One of the old tapes I came across this morning was “The Weavers:Wasn’t That A Time,” a documentary concerning the planning and preparation for a reunion concert in 1980, and more broadly, the original group with their career ups and downs. It brought back a lot of memories.
I don’t recall exactly when I bought my first Weaver’s album, but it must have been when I was in college, probably in Bloomington. I had heard of them, but had never actually heard or seen them, probably because of the blacklist. Once I bought the first album I was hooked. I loved their “no frills” approach to the music, and the way their voices blended. Over the years I bought most of their albums put out by Vanguard, and had the 45 of Goodnight Irene done with Gordon Jenkins (he got top billing) on Decca. Then, in the 80’s I came across the album Wasn’t That A Time, and snatched it up. Despite the aging of their voices, it was a fine album. Even later I saw the tape of the documentary. It is well worth watching, more than once.
Going back to the blacklist, I remember reading somewhere that the reason some performers, like Joan Baez and The Kingston Trio, did not appear on the television show Hootenanny was because the ABC network would not let The Weavers appear on the show. Even though it was 1963, ABC was still adhering to the blacklist. I didn’t know at the time that acts were not on the show for that reason. I would have watched the show even if I did know, because some of my favorite artists, like The Chad Mitchell Trio and The Limeliters, were performing on the show. I loved the show so much I would watch it twice each time it aired. I could do that because we lived in an area where, with our television aerial, we would get both the Chicago and the South Bend television shows. Since the two cities were in different time zones I could watch the South Bend broadcast, and an hour later I would watch the Chicago broadcast.
A few years ago I bought the three disc Hootenanny DVD package. While I love it, and have watched it many times, I wish they would, or could, issue all of the shows.