While John Herald's name might not be as familiar as Alan Lomax's, his work as a member of the Greenbriar Boys and as a session musician made him a prime mover and shaker on the folk scene during the '50s and early '60s. Herald was born and raised in Greenwich Village, and his vocation was pretty much chosen for him when his poet father took the young boy to parties where folk-forefathers like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie performed live. "All of his (father's) friends were bohemians …," Herald recalled in the liner notes to Roll On John, "and here I was, somebody that was in on another sort of bohemian revolution in the sense of the folk part of art; folk craft, folk culture and so on." Like many roots music lovers of his generation, he also learned about folk from Pete Seeger, whom he saw perform at summer camp in 1954. While attending Manumit, a progressive school, he started listening to bluegrass on Don Larkin's radio program (Larkin Barkin') out of New Jersey. He learned to play the guitar by attending loose jam sessions with future notables like Bob Dylan, Rory Block, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.