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The Limeliters

Updated on October 15, 2016
The Limeliters
The Limeliters

Why I'm making this page: "The Limeliters.

The Limeliters are another of the now little-know but then great folk groups of the 60's folk and they were unique because of the incredible energy and effort they put into their performances, but mainly because their lead singer was the golden voiced Glen Yarborough.

The Limeliters
The Limeliters

Who are The Limeliters?

(info. gleaned From Wikipedia)

The Limeliters were formed by Lou Gottlieb (bass), Alex Hassilev (baritone), and Glenn Yarbrough (tenor) in July 1959. They were active from 1959 until 1965, when they broke up. They reunited in 1976 and were still active and performing as late as 2010, but without any of the original members, since Hassilev, retired.

The Limeliters
The Limeliters

The Limeliters' Unique Start: - (info. gleaned From Wikipedia)

  1. Lou Gottlieb had just obtained his Ph.D in musicology and was an arranger for The Kingston Trio.
  2. He happened to be in the audience when Alex Hassilev and Glenn Yarbrough appeared on stage singing a duet and thought that the two could help him make some demos for the Kingston Trio.
  3. Soon, they went to Aspen, Colorado, to work at a club called "The Limelite," where they perfected their act.
  4. After a short while, they took off for San Francisco, the California nerve center for the new folk movement, to preform at the "hungry i"
  5. The owner of the "hungry i" had just had a group with three long names and wasn't about to put "Yarbrough, Hassilev, and Gottlieb" on the marquee. The group, having not yet decided on a name, chose "The Limeliters".

Watch and listen to The Limeliters - on this YouTube recording from 1963

They sing 4 of their favorites

The success of The Limeliters: - (info. gleaned From Wikipedia)

Their success was immediate.

The Limeliters' first albums:

  1. Just two days after their professional debut, The Limeliters received offers from three recording companies.
  2. Early in 1959 their first album was released on Elektra.
  3. They soon signed with RCA Victor.
  4. They released their 2nd album "Tonight in Person" in 1960.
  5. Here are the track listings for their 2nd album:
  6. 1. There's a Meetin' Here Tonight
    2. Molly Malone
    3. The Monks of St. Bernard (Les Moines de Saint Bernardin)
    4. Seven Daffodils
    5. Hey Li Lee Li Lee
    6. Headin' for the Hills
    7. The Far Side of the Hill
    8. Rumania, Rumania
    9. Madeira, M'Dear [From At the Drop of a Hat]
    10. Proshchai

The Limeliters' 2nd album:

Their 3rd and 4th albums:

  1. In 1961, their 2nd album, "Tonight in Person" reached number 5 on the U.S. charts. and was on the U.S. charts for 74 weeks.
  2. Also in 1961, The reissue of their earlier Elektra album made the top 40, and spent 18 weeks on the charts.
  3. Also in 1961, they released their third album, "The Slightly Fabulous Limeliters" and it made the top ten, charting for 36 weeks. {From the editorial review:] "Frontman Lou Gottlieb, making fun of himself and everything around him with the erudition of a slightly mad college professor, really stood out with an audience to laugh along. But that only served to warm up the fans for the group's traditional folk material, presented in exact harmonies that supported Glenn Yarbrough's stirring tenor lead." -~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
  4. The following year (1962) They recorded their fourth album, "Sing Out!" [From the review: This album] found them back in the recording studio for the first time since their self-titled debut album, and although it was a good collection of folk songs and novelties, the loss of the live element was noticeable, as it is here especially, after the listener has just listened to The Slightly Fabulous Limeliters. Still, these two albums present the group at its popular peak, and they demonstrate what appealed to their fans in their first blush of success and for a long time afterward". ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Their 3rd and 4th albums:

Here (below) are their 3rd and 4th albums together on one CD from Collector's Choice. These albums contain some really amazing renditions-in particular their neat . Medley of Hard Traveling and Mount Zion, their haunting renditions of "Wayfaring Stranger," and "Everywhere I look this Morning," as well as their humours treatment of "Harry Pollitt" and Mama Don't 'Low" If you like their sound, this is CD to get.

