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About The Big 3

Remembered today mostly for featuring a pre-Mamas & Papas Cass Elliot, the Big 3 recorded a couple of pleasant pop-folk albums around 1963. Elliot was flanked by notable partners Tim Rose (who went on to become a minor but noteworthy singer/songwriter in the late '60s, most famous for performing the version of "Hey Joe" that provided a loose blueprint for Jimi Hendrix's) and James Hendricks. The Washington, D.C. trio were typical of many of the acts working the East Coast coffeehouse circuit in the first half of the '60s, stressing clean and full harmonies, somewhat in the mold of the Kingston Trio. The Big 3 were a little (but not much) funkier than the Kingstons, and also occasionally made stabs at a more pop-oriented sound with full band instrumentation. Most of their material, though, was solidly in the acoustic stream, and their repertoire emphasized then-contemporary versions of folk standards, although they did compose some of their own material (which was usually by Rose). The Big 3 disbanded in 1964, when Rose left to go solo; Elliot and Hendricks joined Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty in the short-lived folk-rock precursors the Mugwumps, which in turn helped spawn two of the biggest folk-rock groups, the Mamas & the Papas (with Elliot and Doherty) and the Lovin' Spoonful (with Yanovsky). ~ Richie Unterberger

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