Sunday, July 8, 2007

Selections from 'The Wayfarers at the World's Fair' (1964)

The Wayfarers were one of countless earnest young American groups to come out of the 'Great Folk Music Scare' of the 1950's and '60's.

They remain a footnote in Rock Music history, as guitarist/vocalist Sean Bonniwell would go on to form the garage-rock band The Music Machine, after The Wayfarers disbanded as the Folk craze was waning.

Their third (and final) LP was recorded at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.

(Psst! ⬆ Check out the World's Fair video clip links at that Wikipedia entry!)

Like the Fair itself, the album was upbeat and hopeful. A product of changing times in an era of wishful thinking, looking towards the future and coasting on the fumes of what remained from the 'New Frontier / 'Camelot' era in the U.S.

From the album's liner notes:

"The Wayfarers have been true to their name. Their first album was recorded in Hollywood. Their second album was recorded in San Francisco. And here, with their third album, they're in Flushing Meadow, New York City, and making history.

"For this is the first album to be recorded at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair... in fact, it's the first album ever to be recorded in a live session at any World's Fair.

"The unique talents of the Wayfarers were especially suited to making a World's Fair album. For theirs is a new kind of music and the bass, banjo, six-string and twelve-string guitars accompany talents that are unique in their versatility. Comedy? It's here. Pathos? It's here also. In fact, the very breadth and spirit of the Fair itself is here. And the Wayfarers capture it with that sound that is all their own - - their special pavilion in that biggest of all world's fairs, ENTERTAINMENT."

"Thousands of World's Fair visitors watched while this recording was being made.
Some were actually a
part of the audience.
Others watched from the RCA Pavillion's Observation Gallery and countless others watched over the hundreds of color television receivers located throughout the Fair."




Having weathered various changes over the years, Sean Bonniwell remains active in the music business. In a 1997 interview, Bonniwell said that "...Ray Blouin, the banjo player of the Wayfarers, is a professor of economics in Virginia", and bass player Tom Adams has been presiding for many years as a judge in Santa Barbara County, California.

Guitarist Dick Bailey continued to play music, and in the 1970's was part of a Charleston, SC bluegrass trio, 'Beresford Creek', that included Ray Blouin. They released an LP in 1977.

Bailey also co-owned a club in in Charleston called 'The Whale's Tail', where he would often play.
He died in 1988.


From 'The Wayfarers at the World's Fair' LP (RCA Records, 1964), Listen to:

Progress Is the Middle Name of Man
The Ballad of the Battle of the Great All Digit Dial
Malagueña Salerosa
When I Was a Young Girl
Crabs Walk Sideways
The Ladder Song
Roll On, Tomorrow Is Coming

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 7 tracks in one 24 Mb zipfile.

† Historical footnote: This song refers to the phasing out of 'alphanumeric' phone number prefixes (DUnlop 8, BEnsonhurst 5, etc.) that was occuring in the U.S. at this time.

The consensus was that the 'self-serve' aspect of losing the assistance of your local telephone exchange, coupled with having to deal with a longer string of numbers all represented a difficult and inconvenient adjustment. Only the tip of the iceberg...

23 comments:

Cal said...

Every once in awhile for several years now, I have searched (among other things) for The Wayfarers. I was working in TV in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1st half of the 1960's and The Wayfarers every once-in-a-while would come to the tv station and do a bit on one of our live shows. They played several nights a week at the major downtown Charleston hotel, The Francis Marion, and we would go over for dinner and a show quite frequently. They confined themselves to Charleston, because one of the group (I can't recall which) was stationed at the Charleston coast guard staion. I believe his father was quite a high ranking officer in the coast guard. They had one album at the time (lp)...I had an autographed copy of it...and it has gone the way of all my collection of 78s. At any rate, it's go good to have found this site. I hope I have contributed something for someone...and I look forward, hopefully, to hearing something from someone about The Wayfarers.

Anonymous said...

In the middle sixties we lived in Charleston, enjoyed the Wayfarers music at the friendly pub they had, on King Street I think. Ray did his best to improve my banjo playing and I knew his sister, Trinket from the stables where we both kept horses. Fond memories of simpler times.

Anonymous said...

I also am a Charleston native and was on the Blue Angels swim team with Trinket. Her mother was the coach and Ray would occasion by periodically, he was a great swimmer. I would love to find their first albums in digital copy. I had them in vinyl once upon a time but they are long gone now. If anyone can help I will be very appreciative.

Anonymous said...

Go to Sean Bonniwell at My Space and write Sean A note.... He has done remix of The Wayfarers and you can order them from his site direct... Sean was a former gutarist with the group.... If you want the LP's check on eBay ...I found 3 Brand new copies. Hope this helps all of you that loved them as I did.

Jan in Charleston, SC

prifer@comcast.net

Tony said...

Wow. I also looked for this on and off over the years. My special memory was listening to this at my grandparents cottage when I was a child in the 70's. Thank you for sharing!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have the priviledge of working with Judge Adams and I really enjoyed listening to their music. I have heard the stories about the group and now I can put a sound to the stories.
Best,
Mrs. Brown

Anonymous said...

The Wayfarers club was called "300 King Street" named after it's location on King Street in Charleston. After the Wayfarers split (because of bad investments by their manager) Dick, Ray (and for a short while Sean) continued to perform at the club until it closed in 1965. After Sean left Dick and Ray performed for a few years as the "Half-Fares". (check the end of this posting for more about 300 King Stree)

The group that played at the Francis Marion Hotel was known as "Beresford Creek" and included two other members who last names I can't recall, Clyde (Buddy) and Dick (called Clark to avoid confusion with Dick Bailey and because he bore a resemblence to Clark Gable).

In early 1977 Dick Bailey and a friend opened "The Whales Tale" club in Charleston and the group played there as well as touring through 1979 when the club closed.

