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Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio

DigiTrad:
SCOTCH AND SODA
THEY'RE RIOTING IN AFRICA (THE MERRY MINUET)


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Rick Fielding 24 Jul 01 - 12:06 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM
Mark Clark 24 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM
DougR 24 Jul 01 - 12:16 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Jul 01 - 12:20 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Jul 01 - 12:22 PM
Fortunato 24 Jul 01 - 12:28 PM
Charley Noble 24 Jul 01 - 12:30 PM
JenEllen 24 Jul 01 - 12:38 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Jul 01 - 12:48 PM
SINSULL 24 Jul 01 - 12:49 PM
JenEllen 24 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM
mousethief 24 Jul 01 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Russ 24 Jul 01 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Cretinous Yahoo 24 Jul 01 - 01:05 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jul 01 - 01:05 PM
Wesley S 24 Jul 01 - 01:06 PM
DougR 24 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM
mousethief 24 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM
GUEST 24 Jul 01 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Melani 24 Jul 01 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,I don't think so 24 Jul 01 - 01:22 PM
SINSULL 24 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM
Fortunato 24 Jul 01 - 01:42 PM
DougR 24 Jul 01 - 01:59 PM
Fortunato 24 Jul 01 - 02:06 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Jul 01 - 02:22 PM
Midchuck 24 Jul 01 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 24 Jul 01 - 02:45 PM
M.Ted 24 Jul 01 - 02:49 PM
Mark Clark 24 Jul 01 - 02:51 PM
Bert 24 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM
DougR 24 Jul 01 - 04:10 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jul 01 - 04:15 PM
mousethief 24 Jul 01 - 05:07 PM
Wesley S 24 Jul 01 - 06:00 PM
mousethief 24 Jul 01 - 06:04 PM
DougR 24 Jul 01 - 06:14 PM
ddw 24 Jul 01 - 06:30 PM
Bill D 24 Jul 01 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 24 Jul 01 - 07:27 PM
Chicken Charlie 24 Jul 01 - 09:08 PM
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Rick Fielding 24 Jul 01 - 09:39 PM
Mark Clark 24 Jul 01 - 09:51 PM
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Rick Fielding 25 Jul 01 - 01:02 PM
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Rick Fielding 25 Jul 01 - 03:29 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Jul 01 - 03:55 PM
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Subject: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:06 PM

I LOATHED the Kingston Trio (after they'd got me hooked on folk music, with "Tom Dooley"), simply HATED them...couldn't even stand to look at their album covers.

Please, Friends....if you were a Kingston T. fan from the get go, don't take this personally. Remember, I was a disturbed adolescent, living my life vicariously through "real" folksingers who Picked cotton, rode the rods, sometimes even rode the blinds (a strange concept to me, since we had drapes), swung 'der nine pound hammos, were forever crossing the Horn, killed a whale before breakfast every morning, and in general, Rambled, and Gambled a lot before building their Little Sod Shanties. The trio looked EXACTLY like the popular students at my school who got dates, good grades, and in general, ignored weirdos like me.

So when I started seeing these commercials, (complete with black and white videos) of the now geriatric (and partially dead) Kingston Trio, I was prepared for my old "folkier than thou" attitude to surface. It didn't. The music seemed quite pleasant actually. Sure, they were a "corporate Folk group" with management that FORCED them to rehearse constantly, and none of them had ever been Communists, Anarchists, or probably even McCain supporters, but heck, they chose some pretty good material, and now we all know that they sure weren't the ONLY ones to claim copyrights on semi-trad material.

Dog-gone it, I kinda like them now. ".......so here we are....in the Tijuana jail........rasberries strawberries....where have all the flow.....Hang down yer head Tom D..........."

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM

Rick:

For a similar shock, find yourself a picture of Willie Nelson from about the time when the KT was first popular.
Corporate?


We all get older, getting smarter is optional. : - 0

John


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM

I know how you feel, Rick. I bought every KT album up until I bought "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall." After that, I never would even listen to the KT. I didn't even listen to PP&M except on the radio—never did buy a PP&M album. When my mother emptied her house a couple of years ago to move to a retirement community, I quitely collected my old KT collection.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DougR
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:16 PM

How did you feel about Peter, Paul and Mary? The same way as you did KT?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:20 PM

Hi John. I SAW Willie (at the Horshoe Tavern in Toronto) while I was going to Art School.

Shiny business suit. Double cutaway Baldwin electric. Brylcremed hair. Singing mostly Country covers. Wheeeew!

Mark. The Weavers at Carnegie hall did it for me too.

......Wake Up Wake Up.....Darlin' Corrrrrrrie!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:22 PM

Doug, I like them a LOT better.....for their first two albums. Somehow they seemed hipper. Saw them live (in a bar) and they were verrrry funny.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Fortunato
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:28 PM

I didn't buy an album by The Kingston Trio, or The Limelighters, or Peter, Paul and Mary. I sang some of 'their' songs at parties or in groups for high school and college shows. I did buy those of Tom Rush and Joan Baez and Dave Van Ronk and Doc Watson and so on. When the gigs started coming I drew on the latter artists, pushing past them to their precursors. The Trio was not unpleasant and can be credited with poplarizing folk music. They were simply so far from the roots of the music that they compared to Dave Van Ronk rather like light beer and Guiness, both beer, one just doesn't have guts enough to hold my attention.

