#718: The Gypsy Rover by The Highwaymen
Dave Louis Fisher was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1940. In high school, Fisher had been part of a doo-wop group named The Academics. In 1958, Fisher helped form The Clansmen as a collegiate folk quintet of four freshmen at Weslayan University in Middletown, Connecticut. According to Joseph Murrells in his book, The Book of Golden Discs, Dave Fisher was the quintet’s lead singer and arranger. The other original members of the group were tenor Bob Burnett (born in Providence, RI), bass Steve Butts (born in New York City), baritone Chan Daniels (born in Argentina) and guitarist Steve Trott (born in Glen Ridge, NJ). The name, The Clansmen, they reasoned, was suggestive of Irish and Scottish clans, reflecting the Celtic roots of the songs the folk group performed. However, in the Civil Rights era with growing awareness of the violent acts and images of the Ku Klux Klan (known as the Klansmen), The Clansmen was not going to be a wise choice for the folk group to bill themselves if they wanted to go far. When they signed with United Artists at the end of 1959, they were given a new name, The Highwaymen. The name was inspired by the lines from lines by British poet, Alfred Noyes, “A highwayman comes riding…riding…riding,” from his 1906 poem The Highwayman.