The Limeliters return to their roots | AspenTimes.com

The Limeliters return to their roots

Janet Urquhart

The harmonic convergence at Aspen’s Limelite Lodge Thursday morning sounded familiar – for those who hung out there in 1959.The Fabulous Limeliters, in town for a concert Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House, have returned to the trio’s original stomping grounds. The group, albeit with a different lineup, got its start at a little Aspen nightclub called The Limelite back in 1958-59. They wound up getting their name from the club, as well.Yesterday, founding member Alex Hassilev and the group’s newest members, Mack Bailey and Andy Corwin, gathered in the Limelite’s lounge to rehearse for an attentive audience of mostly lodge employees. The group, appropriately, is staying at the lodge.Aspen has changed a bit, Hassilev noted.”It’s incredibly manicured – that’s my first impression,” he said. “I always loved the ambiance of Aspen, though. That hasn’t changed.”Hassilev and original group tenor Glenn Yarbrough once owned the Limelite, then a restaurant, club and three-room lodge. The trio, which also included Lou Gottlieb, debuted its act there before heading for San Francisco in 1959. They would record a string of albums for RCA that put them at the forefront of the folk-music scene in the early ’60s.”It seems like just yesterday that we were in Aspen, getting the group together in 1959,” said Hassilev, 72, who has remained with the trio since its inception. The original lineup returned to Aspen just once, in 1973, after the trio had re-formed for a series of annual reunion tours.Bailey and Corwin joined Hassilev in The Limeliters earlier this year.”For me, this is as full circle as it gets,” said Bailey, 44, who remembers singing along with his father’s Limeliters’ albums as a child.”They were literally the first group I ever listened to – The Limeliters and the New Christy Minstrels – I grew up thinking they were the ones that defined folk singing.”For more on the history of The Limeliters, see the Aspen Times Weekly. The group’s Saturday performance starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27 for reserved seating and are available at the Wheeler Box Office.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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