Now, I don't watch TV so I haven't seen the adds Rick describes, are they selling Mitch Miller's bouncing ball version of This Land is Your Land?
:~)


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:30 PM

I also have a confession to make. I harbored a huge stash of KT albums back in the early 1960's, and I really owe them a debt of thanks for making my college social life more pleasant, making it ever so much easier to find a circle of people to share folk songs with, many of which I had learned at home but until KT came along I had never run across someone in my own age group (other than immediate family friends) who ever sang such songs.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JenEllen
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:38 PM

I dunno, I've always had a soft spot for Dave Guard's 'Scotch and Soda'...sentimental ol'gal that I am, but yeah, for the most part they seemed too white bread at the time to be 'real'. I saw the recent commercial too, and I think I might be a little more relaxed about it now, so long as I could just listen and not have to see them singing it. The image still rubs me the wrong way.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:48 PM

Dammit, THEY DIOD CONTRIBUTE GREATLY TO THE RE-POPULARIZATION OF FOLK MUSIC. They did sing sourly but there was a lot of good material for new folksingers (who's singing , I hope was not sour)

I was still in the USAF (career type) and had been doing my own "civil rights" progrm. (I had the first integrated C&W group to record for a major lable, in 1959) when I first heard Peter Paul and Mary. I was driving into Sacramento from Mather AFB when I heard their "Blowing in The Wind" on an AM "Pop" station. "Finally", I thought to myself. I was so overcome by emotion that I had to stop the car and sit by the side of the road because I couldn't see clearly enough through the tears.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:49 PM

Love/hate/love/hate...but Hell! I was only 15 at the time. Now - I live some of their stuff and hate some but no longer listen to their albums. Not even sure where they are. They did a song called "Ruby Red" (flipside of Tom Dooley 45RPM> Anyone know of a recording by anyone else?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JenEllen
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM

These are the only ones I know of here but the KT versions listed seem to be the only Pockriss/Vance versions. Anyone else?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 12:59 PM

Hang down the Kingston Trio
Hang 'em from a broad oak tree.
Hang down the Kingston Trio
More money for you and me.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:00 PM

Me too. The Kingston Trio started me on my long downhill slide into the madness of "folk" music. It was the New Lost City Rambler's RFD album that sidetracked me into old time music. I've never returned. Still remember all the words to MTA and Scotch and Soda.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Cretinous Yahoo
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:05 PM

I have always liked the KT. Sure they were "poppy" but they did dredge up some good material that might not have otherwise surfaced. I have a stack of their old albums, but, almost never play them, for two reasons, they were not as good as I remembered them, and, they make me melancholy.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:05 PM

I had pretty much the same reaction to the KT as you did, Rick. Listened to em briefly, until I heard the Weavers at Carnegie Hall, and then couldn't stand em anymore.

Then moved on to Baez, and various others, and thence to Dylan.

I figure the KT made a useful contribution, but the times were changin' fast...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Wesley S
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:06 PM

They were a link in the chain for a lot of us. No one starts off reading Shakespeare - they have to start with Mother Goose. It was a lot easier to get exposed to the Kingston Trio - I don't remember any radio stations playing Woody Guthrie at the time.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DougR
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM

Why do you suppose the momentum Folk Music gained in the 60's didn't continue to grow? The Beatles? Elvis?

DougR


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM

Well said, Wesley. Why is it that once people learn to love Shakespeare, they don't automatically hate Mother Goose? Yet when people use the KT or PPM or the Limeliters as a springboard to more genuinely folky folk, they nearly always despise the springboard they've left behind?

So wonder I.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:12 PM

I love the Kingston Trio.

I still play their stuff and it sounds amateurish but that was exactly the point - so wonderfully refreshing for that time, circa 1957?).

From them I was introduced to Ian & Sylvia, PPM, the original Highwaymen, CMT, Limelighters, and BMT (Bock, Muir & Trickett) and eventually hundreds.

KT was first, then Ian & Sylvia made me a life long folkie. But, I wouldn't have been ready to listen to them without the KT primer.

Their cultural significance has rarely been acknowleged.

They were integral in bridging the gap between the weavers and PPM which led to Dylan and then to Southeast Manhatten becomning the creative epicenter of the planet for a few decades.

KT allowed milions around the world to say, "here's an art form I can participate in. if they let these bosos do it, so the hell can I.

Had it not been for KT, I think acceptance would have been much more difficult for BD.

Says me, Bob P


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:19 PM

I, too, grew up on the Kingston Trio--and does anybody remember the Highwaymen, a four-man version of the same? They were the ones who did "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore," which probably most of us would be embarassed to sing now, but at the time it was the coolest thing on the radio. What finally pushed me over the edge to tradionalism was a barbershop festival I went to with my aunt, featuring four guys in black slacks, white shirts, black ties and powder-blue blazers, singing, "Hard Travelin'." When they got to the part about workin' in the Pittsbirg steel mills, I realized that they had probably had different life experiences than Woody Guthrie.

I recently played an old KT album for my teenage daughter, who grew up at the Hyde St. Pier chantey sings hearing fairly tradional versions of chanteys. She collaped in hysterics at their version of "Santianno." But ya gotta admit, they started it for us.

Oh, and "The Sloop John B" still sails regularly at Hyde St. Pier.


