It’s the middle of that strange week that comes between the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival every summer. At this point in the week I’m nearly recovered from the first three-day festival, and beginning to gear up for the second. I’m also preparing to immerse myself in music that is, for the most part, completely different from what I heard last weekend. But it’s all music, and I love it all.
As jazz musician Louis Armstrong once famously said, “all music is folk music; I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.”
All of this has nothing to do with the Manhattans, and their particular brand of “folk” music. They got together in Jersey City in 1962. The original lineup was comprised of George “Smitty” Smith, Sonny Bivins, Blue Lovett, Wally Kelley, and Ricky Taylor. They went to different high schools, but after graduation all five men enlisted in the service. The group came together after they were all discharged … (more)