Collectors' Choice Music
Folk, Traditional Folk

Album Review

The debut album by the Cumberland Three was also an attempt by Morris Levy's Roulette Records to get in on a piece of the folk-music action spurred by the success of the Kingston Trio. The album compares very favorably with the work of the Kingston Trio -- no less a figure than the latter group's co-founder, Dave Guard (who was to be succeeded by Cumberland Trio co-founder John Stewart), endorses the Cumberland Three on the original jacket -- and may even be preferable to some listeners, because the Cumberland Three don't let overt humor and comic relief play too large a role in their recordings. Not that they don't have fun, but they concentrate on the music, which ranges from traditional folk to faux Civil War songs and calypso-influenced numbers. The vocals are impeccable, and even more alluring as they aren't too perfect -- John Stewart's singing on "New Land" is rough-hewn and affecting in a very serious way, and the rousing follow-up, "Nine Hundred Miles," makes them a perfect match-up on the original album. The 1999 Collectors' Choice reissue has been extended with three bonus tracks, a surprisingly soulful version of Leadbelly's "Cotton Fields," a lyrical and touching "You Can Tell the World," and a slow but not too mournful "Old Dog Blue," all familiar songs from other venues that come to life anew here.
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Darling Corey
  2. The Risin' Canal
  3. Come Along Julie
  4. Molly Dee
  5. Brave Bobbie Campbell
  6. Johnny Reb
  7. Bull Run
  8. Along the Colorado Trail
  9. New Land
  10. Nine Hundred Miles
  11. Save Another Bum
  12. So Long (It's Been Good to Know Yuh)
  13. Cotton Fields [*]
  14. You Can Tell the World [*]
  15. Old Dog Blue [*]