THE FABULOUS GATEWAY SINGERS
Gateway Recollections 7
ANN HILLIER in Washington still has the Gateway tunes running through her head.
”I am absolutely thrilled to find that CDs are available. I own the Puttin' on the Style LP, and I think it is my all-time favorite. I no longer have the means to play an LP, but I can still sing to myself most of the songs on the album. I was privileged to see the Gateway Singers at the Hungry i, as a college student.”
GEORGE HARNICK, who now lives in Connecticut, left the Bay Area in 1956, but still has vibrant memories of Gateway Singers' performances at the hungry i.
The Gateway Singers introduced me to the genre of American Folk songs and told stories with music. They certainly laid the foundation for the Kingston Trio which, I found, more people seem know about than The Gateway Singers. It was UC Berkeley against Menlo JC.
I was particularly taken by Elmerlee Thomas's magnificent voice. The performers were obviously enjoying themselves, which was contagious and made them instantly popular. Lou Gottlieb, I believe, was the raconteur, who explained the history/origin of some of the songs.
I believe that they started an era in the West. The groups in the East: the Papas and Mamas, Pete, Paul and Mary, must have ben contemporaries. I am sure, had Public Radio or PBS existed in the Fifties, the Gateway Singers would have been much better known nationally.
MARILYN GATES is thoroughly enjoying The Gateway Singers at the hungry i CD, and playing the song Oleana it it sparked an interesting historical reference.
“My daughter visited me over this last weekend, and on hearing the "Ole Ole Ana" rendition started singing along with it the words she'd learned to it as the "Sausalito Nursery School Rouser" several decades ago. It started out something like this:
Down in Sausalito town
Where the streets wind up and down
The elephants that guard the park
Dance together after dark...
Ole Ole Ana, Ole Ole Ana etc. etc.
The elephants, affectionately named Pee Wee and Jimbo, were large statues barged over here in Sausalito after the close of the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition in San Francisco (celebrating the city's rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake and also the opening of the Panama Canal.)
All quite different from the original intent of the song!”
Susan Nye in southern California is a second-generation Gateway Singers fan.
” My brothers and I loved the Puttin' on the Style album as children. My Dad sang along to it and we would dance all around the house. We knew every word to every song. Everything about the album brings back happy memories of my young parents at the beginning of their life. I still have a vinyl copy. I'm so delighted you have made it into a CD!”
ALAN DAVIDSON in Toronto is another second-generation Gateway fan bringing the group's music to a third one.
” When I was around five or six years old, The Gateway Singers at the hungry i was my favorite album. I must have listened to it 1000 times. I would love to now play it for my little boys. I'm very happy that it's available on CD.”
LINDA SANDAHL is a loyal second-generation Gateway Singers fan.
”Thank you so much for reissuing the Gateway Singers CDs! I grew up on this music! My dad was a folkie since his college days in the '40s when he discovered the Almanac Singers. I was brought up on the Weavers, Ed McCurdy, A.L.Lloyd, Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, and the wonderful Gateway Singers. Vinyl versions of these are treasured family heirlooms, and I still know all the words!”
Linda J. Sandahl
STEVE MONTAGUE, in addition to being a Gateway Singers fan, also loved a 1950s album by a Scandinavian quartet with the title Windjammer. If anyone has infor mation about the LP, we hope they'll write into this website.
”Looking back, my destiny appeared to have been to see Folk groups live once. I first became aware of folk music as a genre in 1958, at a summer camp at Lake Tahoe where I was working.
My first live concert was the Gateway Singers at one of the Lake Tahoe resorts in the summer of 1959--not legally old enough, but hey.... What stuck out about them was the tremendous harmony they generated. This is certainly easier with a soloist like Emmerlee Thomas for the rest to build around.
When I saw them, Lou Gottlieb had already left, soon to take off with the Limeliters, a group I actually saw twice, once as a lead-in before they clicked and once during their peak time. I believe I went to the Hungry i just once--for the Kingston Trio.
I did almost literally wear out various record players playing LPs of these and others. For sure, I did wear out the wax LPs. Having now reached the age of reminiscence, I am extremely grateful that much of music from that time is coming out on CD.”
MARY HAGER, who saw The Gateway Singers many times at the hungry i, is reliving their great music via the new CDs.
“Thank you for bringing back happy memories of times long past.
As a bonus, two granddaughters have mastered music and lyrics of Puttin on the Style after one hearing!
When was the last time you heard a nearly three year old singing, mostly on key, "I was born about 10,000 years ago?"Top of her lungs, sitting in a market basket. It does get attention.”
The favorite Gateway song of JEFF LONGCORE in Washington State is “The Sinking of The Reuben James.”
”Though I'm not familiar with the other Gateway Singers albums, my parents have a copy of “The Gateway Singers at the Hungry I,” and I listened to it many times as a child.”
So many Gateway fans were introduced to this wonderful music by their parents and grandparents. DONNA CHIRICO in New York is keeping up the tradition!
“I have always enjoyed listening to the Gateway Singers (here in New York on Woody's Children).
I received my Gateway Singers CDs this past weekend and am simply writing to tell you what you already know -- they are wonderful!
My 12 year old was simply enthralled. “
JERE HAWN in Washington has fond memories of live Gateway shows.
” In 1956 I saw the Gateway Singers perform at the Humgry I as many times as I could. I thought they were better than Kingston Trio at the time! I found the record folder for the 78 record but not the record in my storage room the other day.”
And you won't want to miss
Experience your own hungry i reunion with the wonderful DVD featuring commentary by Enrico Banducci and performances by The Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Mort Sahl, jonathan Winters, Stan Wilson + rare Lenny Bruce footage. Just click the icon to order direct from Amazon!