The first song performed on John Sebastian Presents Folk Rewind (on the PBS series My Music) is not by The Lovin' Spoonful, but an ancient video of Harry Belafonte (the man who gave John Sebastian his first job). Sebastian is the host for this salute to folk music of the past that includes legends of the folk world reunited to sing some of their greatest songs.
Vintage clips of old television and other archived performances begin with The Kingston Trio performing several songs, both humorous and serious ("Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"). The Limelighters are introduced and perform "There's a Meeting Here Tonight," on archival footage, and The Highwaymen perform "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore." With the passing of time and the evolution of folk music, one tends to forget how beautiful these voices were.
Also included in the retrospective are The Serendipity Singers ("Don't Let the Rain Come Down"), The New Christie Minstrels ("Today"), and the incredibly harmonious Brothers Four are seen performing two lost-love songs ("Green Fields" and "500 Miles").
Bobby Darin, wearing the widest lapels this side of Cartoondom, is shown performing "Simple Song of Freedom," the Rooftop Singers perform their hit coffee house song "Walk Right In," and Rod McKuen gives a gentle rendition of "Seasons in the Sun." Fans of 1960's folk music will enjoy seeing Peter, Paul, and Mary ("Lemon Tree"), Trini Lopez ("If I Had a Hammer"), and Pete Seeger and Judy Collins ( "Turn Turn Turn") again.
In the second portion of the show, the performances recorded live for John Sebastian Presents Folk Rewind are as vital as the songs were back in the day. Adding to the enjoyment is the sight of senior citizens…er…I mean "Baby Boomers"… singing along with the performers. The recorded-live segments include The Chad Mitchell Trio ("Mighty Day" and "Blowin' in the Wind"), Jesse Colin Young of the Youngbloods ("Come Together"), Barry McGuire ("Eve of Destruction"), and Roger McGuinn ("My Back Pages" and "Turn Turn Turn") still looking cool.
The one disappointment of the show was that John Sebastian didn't perform. A little bit of "Daydream" is heard over the closing credits and Sebastian strummed a few notes between breaks, but that wasn't enough to satisfy this fan. However, John Sebastian Presents Folk Rewind is a satisfying journey back to a time when there were more important things to protest than being felt up at the airport.
PBS stations will begin showing John Sebastian Presents Folk Rewind on Saturday, November 27, 2010; check local listings for air dates and times.