Burl Ives – The Wayfaring Stranger (1955/2022)

Posted by Thomas on August 6, 2022
in folk



01. Burl Ives – Leather-Winged Bat
02. Burl Ives – Cotton-Eyed Joe
03. Burl Ives – Sweet Betsy from Pike
04. Burl Ives – On Top of Old Smoky
05. Burl Ives – I Know Where I’m Going
06. Burl Ives – I Know My Love
07. Burl Ives – Cowboy’s Lament
08. Burl Ives – Wee Cooper O’ Fife
09. Burl Ives – Riddle Song
10. Burl Ives – Tam Pierce (Old Engliser)
11. Burl Ives – Peter Gray
12. Burl Ives – Darlin’ Cory
13. Burl Ives – John Hardy
14. Burl Ives – Colorado Trail
15. Burl Ives – Roving Gambler
16. Burl Ives – Bonnie Wee Lassie
17. Burl Ives – The Divil and the Farmer
18. Burl Ives – On Springfield Mountain
19. Burl Ives – Little Mohee
20. Burl Ives – Troubador Song
21. Burl Ives – Robin, He Married
22. Burl Ives – Lavender Cowboy
23. Burl Ives – Green Broom
24. Burl Ives – High Barbaree
25. Burl Ives – I’ve Got No Use for Women
26. Burl Ives – Old Paint
27. Burl Ives – Baby Did You Hear
28. Burl Ives – Pueblo Gal
29. Burl Ives – Pretty Polly

The Wayfaring Stranger was the name of the CBS radio program on which Burl Ives first achieved lasting fame in broadcast circles and the name of Ives’ autobiography as well, so it was also a natural for his Columbia Records debut. Ives’ definitive Columbia album, The Wayfaring Stranger was also one of the bright spots in the very early folk revival of the mid-’50s, serving (every bit as much as the work of the Weavers) as the unofficial songbook for a generation of would-be folksingers who followed. Indeed, while the Weavers subsequently achieved much greater recognition and respect, their work up to this point in 1955 was decidedly more pop oriented, thanks to the presence of Gordon Jenkins’ arrangements and accompaniments. In contrast, Ives’ presentation on The Wayfaring Stranger was more basic and authentic, consisting of only his voice and acoustic guitar for all but one of the 26 songs. His singing is suited to the wide variety of material here, including folk ballads (“Darlin’ Cory,” “I Know Where I’m Going”), western songs (“Cowboy’s Lament,” better known as “The Streets of Laredo”), and tall tales (“The Divil and the Farmer”), among numerous other categories. Along with the work of the Easy Riders, this album has been one of the more undeservedly overlooked contributions that Columbia Records made to the folk boom that followed — listening to this record, it’s clear that more than a couple of young folkies picked up a song or two or three from Ives.

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