Excerpts from the Cranford Hootenanny Competition, 1965
Folk music has been popular throughout history, but it became particularly of general public interest in the 1960s in the United States. The “Hootenanny” was an element of this genre of musical expression. Hootenannies consisted of gatherings of musicians performing folk music using acoustical instruments and often accompanied with vocal harmonies. As a genre, it became so popular in the 1960s that a television series formed around it and ran from 1963 through 1964.
Cranford, NJ hosted Hootenanny competitions which were judged contests between amateur folk music performers and were held in medium sized venues. The music usually consisted of the performance of folk standards as well as original compositions. A panel of judges would evaluate the various groups and award a prize to that which was judged to be the best of the groups. The ‘talent’ would perform three numbers each (often two standards and one original composition per group). At the end of the night, the panel of judges would meet for around 20 minutes to determine and then announce the winner.
One such Hootenanny occurred in 1965 at the Hillside Ave Junior High School, in Cranford, NJ with a packed house. The night began at around 7:00 PM and lasted until around 11:00 PM with about 15 sets of three numbers performed per folk music group.
Presented here are excerpts from that evening. The winner that night was “The Chatham Trio Plus Bass” which can be heard here.
We hope that you enjoy this little piece of “Americana”.
- Set 1: The Chatham Trio plus Bass
- Set 2: The Country Boys
- Set 3: The Betsytown Ramblers
- Set 4: The Cumberland Singers
- Set 5: Jan and Judy
- Set 6: The White Sisters
- Set 7: Ken and Kathy
- Set 8: Finale
Original 1965 Recordings by Craig Maier & Audio Restorations (using Diamond Cut Productions, Inc. DCart10) by Craig Maier / Diamond Cut Productions, Inc. 2018