Saturday, August 09, 2008

by ericbkk #5

Bob Gibson
"Joy Joy!: The Young And Wonderful Bob Gibson"
1996 (rec. 1956-58)

Before Dylan, before Paxton, before Hardin, there was Bob Gibson. He even preceded the Kingston Trio by several years, working the folk clubs of New York and Chicago in the mid-fifties. Much like Cisco Houston before him, perhaps Gibson never received the acclaim he well deserved because his voice was "too good" for folk music. The 27 renditions offered in this long-overdue collection were originally recorded from 1956 to 1959 and offer the listener an opportunity to hear the music played and sung the way its writers intended. Indeed Hudie Ledbetter, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the other great folk song authors would not deny the purity of the songs offered here. From the title tune "Joy, Joy" and through such tracks as "Whoa Buck," "This Train," "Pastures Of Plenty," "Ol' Bill," "Take This Hammer," and all the rest, Bob Gibson's lovely tenor, accompanied by his outstanding banjo and 12-string guitar work reveal an artist who should be hailed as one of the greatest folk singers of the last forty years. If you're into honest representations of traditional folk songs, this CD is a must!
: ~ Amazon Customer Comment

01. Joy Joy
02. Whoa Buck
03. This Train
04. Abilene
05. John Henry
06. Pastures Of Plenty
07. Easy Rider
08. This Little Light
09. Money Is King
10. Ol' Bill
11. Titanic
12. The Virgin Mary Had One Son
13. A Wayfaring Stranger
14. Take This Hammer
15. Red Iron Ore
16. Brandy
17. Lula Gal
18. The Rejected Lover
19. Block Island Reel
20. Lost Jimmie Whalen
21. Drill Ye Tarriers
22. I Come For To Sing
23. There's A Meetin' Here Tonight
24. Alberta
25. The Erie Canal
26. John Riley
27. Mighty Day

One of the finest folk singers to emerge in the 1950s, Bob Gibson was very much in his prime when the outstanding acoustic sides on this 1996 compilation were released. Gibson, influenced by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger but most certainly his own man, had a direct or indirect impact on Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and other folk-rockers who emerged in the '60s. And yet, this music generally lacks the anger and disillusionment that would later characterize so much folk. Not that Gibson shied away from sociopolitical commentary -- on the painfully honest "Money Is King," he sings, "If you're poor, God help you/Even a dog is better than you." But quite often, Gibson's outlook is sunny and optimistic. On both traditional songs and originals like "This Little Light" (Gibson's best-known composition) and "Alberta," Gibson epitomizes '50s folk at its finest. : ~ Alex Henderson

Biography by Richie Unterberger
While Bob Gibson's recordings may sound like run-of-the-mill white-boy folk to modern listeners, he played an important role in popularizing folk music to American audiences in the 1950s at the very beginning of the folk boom. His 12-string guitar style influenced performers like Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin; he was a mainstay at one of the first established folk clubs in the U.S., the Gate of Horn in Chicago; and he wrote songs with Shel Silverstein and Phil Ochs, as well as performing in a duo with Hamilton Camp. Most of all, he was one of the first folkies on the scene--when he began performing and recording in the mid-'50s, there was hardly anyone else playing guitar-based folk music for an educated, relatively affluent audience.
Gibson was a salesman for a developmental reading company before he was inspired by take up folk music in 1954, after hearing Pete Seeger perform. He learned Jamaican music while working cruise boats off Florida, and taught some to the Terriers, who recorded the "Banana Boat Song" (made famous by Harry Belafonte). On his first recordings for the Riverside label in the late '50s, he played banjo and 12-string guitar with light accompaniment, presenting a wide assortment of traditional folk tunes, as well as some originals.
Gibson helped Joan Baez and Phil Ochs in their early days, and was managed by Albert Grossman, who later handled the affairs of such giants as Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul & Mary. In fact, Gibson has said that Grossman wanted to team Bob and Hamilton Camp up with a female singer before hitting upon the same type of trio approach with Peter, Paul & Mary, although Gibson wasn't interested in the idea. But Gibson probably was a little too retro for bigtime folk success in the '60s anyway. He was older than most of the performers on the scene, and his approach too tame and clean-cut, even though he and similar performers had helped created the sparks of the folk boom just by playing such material to begin with. In the latter period of his life he did continue to perform in Chicago, and help out with programs for that's city's Old Town School of Folk Music. He died in September 1996 at the age of 64.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this by someone almost forgotten these days. If Bob Gibson's here now, can Hamilton Camp be far behind? -- smitty123

09 August, 2008 04:52  
Blogger jeffen said...

A nice gift.

09 August, 2008 12:55  
Anonymous Karl Eklund said...

"Money Is King" was introduced as a calypso song by The Roaring Tiger. You can hear it on his Rounder CD

10 August, 2008 04:32  
Blogger artbox said...

This is a great post.
I've been looking for one of Gibson's earlier LPs, "I Come For To Sing."
If anyone knows where I can get it, please let me know at:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

18 February, 2009 08:12  
Blogger artbox said...

This is a great post. Thanks.

I've been searching high and low for an earlier Gibson LP, "I Come For To Sing". Would sure appreciate it if anyone can tell me where to find it. It has some cuts of Gibson's that just don't seem to exist anywhere else.

18 February, 2009 08:15  

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