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The thin, tight-mouthed men with outsize cars who were spotted around Jordan Hall Tuesday night at the Josh White Concert may, it was rumored, have been card-carrying members of the Watch and Ward. If so, they'll probably be back in human guise Saturday, just to enjoy the proceedings, for White proved that he can be vastly entertaining without being suggestive.
For those Martians who know nothing about the Blues, work songs, or folk songs, Josh White can be described simply as a man who can, and did, make "The Green Grass Grew All Around" sound absorbing. The cognoscenti need know no more than that he sang numbers ranging from "Molly Malone" and "On Top of Old Smoky" to "Strange Fruit" and Hard Time Blues." One of the most poised persons in the entertainment world, he handled songs like "John Henry," "The Foggy Foggy Dew," and "The Outskirts of Town" in easygoing style, though he had no microphone. Between his song groups, Josephine Premice did Haitian dances and sang quite nicely, thriving on the almost overly enthusiastic drumming of her accompanist.
In all, a pleasant evening, and those who go Saturday night will find Showman White mesmerizing them into thinking they're in a small New York night club. Unless, as happened Tuesday, someone asks for the graphically lascivious "Jolly, Jolly," and Josh ticks Boston off by shaking his head, and saying pityingly, "Not here."
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