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The Rooftop Singers: Walk Right In and Mama Don’t Allow

While compiling a list of train songs last week, I came across a terrific version of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad by The Rooftop Singers. The harmonies were great and, to boot, the group has an interesting background. Here is the beginning of the bio from AllMusic:

The Rooftop Singers were the most successful of the folk revival’s one-hit wonders — their single major chart entry, “Walk Right In,” was a number one record and also the biggest-selling single in the history of their label, Vanguard Records. The group was a trio consisting of Erik Darling, Bill Svanoe, and Lynne Taylor, formed in late 1962. Darling had been Pete Seeger’s successor in the Weavers from 1958 through 1962, and had previously worked as a member of a jazz-folk influenced trio, the Tarriers, who had a modest hit with “Banana Boat Song.” He had also appeared on dozens of recordings (mostly on Vanguard, to which the Weavers were signed) by other artists during the late ’50s and early ’60s as a guitar accompanist, and had released his own solo album. (Continue Reading…)

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.