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Subject: Cranky Yankee's history
From: GUEST,I don't think so
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:22 PM

According to Cranky Yankee: "I was still in the USAF (career type) and had been doing my own "civil rights" progrm. (I had the first integrated C&W group to record for a major lable, in 1959) when I first heard Peter Paul and Mary. I was driving into Sacramento from Mather AFB when I heard their "Blowing in The Wind" on an AM "Pop" station."

1959, Cranky?

Peter, Paul and Mary say that they first met each other in 1961.

Bob Dylan wrote "Blowin' In The Wind" in 1962.

Peter, Paul and Mary recorded "Blowin' In The WInd" in 1963.

1959? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM

Thanks, JenEllen. They are also the earliest in this list anyway but I will check out the others.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Fortunato
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:42 PM

Here in Washington Dick Cerri was on the radio with Music Americana by 1962 (when I noticed)playing Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, et al. We were fortunate here in DC. Then we were the Bluegrass capital with radio, local TV and The Shamrock in Georgetown with live Bluegrass. Don Reno and Red Smiley and Jimmie Dean were on Channel 5! Mississippi John Hurt was playing up town.

The Kingston Trio was no seminal influence here. Dave Guard's Scotch and Soda was memorable.





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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DougR
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 01:59 PM

Hey, Fortunato, I use to go to The Shamrock a lot when I worked in D.C. Great place.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Fortunato
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:06 PM

Yes, Doug it was grand. Lots of early influence on my music. Are you still around?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:22 PM

Ya know, I don't think ANYONE would disagree how IMPORTANT the Trio was, as far as hookin' folks in, but one of the things I noticed while listening to the commercials is that they WEREN'T bad musically. Not at all. There were some nice harmonies, lotsa dynamics, and from an innovated standpoint, the tenor guitar hadn't really been used since The Delmore Brothers. Also the plectrum banjo. The tenor banjo of course became a staple of the Irish bands, but the plectrum (longer neck, four strings, "G" tuning) had become virtually obsolete.

One ABSOLUTE.

The CF Martin Company absolutely kissed the ground they walked on! All those orders for D-28s, thanks to Bob Shane.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Midchuck
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:30 PM

One ABSOLUTE.

The CF Martin Company absolutely kissed the ground they walked on! All those orders for D-28s, thanks to Bob Shane.

Rick

Do I get accused (again) of being a cynic if I suggest that the KT are, indirectly, one of the reasons that Martins from the '70s are widely considered to be the least desireable, compared to either older or more recent ones? Because they started the folk craze, which made everyone want a Martin, which made Martin try to increase production too fast...

Peter


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:45 PM

I took almost the same path as about four other posters here-- first couple Kingston Trio albums, then somebody played Weavers at Carnegie Hall and I was hooked-- thence to solo Pete Seeger thence to the New Lost City Ramblers then to the people whose records they copied.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:49 PM


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 02:51 PM

That shows how long it's been since I thought about the KT, I (mis)remembered Shane's name as Nick. But you're right, Rick, they weren't bad musically.

I'm told that Dave Guard used to fly friends to Pittsburg just so they could hear Banjo Billy Bryant playing with Mac Martin and the Dixie Travelers.

In spite of their commercialism, they understood roots music, as did PP&M. My kid brother was managing a coffee house in Des Moines c. 1963 when PP&M played a big concert there. After they concert they showed up at the coffee house and they all sat around playing bluegrass all night. It turned out they preferred roots music when they wern't being PP&M.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Bert
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM

The music seemed quite pleasant actually. Aw Rick! what a WICKED thing to say *GRIN*.

Doug, "Why do you suppose the momentum Folk Music gained in the 60's didn't continue to grow?" - I would guess that the blacklist had a little to do with it.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DougR
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 04:10 PM

Bert: I had forgotten about that. Thanks. I would think that it would. However, I wonder, too, if the Beatles and Elvis didn't contribute to it too. The ending of the Viet Nam war could have contributed too, I suppose.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 04:15 PM

I have to confess that I had nothing but admiration for the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary until about 1995. Then I started having some doubts, but I still listen to my KT and PP&M CD's every few months. I also have to confess that I really can't sing in what I'd call a "trad" style - my singing sounds more like what you'd hear from PP&M and the KT, with a little less "bounce." Rick, I'm so glad you no longer hate me for singing like the Kingston Trio. In exchange, I won't hate you for singing like Gordon Lightfoot [evil grin].
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 05:07 PM

'Cept the Vietnam War didn't end until 1975, long after folk was dead in pop culture.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Wesley S
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 06:00 PM

Slick will always sell better. Steve Earle will never sell as many records as Faith Hill. And the Kingston Trio will always outsell the Delmore Brothers. The vast majority of listeners are not going to want to work hard enough to develop a taste for music that the radio hasn't already decided is "popular". It's just too much work for them. In my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 06:04 PM

In other words, specialized tastes are ... well ... specialized.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DougR
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 06:14 PM

I was thread creeping anyway with that question. Sorry Rick.

dougr


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: ddw
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 06:30 PM

Joe O — What a terrible thing to say about Rick. I happen to know from first-hand observation that Rick knows at least four different tunes and Gordy only knows two.