More best selling albums by the Limeliters:

A string of best selling albums followed. First was their children's album, "Through Children's Eyes" in 1962. [From the Editorial review:] "Each of the original Limeliters, surprisingly enough, chose this album as their most satisfying. In the midst of their hectic rise to the top of their profession, the group decided to record a children's album, live (in the best hootenanny tradition), featuring a chorus of 70 elementary school children from Berkeley, CA. The result is what the folk process is all about: children learning songs from the 'town troubadours.' Any youngster in the early '60s, could sing along with this record and learn such classics as The Lollipop Tree,' 'The Riddle Song,' 'This Train,' 'and singalongs like 'Join into the Game' and "B-A Bay." Also included are country music's Carter Family's "Stay on the Sunny Side" and a moving medley of "America the Beautiful" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," sung at a time when the song could still mean something for youngsters. This album is still available on cassette, and copies were sold by the Limeliters during their concert appearances in the '80s and '90s. Alex Hassilev and Lou Gottlieb were amazed by the middle-aged former kid fans who eagerly asked them to autograph their worn-out, tattered LPs. It's still a great album. Get it for your kids." ~ Cary Ginell, All Music Guide


A few more best selling albums by the Limelliters

Then, came their specifiacally Christian album, "Makin' a Joyful Noise" in 1963 (I list this one separately further down with the question of their beliefs) and many others.

They had many best selling albums following "Through Children's eyes." Here is a partial list from the Wikipedia discography:

  • 1963 — Our Men in San Francisco — RCA Victor (Live)
  • 1963 — Fourteen 14K Folk Songs — RCA Victor (Studio album)
  • 1964 — More of Everything! — RCA (Studio album)
  • 1965 — Leave It to the Limeliters — RCA Victor (Studio album)
  • 1965 — Limeliters Look at Love in Depth — RCA Victor
  • 1965 — London Concert — RCA Victor (Live, recorded in 1963)
  • 1968 — Time to Gather Seeds — Warner Bros. (Studio album)

The break-up of The Limeliters

In 1963, Glen Yarbrough left The Limeliters. Gottlieb and Hassilev recruited former Gateway Singers tenor Ernie Sheldon (r.n. Ernest Lieberman) as Yarbrough's replacement, and continued the Limeliters but only as a recording act.

in 1965, when their RCA Victor contract expired , Gottlieb and Hassilev formally retired the act.

The return of The Limeliters: - (info. gleaned From Wikipedia)

  1. In the 1970s, the Limeliters did on a series of yearly reunion tours with Yarbrough, which were quite successful.
  2. Thus, in 1981, Hassilev and Gottlieb decided to reform the group and get back into the entertainment mainstream.
  3. They added tenor Red Grammer and again began doing live performances. These were also quite successful, as Red's vocals and choices of songs revitalized the Limeliters. His high tenor voice almost sounds like Glen Yarborough and has fooled some into thinking it was Glen. The lineup at this point consisted of Gottlieb, Hassilve, and Grammer, with accompanist John David.
  4. In 1982, they released "Alive in concert." Grammer even wrote one of the songs, "Harmony," but his highlight is the 'rish Medley,' which includes, of course, "\'Danny Boy.' My favorite track is another medley, 'The Folk Medley,' which consists of 'Hard Travelin,' 'Mount Zion,' 'Wayfaring Stranger,' and 'Lonesome Traveler.' With Gottlieb's comic introduction it is the quintessential track on the album."
  5. In 1990, Grammer left the group to pursue a solo career as a children's artist and was replaced by another tenor, Rick Dougherty. His wide-ranging musical background and bright stage presence brought another fresh dimension to The Limeliters.

    6. In 1996, Gottlieb died. He was replaced by a former Kingston Trio member, Bill Zorn.

    7 In 2003, Zorn and Dougherty left The Limeliters.

    8.Early in 2004, comedian baritone Andy Corwin and tenor Mack Bailey joined the group.

    9.In 2006, Hassilev retired and left.

    10.In 2006, Gaylan Taylor joined The Limeliters.

The return of The Limeliters: - (continued:)

  1. In 2003, Zorn and Dougherty left The Limeliters.
  2. Early in 2004, comedian baritone Andy Corwin and tenor Mack Bailey joined the group.
  3. In 2006, Hassilev retired and left.
  4. In 2006, Gaylan Taylor joined The Limeliters.

The little-known Christian Album by The Limeliters: - Makin' A Jouful Noise

I had this 1963 album on vinyl before I sold my records. I recorded it to cassette and still listen to it often. It's really great--a great way to enjoy the sound of folk music while being Spiritually inspired and refreshed. (If you still use vinyl, you can get the original LP listed below) SO WERE THE LIMELITERS CHRISTIANS? Who knows? I'd say probably for them to make an album like this, but, of course, they could have just done it for commercial reasons. Yet some of their other songs do also have Christian implications, Like "A meeting here tonight. Anyway, Take my word for it, this a great album. Too bad it's not on CD yet, but I listed the LP below. They do a wonderfully beautiful version of "Amazing Grace." Other songs include "Come and Dine," "Revive us again," "Where shall I be when that great trumpet sounds?" What wonderous love" and "How bright is th' day.."

What do you think?

The above album: "The Limeliters Makin' A Joyful Noise."
The above album: "The Limeliters Makin' A Joyful Noise."

Could The Limeliters have been Christians?

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