The Definitive New Christy Minstrels
This two-disc set, containing 45 tracks with a running time of two hours, is the most thorough retrospective of the New Christy Minstrels. In assembling it, the compilers have looked beyond the group's two Top 20 hits, "Green, Green" and "Today," to all six of their chart singles, including a couple, "Saturday Night" and "Silly Ol' Summertime," that didn't get onto their albums. Also included are four non-album B-sides, a couple of foreign singles sung in French and Italian, and the previously unreleased track "Elijah Rock." Of course, the bulk of the material comes from ten of the 11 albums the group released between 1962 and 1965 (there's nothing from Merry Christmas), including six tracks each from their debut album The New Christy Minstrels, the gold-selling Ramblin', and Land of Giants. Today, their only Top Ten LP, is underrepresented, and In Person, their live album, deserved more than three excerpts, but otherwise there is a good balance, and the selections are reasonable. Since Tom Pickles' liner notes painstakingly detail the many personnel changes in the nine- or ten-member group, it's odd that the compilers have not presented the selections chronologically to make it easier for the listener to delineate the resulting alterations in the Christys' sound, opting instead to mix up the tracks. Maybe that's because, as Pickles acknowledges, the group declined over time, and that would have been more apparent in such a sequencing. As it is, however, The Definitive New Christy Minstrels lives up to its name.