thorn in the side of the system for some time to come."