It's easy enough to dismiss the Highwaymen as representatives of a brand of folk music that has gone out of fashion, at least among the media tastemakers. Their kind of harmony singing, coupled with traditional songs and ballads, has seldom been written of in the decades since their heyday. What's more, their late-'50s collegiate origins, as a quintet whose purpose was to foster entertainment more than to raise consciousness, belonged more to the setting of the hootenanny than the anti-war teach-in or the political rally. They stand alongside the Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, the New Christie Minstrels, the Serendipity Singers, and the Brothers Four on the losing side of the early-'60s battle between the folk-pop acts and the more confrontational and politically oriented species of folk singer represented by Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Rush. But the Highwaymen did have a major impact on the folk scene of the early '60s. Apart from a couple of major hit singles, and appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, they contributed a couple of future standards to the folk repertory ("Big Rock Candy Mountain," "All My Trials"), played a key role in the unearthing of a major, overlooked Leadbelly song, which later became a major new addition to the repertoire of both Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Beach Boys, and also made the first recordings, or the first American recordings, of seminally important songs by Buffy St. Marie and Ewan MacColl, respectively.