“Greenfields,” “Try to Remember,” and other folk songs, will bring back memories of the 1960s to the people attending a concert by the Brothers Four at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Roland Fine Arts Center at Hannibal-LaGrange University.
The Brothers Four’s hits also include “Yellow Bird,” “Shenendoah” and “Green Leaves of Summer.” The Hannibal concert will be on the group’s “Season 50” celebration tour.
“It is not only fun but thrilling to bring memories to people,” said Bob Flick, the quartet’s only remaining founding member, during a phone interview. “People remember good things and good times, when they hear these songs.”
This will be the season-opening concert sponsored by the Hannibal Concert Association. Additional concerts this season will feature a former Moody Blues and Wings singer, a piano virtuoso, a Beach Boys tribute group and a performer who impersonates Cher and Shania Twain.
Download a Hannibal Concert Season brochure by clicking on the HCA icon at hannibalarts.com, pick up a season brochure at the Hannibal Arts Council or purchase season tickets at the concerts.
Admission at the Brothers Four concert without HCA season tickets will be $20 for adults or $5 for students.
was first hit
Flick explained the group was organized in 1960 when all four founding members were fraternity brothers in Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Washington. They are still based in Seattle. Original members with Flick were Dick Foley, John Paine and Mike Kirkland.
Each left at different times, and ironically, two of their newer members are also from the University of Washington - a generation later. Current members are Mark Pearson, Mike McCoy, Karl Olsen and Flick.
The Brothers Four gained nationwide fame in 1960 with the release of their first album, “Brothers Four,” which featured their first hit, “Greenfields.” “Later lots of other people included it in their albums, but it was our song” in the beginning, Flick said.
He credits their success to lucky timing, during the 1960s’ folk music era. “We were in the right place at the right time with ‘Greenfields’ and ‘Yellow Bird,’ and it seemed just right for the mood of radio. ... Folk revival was pretty present on radio and TV.
“We find that as we travel around the world people still love American folk music. It is still part of lots of family gatherings and church gatherings.”
Their hit recording of “The Green Leaves of Summer” from the movie, “The Alamo” was nominated for an Academy Award, and they performed the song at the awards ceremony in 1962.
Page 2 of 2 - “We write a lot of songs, but we did not write that,” Flick said. Another of their hits, “Try To Remember,” is from “The Fantastics,” a long-running off-Broadway show. “We do songs that are comfortable for us in acoustics and guitar, with a nice melody.”
Their folk music is traditional tunes but not protest songs, Flick added. “We consider ourselves more entertainers than carriers of certain points of view.”
Records used to teach
English in Japan,
China and Korea
When the Brothers Four began performing in other countries, Flick explained, “we found the broadcasting companies in Korea and Japan and China used our records as English language examples.” He believes this is because “we sing clearly, and the words are easy to hear.”
They have been doing concerts in Japan since 1962, and when they arrived, “the people already knew our songs,” Flick said. “Our audience has been so loyal. They sing along and bring their children.”
He hopes folk music will always be popular, noting “there is never a time when there is not a folk song way up there in popularity, with a guitar and banjo.”
Through the 50 years he has been performing, Flick named his favorite concert locations: the Blue Room in the White House, the civic auditorium in Kyoto, Japan, and the Red Rocks amphitheater near Denver, Colo.
At the White House they sang at the Kennedy inauguration, and later for presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford.
President Lyndon Johnson told them “I’m sure you boys would enjoy going to sing for our boys in Vietnam,” which they did in 1963 and 1964.
These trips have offered strong memories, Flick said. “It is still a very touching moment when a gentleman will come up to us at a concert” and say he heard them in Vietnam. ... “One said ‘I was your chopper pilot,’ and it was a very emotional moment.”
Asked what songs he would like to be remembered for, Flick was quick to name “Greenfields” and “Try To Remember,” because “they are about a time to stop everything and reflect.”
For more about the Brothers Four see brothersfour.com.