*BG*

david


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 06:34 PM

I heard the KT, PP&M and maybe Joan Baez about the same time I heard Bob Beers, Pete Seeger, The NLCR, Jean Redpath, Richard Dyer-Bennet and a local fellow who knew dozens of Child ballads.....there was never any choice. The Kingston boys were sort of musical, and they DID lure a few folks down the garden path, but it just seemed to me that the music was supposed to sound 'different', and I knew some folks who were singing it that way, so I never spent a dime on PP&M or KT....I had very few dimes, and they went toward other things.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 07:27 PM

I saw the Kingston Trio for the first time in my 50 years last year. It was the most enteraining evening I had had in several years. They played lots of KT songs and each did a solo piece. George Grove is exceptionally good. I wondered why I was so entertained by so many overly arranged bits of song. (I still can't stand Coplas) It wasn't the music that was entertaining, it was the group.

My first meeting with folk music was Hootenany, saturday nite at 7:00 for the summer of 59. For every group of slick production there was Rolf Harris or Judy Henske. The KT were and still are more the sum of the parts than just the music. They entertained and that is after all the business. I know some very dull musical scholars. I know some very scholarly enetertainers. On a nite out with my ewife and friends I'll take the entertainers.

Don


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:08 PM

We all climb the mountain from different sides. If KT or PPM or the Limelighters got you interested in folk, why fuss? The Weavers' arrangements always excited & impressed me; I still give credit for that even after hearing more "authentic" versions of stuff they did. I think I said this before on another KT thread, but you've gotta be ready. If the first folker I ever heard had been John Jacob Niles, I would have run, not walked, to the nearest exit. Now I can appreciate him. Well, for about one song, anyway.

CC


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:15 PM

Oh, I forgot, Rick. One does not cross the Horn, one rounds it. Or sails in the teeth of it. Or feels the blind Horn's hate, if one is so moved. Otherwise one risks bad jokes like, "What do you get when you cross the Horn with ......"

CC


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Midchuck
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:21 PM

I wondered why I was so entertained by so many overly arranged bits of song. (I still can't stand Coplas)

I have the record the KT obviously stole it from. Theo Bikel and Cynthia Gooding, A Man and a Maid (or something close to that - too lazy to walk downstairs just to check the jacket. Came out in the late '50s, so it's monaural, but you can't have everything. Classic and great. You could probably stand their Coplas.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:39 PM

Joe it's Florence Foster Jenkins I'll never forgive you for singing like!

peter...I think the BIG run on Martins started in the early sixties, and probably WAS the result of the Trio's poularity. They Did deplete a lot of their good old wood, but from reading the various Martin histories, it would seem that some questionable business decisions hurt their quality as well. Funny thing though is that a lot of those Martins from the "bad" period are startin' to sound awfully good today. I see a lot of them pass through the 12th Fret. One thing IS certain though. The seventies guitars ALL seem to need neck resets badly. Is THAT connected with the folk guitar boom? They made a HELL of a lot of instruments quickly.

Doug, thread creep all you want. I can't help it even when I really try!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:51 PM

Well now I'm really crestfallen. Rick, I thought you'd be really impressed with my Banjo Billy Bryant reference. <g>

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Midchuck
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:55 PM

Rick, I think the neck resets are mostly because any seventies Martin is now between 20 and 30 years old (Duhh!). I think a neck reset between 20 and 40 years old is a given.

What I understand is that a lot of seventies Martins have the bridge saddle just a little too far forward, or maybe back, in relation to the frets, so that they don't intonate right, especially if you play above first position (I'd be pretty safe).

I get the impression that Martin was on the way out until Chris IV took over just in time.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 10:54 PM

I loved the Kingston Trio, PPM and Dylan (early 60's), the Limelighters, the Chad Mitchell Trio because they were cosynchronous (hey Amos! I think I made up a word!) with the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. I started litening to them all at the same time, loved them all, and followed the ones who tore my heart right out - the CB & TM. They - along with the others - The Weavers, Pete, Odetta, Paxton, Doc, Big Bill B, the Dubliners are the reason I'm a professional performer today. God Bless 'em all!

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 11:33 PM

I liked them well enough and still do, but the group that got to me first was the Chad Mitchell Trio. They did some trad, but they did some wonderfully humorous social commentary.

I don't think that anyone can deny any of these groups and people their rightful place in bringing folk to a new generation and they were all pretty fine musically. So I don't listen to them much anymore, but their influences were huge on most of us.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 01:19 AM

Mark I DID catch the "Banjo" Billy reference, but I'm so used to you being as much of a "obscurity nerd" as me, I just EXPECT it from you!!

Good point about the intonation Peter. The neck re-sets I'm not so sure about. I read that the ANGLE itself seemed to change around that period, making the neck re-set almost a dead-certainty in less time than normal.

The books aren't very kind to Frank Martin about his tenure, and it seems that Chris IV is a real "guitar guy". That had to help right off the bat.

We should also mention that Vega sold a lot more long-necks because of Dave Guard than Pete.

Nobody's mentioned (so I will) that the addition of John Stewart changed their music quite a bit....lot more lyrical.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Gary T
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 02:01 AM

Dear GUEST who don't think--
According to Cranky Yankee: "I was still in the USAF (career type) and had been doing my own "civil rights" progrm. (I had the first integrated C&W group to record for a major lable, in 1959) when I first heard Peter Paul and Mary. I was driving into Sacramento from Mather AFB when I heard their "Blowing in The Wind" on an AM "Pop" station."

1959, Cranky?
Peter, Paul and Mary say that they first met each other in 1961.
Bob Dylan wrote "Blowin' In The Wind" in 1962.
Peter, Paul and Mary recorded "Blowin' In The WInd" in 1963.
1959? I don't think so.

