They provided the first real outlet for a host of songs written and performed by others, but not real popular on the folk circuit until the KT sang them. Some examples that come to mind:
The First Time, Green Back Dollar, Coal Tatoo, Scarlet Ribbons, Seasons in the Sun, Ruben James, Long Black Veil, Brown Mountain Light, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Kumbaya, and others to numerous to count. Maybe Frank Proffit didn't make any money, but a LOT of others did.
Most of us had never heard of Childe or the Lomaxes, and first heard what passed for folk songs while sitting around campfires in the late fifties and early sixties (in my case on the beaches of Hawaii). And then one day, one of my friends at school said "Did you hear what's happening on the Mainland? There are a bunch of guys who wear long hair like girls, and they call themselves the Bugs or something..." and it all faded away.
Three other points, The Highwaymen ("Micheal Row Your Boat" etc.) was the first time I heard an autoharp, (not real popular in Hawaii) and I,ve now been playing one for 35 years. I picked up my Vega Folk Ranger after hearing Dave Guard on "Darling Cory," in 1962 and never looked back (I'm sorry to hear that he died).
Finally, forgive me, but this might be the group that can answer a question I've posed before on the MudCat.
A couple of years after "Scotch and Soda" (a song I still do today) I heard a group my memory recalls as, the "Modern Folk Quartet". They had a song I believe was called "One Quick Martini," which was a sort of answer to "Scotch and Soda" (kind of like alternating verses from Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" with Paxton's " The Last Thing on My Mind" - try it).
The song spoke of two lovers, meeting in a cafe, ending their relationship with some "modern" convention, but a little regret, mixed with the concerns for the "proper way" to end things. My recollection is that the last line was something like:
"Thanks for the letter, The Scotch and the Brandy too, You knew the right thing to do,
Now it's looks like we're through...,
I have another rendezvous...
(I'd appreciate any help).