THE FABULOUS GATEWAY SINGERS
Puttin' On The Style
Traditional song, folk song, has been coming forward as a strong element in American music. Many names come to mind, names of singers and groups who have brought to light, and into great popularity the almost endless wealth of fine musical material still extant in remote areas, in collections, in handwritten dog-eared notebooks, on early recordings. The problem has been how best to adapt this material for present day performance, avoiding "quaint" treatments, dated and esoteric, long separated from the "mountainy" tradition, as well as artificial modernizations of settings which smother all its special values and qualities. The tremendous popularity of the Gateway Singers is due in large part to the fact that they have found the way. They have captured and held all of the basic qualities of the material - the gusto, the musical and lyrical authenticity of feeling and intention; and yet the form and presentation is altogether acceptable, popular, modern, and natural to the genius of the singers.
What seems to the hearer as entirely right and easy, full of natural punch and feeling, of fun and quiet mood, is not as easily come by as it seems, which is in fact a truism about anything well done. In this group are scholars with no manners of scholarship, who have done a tremendous job of research, of reconciling, arranging, of making slight and careful adjustments in lyrics to fit the needs of the contemporary audience. The songs have become a part of themselves, a proper and satisfactory expression of their own thinking and attitudes. There is never a false note in the presentation.
As a result of these circumstances, there is hardly a group of singers in our time that has such a rich and complete repertory, so varied in style without ever being stylized. They do not limit themselves to traditional material, nor to anything local. Today's news story, last century's railroad ballad or chantey, a riddle song or lullaby from another land or people - anything good, interesting, pleasing, musically right - becomes part of the rich and colorful fabric that is a program of songs by the Gateway Singers.
(back cover of LP)
When you see and hear the Gateway Singers, it seems right that the group should be composed as it is - three young men and a young woman, and she from one of the earliest racial strains in our country. Ability, understanding, and contribution to the unity of the unique singing organization are the sole qualifications of its members, and that is as it should be. It points up the direction of American culture - a growing tendency to set aside the false barriers of prejudice in behalf of successful functioning in every field. These barriers have been overcome most notably up `til now in the field of music, where talent, of whatever nationality or color, has been accorded acclaim.
The Gateway Singers were fortunate enough to have been able to record their first album with a distinguished group of supporting performers. Acknowledgements go to Jud Conlon who scored and conducted the vocal backgrounds; to Loulie Jean Noeman, soprano, and to the fine jazz men who provided the instrumental backing: Red Callender on string bass; Jack Marshall, guitar; Alvin Stoller, drums; and Carlos Vidal on congas.
Decca - DL 8413
Puttin' On The Style
Fair Maid (A-Rovin)
Sally Don't You Grieve
Bury Me In My Overalls
Run, Come See Jerusalem
Rock Island Line
Come to the Dance
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
Ezekiel Saw the Wheel
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