The New Christy Minstrels are an American folk music group founded by Randy Sparks in 1961. They recorded over 20 albums and had several hits, including their songs "Green, Green", "Saturday Night" and "Everybody Loves Saturday Night" (two different songs), "Today", "Denver", and a cover of "This Land Is Your Land". Their 1962 debut album, Presenting The New Christy Minstrels won a Grammy Award and sat in the Billboard charts for two years. The group sold millions of records and were in demand at concerts and on television shows. They also launched the musical careers of several musicians, including Kenny Rogers, Gene Clark, Kim Carnes, and Barry McGuire.
Randy Sparks invented the BIG FOLK GROUP concept and format in 1961. He actually sat down with a pen and a notebook and designed his dream band, a happy blending of the exuberance of The Kingston Trio with the choral harmony of The Norman Luboff Choir. The name came from his reading on the struggles of Stephen Foster. Steve had been a wannabe songwriter with a whole pile of good ditties that nobody wanted; ditto R. Sparks. Foster solved his problem by leaning on the most popular musical ensemble of his era, Christy's Minstrels, and shortly became a household name. "Might the same formula work again more than a hundred years later?" Randy Sparks asked himself. The answer was yes. Randy and his group rode their musical chariot to the very top of the mountain, achieving world prominence, then wandered away, one by one, busying themselves with other challenges, always performing, but not being billed as The NCM.
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