Ray moved to Clifton Forge, Virginia and formed a folk group there while teaching at a local college.

Dick continued living in the Charleston area and performed as a solo act for a while before his death in 1988. Sean performed as a solo act around Charleston for a while before going back to California and eventually forming the "Music Machine." Over the years he has become very religious lives very simply in California.

Ray now lives on Big House Mountain outside of Lexington,VA and has a group of folk/bluegrass players who perform in the area. He is often joined by Jim Conner who perfored with his partner Richard as "Richard & Jim" at 300 King Street in the early '60's. Jim wrote "Grandma's Feather Bed" for John Denver, who at that time, was with a group called the "Rum Runners" formed while he attended a college in Austin, Texas. At the time "The Rum Runners" played at 300 King Street Denver was still using his real name. Both he and Dave Boise, who was also a member of the "Rum Runners", went on to work with the "Chad Mitchell Trio" before Denver went his own way and on to stardom after recording "Take Me Home Country Roads."

Another interesting group that played at 300 King Street was "The GoldeBriars", One of whose members formed the rock group "Friend and Lover" and had a big hit called (I think) "Come Out Of the Darkness" in the mid-60's. .

Lisa said...

Thank you to whoever hosts this site and for all those who posted comments about the Wayfarers! Dick Bailey was my uncle and I have such happy memories of the times I shared with the family at their concerts. I still listen to their music, all these years later. When Dick and my aunt divorced, I lost touch of his whereabouts and goings on (though I did know that he had passed - and his brother has since been in touch with our family), so having information from this blog helps me pull together some family history. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The In Crowd said...

Lisa - -

So happy that you were able to fill in some blanks on your family history from my blog post.
I love comments like yours and so many of the others on this post and others from friends and family.
It's great to see information added beyond what's readily available, and especially gratifying to hear of people's stories and connections.

Thanks!

Trinket said...

I am Ray Blouin's sister Trinket. Ray is an outstanding banjo player. He resides in Lexington, VA not Clifton Forge and is still playing with a group called "House Mountain". They have produced many CD's. He has also become very proficient in Dobro, 6 and 12 string guitars and mandolin.
Thanks for enjoying the Wayfares like I did. I have many fond memories of going to see my brother perform.

Anonymous said...

I am Pandora, Dick Bailey's cousin. I think they were a hoot!

Anonymous said...

My name is Gary and I played with Ray in Clifton Forge in the band Sassafras during the 1980s. We had a great time. Ray gave me autographed copies (vinyl)of his Wayfarers and Beresford Creek albums, but of course as everyone else here has written, they are long gone. I have found two of the three again after much searching. Wow they are hard to come by. I'm glad to have found this site.

Pj said...

my father passed away last week- when i was going through his things- i came across a signed band photo of the wayfarers- i'm glad this is posted so that i know what music he enjoyed back then.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ray-
It's Jan F. in Charleston SC
We were emailing last week and I had to reformat PC and lost ya again- If you're surfing through this site, please write me back. Good luck with your daughter's wedding in August. I'm sure Tommy Adams will do a great job officiating the ceremony. Looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

Warmest Regards- Jan F
prifer@comcast.net

Andy Wolfe said...

I have the pleasure of playing and recording with Ray Blouin nearly every day of the week. We just released a new album of original Folk Songs written by Ray and Me and two of the songs by Sean Bonniwell who passed away at the end of 2011. Sean wrote the title song... a story of his life. He never got to hear the recording on the album. The Album is titled, Down the Road Again, and the group (Blouin & Wolfe, Harlow & Hodges) is referred to as the Grumpy Old Men. If you search Blouin & Wolfe you can hear what it's all about.
Best to everyone!
Andy Wolfe
Grumpy Old Man

Spellsinger said...

Glad to see there are lots more Wayfarers fans. My Dad was the Manager at the Francis Marion Hotel, and I remember their concerts like it was yesterday.

Spellsinger said...

My Dad was the manager at the Francis Marion Hotel who booked them. I can still remember the great music, and Dick inspired me to play the 12 string guitar.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful for all of the sharing. I met Dick Bailey when I was about 7 through my step father who was a pilot in Columbia, SC. I listened to Come Along throughout childhood, but lost my old vinyl in a house fire. I found a few songs from the album that I preserved on cassette. Yea for Old Blue! I see a few postings on you tube & will keep searching for digital.
Joy

Ray Blouin said...

Hi, I'm Ray Blouin, formerly with The Wayfarers with Dick, Sean and Tom. Tom and I remain the best of friends and try to get together as often as we can. But, we live on opposite coasts and, would you believe, we are still both working? I continue to perform folk music, mostly my own songs and am still with The Grumpy Old Men. But, recently, I've been performing with my wife, Joann. She's a hoot! I have been able to convert The Wayfarer albums to CD's but don't sell them. I give them away for old time's sake.

Jay said...

I have lived in Chas all my life and recall many pleasant evening on the second floor of 300 King St listening to the Wayfarers in the 1962-1967 era. the music was fun and the crowd young and enthusiastic. I recall that Ray was in the CG and his brother played pro football for the Vikings.
Frog on a Log was a favorite. Great memories!

Anonymous said...


Ray Blouin, if you read this, I would dearly love to have a Wayfarer CD. I have your Beresford Creek LP from back in the day that Dick had given me. Attended many, oh so many, of the Beresford Creek 'performances'. Was fortunate enough to see all of you on many occasions. Still listen to the Beresford Creek songs on YouTube.

VtLaw said...

Ray Blouin: Loved the Wayfarers and would love to get any downloads available. How do I contact you?

Larry said...

My folk duo opened for the Wayfarers at 300 King Street when the club first opened. What a memorable night that was.

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