In 1961, Dave Guard left the Kingston Trio, wanting to pursue different musical directions, and also frustrated by some shortcomings in the handling of the group's finances. At the end of the year he formed Dave Guard & the Whiskeyhill Singers, enlisting David Wheat (who had worked with the Kingston Trio as an accompanist), Cyrus Faryar, and Judy Henske. This was quite an impressive collection of talent: Henske was a fine blues-folk singer who would go on to make several interesting solo albums and then some good rock records in the late '60s and early '70s as part of a duo with her husband Jerry Yester and part of the band Rosebud. Faryar, meanwhile, would later join the Modern Folk Quartet, play on sessions by Linda Ronstadt and Fred Neil, narrate the strange 1967 Elektra astrological concept album Cosmic Sounds by the Zodiac, and become a singer-songwriter solo act forElektra in the early '70s.
The wrench in the works, however, was that Henske and Faryar were far away from realizing their full potential and perhaps would not have had the space to even do so in the Guard-led group. Dave Guard & the Whiskeyhill Singers' sole, self-titled album, released on Capitol in 1962, was just another commercial folk LP from the folk boom, the material ranging from a Woody Guthrie cover to hammy comic tunes. By far the most distinguishing trait of the enterprise was Henske's powerful, blues-colored vocals on both her harmonies and the occasional leads she was granted. Most of the material, however, was not an optimum showcase for her talents, as her subsequent recording projects demonstrated. The group did record a second album, but it was never released, although they did participate in the soundtrack for How the West Was Won. They broke up in 1963; their 1962 album is now hard to find, although one song, "The Bonnie Ship, The Diamond," appears on the Kingston Trio box set The Capitol Years. ~ Richie Unterberger