on September 10, 2002
Check out this Complete Halifax Three CD to see why the late Papa John Phillips described Denny Doherty's voice as "Velvet Fog." Along with Doherty, Patrick LaCroix and Richard Byrne complete this supremely talented and outstandingly versatile Canadian folk trio. All their songs were originally recorded in 1962 and 1963 and have now been digitally remastered to perfection! Bob Morgan, who had success with "The Brothers Four" produced all the tracks.
I "dig" this CD. Denny Doherty's voice is so beautiful! It covers three octaves; strong, clear and effortless. His phrasing is rich and unique.
Denny's sexy lead vocal makes "San Miguel" (J. Bowers) a masterpiece! Also love Doherty's solos on the bluesy "Rocks and Gravel," and on "Fare-Thee-Well." Both songs were arranged and adapted by Richard Byrne. Also adore Denny's singing on "I Passed by a Stream," and the light-hearted "Headin' on Home Again," both written by Byrne.
Denny's leads on the stomping "I'm Gonna Tell God" (Bob Gibson), the ballad "Far Side of the Hill" (V. Arnold), the female-harmony bonus "All the Good Times," and the macho "Bull Train" arranged by Canadian folk performer, Stuart Phillips, (not J. Phillips as printed) --- are not-to-be-missed!
Included with this CD are four pages of notes from archivist extraordinaire, Richard Barton Campbell. Here are three paragraphs:
A vigorous concert schedule on the American and Canadian folk circuit merged with several television appearances on The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, Let's Sing Out! and Hootenanny! "We were doing folk songs like "Oh Mary Don't You Weep," more as performers not as folkies trying to promote roots music," remarks Doherty. "If we found a song we liked, we'd sing it. It happened to be that folk music was the vehicle that we got gigs with."
"One of my favorite tunes," Patrick LaCroix recollects, "was 'Little Sparrow.' I think it really shows off the sound we had as a group."
(Barbe's note: Patrick played his own variation of washtub bass at live performances.)
(1963) found them (Halifax Three) sharing a manager and a stage with famed comic Shelly Berman, who recalls, "I had to follow them. I had trouble coming on stage because the audience always wanted more."
Soon, unfortunately, the British Invasion helped lead to the demise of folk music's popularity.
Denny Doherty went on to fame as the fabulous lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas, followed by two great solo CDs "Watcha Gonna Do" and "Waiting for a Song."
Denny currently sings, writes and tells the tale of the Mamas and the Papas AND the Halifax Three in his one-man show, "Dream a Little Dream, The Nearly True Story of the Mamas & the Papas," which after a successful run in Canada will now be coming to the states. Denny co-created the musical with producer/director, Paul LeDoux.
After giving The Complete Halifax Three CD a few pleasurable listens, I say,
"Bring back the days of The Ramblin' Man! Guys should be free to roam!"