He didn't say he heard PP&M singing "Blowin' in the Wind" in '59. He said he had the integrated C&W group in '59--notice it's in parentheses, elaborating a bit on the mention of his interest in civil rights (the period after "progrm" is misplaced and misleading). From the info you provided, we can infer he had that interest for at least four years before he first heard the song, as described.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 02:19 AM


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rasta
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:41 AM

gee wow ,i thought all this kingston trio suff had settled into the basement or closet. theres great music out there for everyone, somehow its all in some kinda way connected--to me the KT was a ton of fun a bunch of guys and originally one woman who played dorm partys and so on, and for thosed of us who didint grow up initally with uncle pete or cisco or woody ,which by the way you fell into all those people thru the trio. THEY WERE A O K in m book . Dylan ,hedy west, the greenbria boys , josh white and so on i discovered along the way,sorry im ramblin on a bit ,i could write a book on my respect for the trio Im sure tom paxton and a lot of other song writer would feel the same, and perhaps a few that didint feel that way so thanks bob ,dave and nic---and nick bob and john--roger ,george and bob ---bob ,george and bob--its been a ton of fun--rasttaaaaaa


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rasta
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:50 AM

oh yes and forgive me i believe the lady of the kingston trio was in the guard rendition (barbra bogue) under the name Dave Guard and the cylopsonians--thanx barbra wherever ya are


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 05:54 AM

Where does Ramblin' Jack Elliot fit here?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 08:52 AM

Good Morning! I don't listen much to the Kingston Trio anymore but I always liked them! Of course I first heard them when I was four or five. I coome from a large family and a couple of my older siblings were into them (All the rage in 1957-59). Were they commercial. Hell yeah but then that was the only folk experience some people ever got. I grew up durung the whole folk era (for lack of a better term) and I think it faded because people became a bit disillusioned. I don't know ho relevant my theory is but to me it makes sense. Meanwhile to groups like the Kingston Trio who were compared to light beer thanks for opening the door so I could find the Guinness. Kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:03 AM

I can't say I disliked the Kingstin Trio, way back when I first heard 'em. I did think they were a bit bland. I enjoyed seeing/hearing some of the other performers within the genre, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Chad Mitchell Trio, Ranblin Jack - then later Dylan, Baez, Paxton, Ian and Sylivia. I was a 12 years old when a network TV show called "Hootenany" came on. They had all of these performers, and more. While I liked the KT songs, and thought they were OK, I loved the edgier sounds of some others. Remember Theodre Bickel? I only heard him sing/play on that TV show, but he was wonderful. I also saw Johnny Cash for the first time on Hootenany (my mother was disgusted, "Oh he's on something," she assured anyone within earshot - she was probably correct).

But I'd have to say my first real folk-style hero was Tom Rush. Maybe because he was a local boy and I'd seen him a time or two. Similarly, I was hooked by Bill Staines way back in the mid/late 60s - also a local boy, to me.

Rick, I had the same sort of reaction you did to the KT TV ad. They sounded better then I'd remembered them, and I felt a new respect for their contribution ... but then, that is exactly what the marketeers wanted us to feel!

Great thread!


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 01:02 PM

Theo Bikel, Tom Rush! Are we related Jed? Yup saw them both in the early days. Damn, what fine concerts Bikel gave, and musical talent? he was a superb harmonicist and good guitar player. Tom Rush taught me how to play Barb'ry Allen with a POCKET KNIFE, on the steps of the Riverboat Coffee House in Toronto. Because of him I bought an Epiphone Texan.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 02:33 PM

I never met Tom Rush, but I went to see him as often as I could when I lived in New England. I saw him at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. Linda Ronstadt was at the top of the charts with her "When Will I be Loved" phase music, and she was the opening act! I have to laugh whenI think of that ... only Boston would that happen! Linda did a really great show with a big, just a kick-ass band - then out came Tom Rush all by himself, and brought the house down!

I met Bill Staines a couple of times; once at a coffeehouse 'open mic' night when I was 15 (Bill was a few years older) and once we were both asked to do a songwriter's workshop at a festival in NH. Bill inspired me to learn "My Grandfather's Clock" - and I've been playing ot ever since. He's a wonderful performer. I haven't seen him in years, even when he's been through TX I've been working too.

Theo Bickel was a favorite of mine as a kid. I remember being surprised to find out he was an actor too. I'm surprised he wasn't more popular, in those days.

Now; how do you play Barb'ry Allen on the pocket knife??


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:29 PM

verrrrry carefully.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:55 PM

Did the Beatles and Dylan short-circuit the Folk Revival? Definitely not, in fact they quite possibly prolonged its life through the late 60s when so many trad forms began to be hybridized(bastardized?) into the Hippie-dominated music of that era.

I loved the KT's popular single, Tom Dooley, as did most of the other kids my age (about 9 at the time). But that folk style became something associated with the College Kids of the late 50s, early 60s, and was completely irrelevant to me as I came into my teen years. The Trio with their flat-top haircuts and button-down collars couldn't have been more square in 1965. Dylan ( along with Ochs, Donovan, and others) made Folk hip, and people like the Byrds who mixed songs like Mr Tambourine Band with traddies like John Riley and Wild Mountain Thyme made me realize that the good folk stuff transcended the stuffed-shirts like the KTrio.

