Washington state's Brothers Four
mined much the same territory as other commercial folk bands of the revival in the late '50s, such as the Kingston Trio
. The formula was similar -- good harmonies, simple instrumentation, and good songs that more or less fell under the folk banner. Most of the ten tracks here are very familiar -- the title cut, "If I Had a Hammer," "Rock Island Line," and others. It's certainly pleasant in a nostalgic way, but hardly likely to get any pulses beating faster. Like other bands, they were the white-bread face of folk, relatively bland and making sure there was no threatening edge in their music. What that boils down to is that it's fun, but unless you're avid about the period, it's unlikely to be played often -- once might be quite ample for many. But it's hard not to be moved just a little by their update of the old jug band favorite "Walk Right In." And given the budget price, it might be worth the investment for those odd times when you want a stroll down the byways of American folk nostalgia.