For a time during the late 1950s and early '60s, Ed McCurdy was one of the most popular solo singers of the folk revival. In addition to recording two extremely popular albums, When Dalliance Was in Flower, Vols. 1 & 2, McCurdy was also the author of "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," a song that was widely covered by other singers. McCurdy started his career as a gospel singer in Oklahoma City, performing on radio station WKY, and later became a theatrical and night club performer. His deep, rich tenor, somewhat reminiscent of Pete Seeger or the young Burl Ives, proved well-suited to folk songs, however, and he began this new phase of his career on Canadian radio in 1946. McCurdy cut his first album, Ed McCurdy Sings Songs of the Canadian Maritimes, in the early '50s for the Whitehall label. Beginning in 1952, he wrote and performed children's songs and programs on radio and television, and two years later, he moved to New York. In 1955, he cut his second album, The Ballad Record, which was successful enough to justify more recordings, including Bar Room Ballads and A Ballad Singer's Choice, over the next two years. His music included cowboy songs as well as traditional folk ballads such as "Barbara Allen" and "Pretty Saro," plus the children's songs that had initially made him a favorite among New York folk singers.