Having said that, I think the Trio did succeed at crossing over the Folk Music of the time by merging it with the kind of Pop Sound that made it palatable to a broad audience in the 50s. The fact that they couldn't see the 60s coming is forgiveable...after all, who did?


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Phil Dirt
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 07:02 PM

My own curiousity has always leaned toward wondering if they wouldn't have (and the rest of the "folk movement") had a prolonged popularity if they hadn't been so clean-cut.

It kinda seems in the looking back that the reason the Weaver's have more legs in our memory/taste is expressly because they were the social rebels (which sort of went hand in hand with the evolving message of folk music).

The world was ready for "Bad Boys". The KT may have been a victim of their own trained image. To this day I more often find myself, with melani's daughter, laughing at the miss-match of style to message.

...that, and their "humor" wasn't funny.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 07:43 PM

Yes, I went the same road as many of you---liked the Trio until I learned better. I'd grown up listening to and loving the WLS Barn Dance radio show in Chicago through the '40s and '50s. It became clear to me when I heard Bob Atcher really put his mind to real cowboy songs instead of doing just cowboy material that something real and roots-based ---- from another time and place was happening. When the Trio hit big, I listened and enjoyed. They were entertainers. As Sandy Paton said on the MEETING HOUSE radio show in Chicago about 1959 or 60 on WSBC-FM, to host Phil Green, "What the Kingston Trio does bloody well is entertain. But that's not what folksinging is all about." Then and there I decided he was right/correct. I went back to the roots for inspiration, found out that folksingers are quite lucky in that we could not only go from here to there like any truck driver. No, we could also go back and forth through time at a moments notice and, by the way, travel from California to the New York island geographically and then meet the folks there all in the songs. If, like me, you got lucky you might spend the next 40 years finding the places in the songs and the people who had learned the music from the old ones who had actually been there with Buffalo Bill and Paul Bunyan and Belle Starr and John Henry and Mother Jones. These folks knew Joe Hill---were there at the Haymarket and at Ludlow---travelled the "Crooked Trail To Holbrook" and recognized the "Simple Gifts" they were lucky enough to be experiencing.

If you wet your your thirst with the K.T. that was well and good. --- But I do hope you went deeper and did your own digging for artifacts. For me, it has been a glorious treasure hunt !!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 08:12 PM

The K. T. represents your early days. When you hear the boys now, you remember the danelion wine warm summer bee-buzz polination times of youth and not the hard love that might've been a reality also. It's good to hear "Raspberries Strewberries" and remember young love in France --- or in Central Park. Alas, who was singing and what song was it being entoned when Kane said , "Rosebud" and remembered all those times he had LOST the things he loved most? Those memories have much less to recommend them or to find fondness there within. Hemingway's Old Man And The Sea was always saying, "I wish the boy was here ! The Trio brings him back -- for three minutes at least.

Just another thought.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: raredance
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:59 PM

I guess I am doing this all backwards and inside out. I got folk-hooked by Pete Seeger's America's Favorite ballads and a Billy Edd Wheeler album from the local library (and maybe a Riders of the Purple Sage 45). Then just like Spaw (there's a phrase I thought I'd never type) I was smitten by the Chad Mitchell Trio' "Might Day On Campus". The only KT album I ever bought in the 60's was "Time To Think" although groups I was in sang some of their material. In recent years I started picking up LPs. Got to about 14 before the CD reissues started hitting the market. Just this week I ordered the Bear Family "Guard Years" 10 CD set ( I already have the Stewart Years 10CD set and a dozen other CDs, OK ther's some duplication here). I am very close to having them all. I think I am still looking for "Live at the Crazy Horse" And I enjoy listening to them, even if they don't come up to Gordon Bok's standards.

My recordings have Bob Shane doing "Scotch & Soda" a song I confess I have never liked much.

Copuple of great tracks of Ann Mayo Muir on one of those Highwaymen LPs

rich r


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 10:22 PM

I rejected them outright becayse the Weavers, Leadbelly and Richard Dyer Bennett and Frank Warner got to me first. But I learbed to chill out about it after alienating enough peple with my "grassier than thou" attitude!!! When I finally went to hear them 'live in -- what 1961? -- I had to admit I had a good time.

A


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 10:29 PM

Right you are, Art, Right you are.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 09:20 AM

I got hooked on folk music way before the KT. Mid 40's Buryl Ives, then the Weavers.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: RangerSteve
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 09:28 AM

I played their music once because they were popular, and if I wanted to play music with other people, that's what I had to play. I'll admit some of the songs are catchy, but last night I found a website (Bob and Kevin's Jukebox) that featured some of their music on Real Audio, and I found Seasons of the Sun. Granted, it wasn't nearly as whiny as Terry Jacks' version that got all the air play on the radio, and even contained a verse about adultery, but it's still the worst song ever written and any recording of it is unforgiveable.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 09:32 AM

Good thoughts, Art.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 10:35 AM

Hey Ranger Steve. Just to make your day, are you aware that for a while (I'm not sure about right now) "Seasons In The Sun" was the biggest selling song of all time? Apparently there were several hundred recordings of it. Whenever I feel a bit guilty about my low opinion of general musical tastes, i think about that, and know I'm on the right track.

Rick

....actually the Trio recorded several songs that were originally European in origin, and were translated into English.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 11:07 AM

'Course, as we all know, sales don't got nuthin' to do with quality.

