A strong gust of musical nostalgia blew into town last night, straight out of the hootenanny days of the early '60s.It whipped through the balcony of the Cellar Door, mussed a few middle-aged hairs in the crowd, and settled on the stage in the form of the Limeliters.

The group, once the headlining attaction of that bygone, woebegone era, held forth in the first of the shows it will be presenting through tomorrow. There were sing-alongs, and joke-alongs aplenty, and yes, folk songs as well.

Backed by a four-piece electric backup group, Lou Gottlieb, Alex Hassiler and new member Red Grammer sauntered through a set that featured crisp harmonnies, strumming guitars, a funny song, several silly songs and a de rigueur rendition of "John Henry."

Predictability aside, the show vacillated between excrutiating lows and hilarious highs. Grammer reduced Kipling's "If" to a slush country ballad. In contrast Gottlieb's effusive effervescent wit was a constant joy.

There are those cantankerous, persnickety souls who would say that '60s folk was the nadir of American music -- and they would be right. But folk is also entertaining and downright fun. And in both senses, the Limeliters were true to the style.