I always liked the Kingston Trio's music, when I heard it in passing, but never bought any of their albums. Same goes for Peter, Paul and Mary. Have recently learned appreciation for The Limeliters, thanks to a concert last spring courtesy of the local folk-song society.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM

Regarding "Seasons In The Sun". I must admit to not being a big fan of Jaques Brel but I have often wondered if thats not because of in adequate translation. I don't think its the worse song ever written, I reserve that for "Honey" and "Feelings". But there are others of the KT's that I like alot less.

I wouldn't mind writing a song thats as bad as "Seasons" and forcing myself to live off the royalties for a few years as fitting punishment for my lapse of good taste.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 02:31 PM

I always thought "MacAurthur Park" was the worst song ever written.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: MAG
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 03:07 PM

I liked Glenn Yarborough until he recorded Rod McK.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 03:52 PM

Bill Staines has recorded Rod McPoem.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: beachcomber
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 03:57 PM

Have only one EP of the KT "Greenback Dollar" which I did like a lot but hav'nt played it in years (Hav'nt got the equipment anymore). I cannot remember well enough to be able to comment on their musicality in general but I do remember being dissapointed with the banjo playing on their version of "Boston MTA" especially when, in later years, I "discovered" bluegrass proper. Rick you mention "Plectrum banjo" in your early post to this thread, ? Was this what I was hearing then, on that track? just curious. We here in Ireland heard them a lot on radio in the late 50s of course (mainly on BBC broadcasts on long wave) but hardly ever anymore. This has prompted me to request them from my local Radio station who do excellent nostalgia pieces every evening from 6pm to 8pm. (For any one interested its on the net at www.wlrfm.com )


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 04:10 PM

Kendall, I was a Burl Ives fan in the 40's too but I didn't know there was such a thing a folk music so I just thought of him as a singer I really liked. I still have the Wayfaring Stranger album from when albums were really albums (several 78 rpm platters in a bound book) and my original sound track album (12" 78's) from "So Dear To My Heart." Lavender's blue, dilly dilly...

I was also a Weavers fan in the early 50's but still not old enough to think of them as something unique. They just seemed like part of the entertainment industry. I had to get clear through Rock-n-roll before I realized folk music was something different.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: RangerSteve
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 10:26 PM

Rick Fielding - thanks for that info. I'm not surprised. and Melani - you're right, it is MacArthur Park. I voted for that one in a bad song contest and it won.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:27 AM

Yeah, I'll have to go with MacArthur park as well for pure pretentiousness.

Beachcomber. Hard to say if you were hearing the plectrum or Dave Guard on Five string on MTA. Guard was a pretty decent banjo player but his "Bluegrass" chops were restricted to ONE forward roll, played over and over again, with closed chords up the neck...pretty tedious. I THINK that it was Shane (or Guard) playing "plectrum" banjo on Tom Dooley.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Steve N.
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:26 PM

Rick, Thank you for THE most interesting and entertaining thread to be posted in a long time! Lots of great remarks from all contributors, most of which I really relate to, but best of all was your original point...KT was/is REALLY MUCH BETTER THAN THEY EVER GOT CREDIT FOR. Considering the state of music that is played on the radio today, wouldn't it be great if their style, music, humor, and showmanship were reincarnated?? BTW, Shane played plectrum banjo on "Tom Dooley"...saw them do it in person. Great stuff, man....thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Craig
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 04:51 PM

One of the reason for the Martin slump was the president or head at the time...and the strike...don't forget the strike...during the 70...( I have a strike period E-18 didn't do well cause they weren't in stores, cause production was down cause: of the strike....some employees were even thought to have tried to sabotage-ee
Kt was tops cause they sang and played songs that people could sing and play as well. Radio was the key, if you could get played on the radio you had it made. Many greats were never played and hence unknown to many of us out in the country with no record stores.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 05:49 PM

[Unnamed]GUEST and Melani gave their nominations for the worst song ever written.

I insist on that distinction (in spite of its composer) for If I Had a Golden Thread. I yield to no one in my admiration for Uncle Pete, but in that one he sold his birthright for a pot of message.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 07:05 PM

For those of you complaining about Seasons in The Sun, listen to the Pearls Before Swine version. I don't think there would be such a bias against the song if Terry Jacks hadn't totally changed the songs meaning, making it into one of the most dramatic song butcheries of all time.

Re. The Kingston Trio? I can't say I was a great fan, as they never sang very well or played their instruments--and their interpretations of most of the old folk songs were....horrendous to mediocre. However, when John Stewart joined them and they recorded the album called #16, I had a temporary change of heart--some great songs, not too badly done.

I always appreciated Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bud and Travis, and The Chad Mitchell Trio, just because they had sensitive and skilled arrangements of terrific songs, with great harmonies. And I loved the New Lost City Ramblers, Dave van Ronk, and Tom Rush as well.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 09:13 PM

I forgot to mention The Rooftop Singers--also great interpreters of traditional and other material. And I don't understand what anybody saw in The Weavers at Carnegie Hall. I thought it was an album on par with the early Kingston Trio (despite my admiration for Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman).


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Bettynh
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 11:13 AM

Wow, I love the way Mudcat and the net combine to make sense of some of these memories. In wandering around the KT sites and history, I was reminded that they were among the first to record in stereophonic sound. Anyone remember that? My dad had been a radar tech in WW2 and became an amateur radio (and any other equipment) collector and repairer. I remember how excited he was about stereo sound - jazz records in which the sounds "bounced" from one side of the room to another, and he liked folkish music anyway (I'll always wonder about that - he was stationed on Saipan at the same time as Pete Seeger). We soon had FM radio (stereo and almost exclusively classical) and UHF TV. I think there were simulcasts of the Boston Pops and FM broadcasts (in stereo!) sometime in the late 50s-early 60s.

Breakfast was with the AM radio for news, weather, and some music. The Kingston Trio became pretty popular on AM morning radio, probably because it was a Boston station and the MTA song was about us. The Chad Mitchell Trio, the Rooftop Singers and the Brothers Four were played, too.

The technology that really impressed folk music into me was tv. Pete Seeger played a concert on Boston Common in June of 1963, broadcast on WGBHTV. Oscar Brand followed a couple days later. Dad recorded Pete's concert (which included Malvina Reynolds and Bob Dylan songs) air-to-air onto a reel-to-reel taperecorder. I still have that tape, and I'm going through Dad's stuff, trying to find a working reel-to-reel machine. I don't have any recording of Oscar Brand because Dad took us to that concert to see it live. Later, over the next few years, Pete's show The Rainbow Quest showed on Saturday afternoons (followed immediately by Julia Child). Tony Saletan had a show, too. Then the station shut down till evening programming for a couple hours. On regular tv there was HeeHaw, Hootenanny, and Ed Sullivan.

A few years later, folk music was mixed into the "radical" programming of FM broadcasting. Most colleges had FM radio stations (restricted reception areas?) and many of them mutated into public radio stations (with stronger signals?). Most of them had at least one purely folk program. They still do.

Anyhow, the Kingston Trio were certainly commercial. They sang some good songs. They rode that tech wave of stereo sound. I listen occasionally, and enjoy them when I do.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:04 PM

Hee-Haw didn't come along until 1969. Hootenanny ran 1963-1964. Funny how memories all smoosh together.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:27 PM

Same scene in UK with The Liverpool Spinners - Getting Slagged off for being too commercial , but they DID Introduce so many people to what was available in Folk !


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Bettynh
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:37 PM

It really is, mousethief. I didn't realize Hee-Haw was so late. The 50's were all about personalities and variety shows. Look at this combination from 1959.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 02:50 PM

Looking back at my post here in this thread, I like what I said. It is sill true, and that's doing o.k. in my book. Quite often, now, my views alter a lot---once a week is about right I think. It has to do with ageing that comes of seeing things clearer for having spent some time seriously ruminating on stuff.

And there is no such thing as "flip-flopping" being a bad thing-----for myself, or for the president either. It only proves that a person decided to use the brain they were born with.

Art


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Slag
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 03:00 PM

Really interesting. I have, I think, one KT record, a 45rpm, "The Reverend Mr. Black". Was that the last one they did before they slid off the pop charts? Don't know but I always liked their sound from the beginning. Familiarity breeds contempt: The Rev is my least favorite of all KT numbers.

And as for memory lane ( and I hope memory serves here ) I recall a couple of Wille Nelson appearances on the "Cousin Herb" Show, a product of NBC local affiliate, channel 23, Bakersfiled California. I remember Spade Cooley being a regular on that program also. There's a tragedy.

I did a little stint at Channel 23 and heard a few war stories about Cuz Herb but I will keep those to myself.

No matter what opinion you may harbor about the KT, they introduced a lot of folk to the folk music scene and they were a bridge or perhaps even a homogenizer between folk and pop. After intoductions were made, many went in search of the purer stuff and followed the branches into other avenues of folk. Thank you, Kingston Trio.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Jim Moran
Date: 05 Sep 10 - 03:58 PM

Interesting to find this thread still alive ten years into it.

Seems to me, as implied above, that an expressed distaste for the Kingston Trio after admitting to a brief period of liking them until one finds the "real" stuff is a common way to damn them with faint praise. Even Time Magazine's Richard Corliss, in a 2003 article retrospective on pop folk music, asserts that the KT's importance is historical, though he grudgingly admits that they were "pretty good."

In fact - they were easily the largest record-selling group in U.S. pop music history prior to the Beatles. They essentially created (with Harry Belafonte) the public's appetite for for full-length record albums rather than singles. And their success - selling $25 million in records between 1958-1960 (more than $180 million today) is what sent record companies scrambling to find "folk" artists. Virtually everyone who played an acoustic instrument - including Doc Watson, Dave Van Ronk, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul and Mary (assembled by Warner Bros. records especially to be that company's KT) - benefited financially from that attention. And the honest ones, like Watson, were explicit in acknowledging that.

The iconization of the Weavers is a romantic re-interpretation of history. They were the first pop-folk commercial group, and their early recordings - the million-selling ones of 1950 - carefully avoided any political content, as well as being laden with saccharine orchestrations and background singers. "The Weavers At Carnegie Hall" on tiny Vanguard is a great recording - but it is no more authentic than the early KT albums, and it sold in the thousands where their Decca singles sold in the millions. ITS importance - the reunion of a great group following the Red Scare - is more historical than anything else. Those professionally arranged and harmonized versions of folk songs have no more "authenticity" compared to the field recordings from which they were often adapted than did the KT's.

I remember Van Ronk acidly took the KT to task for their crewcuts - but had nothing to say about the Weavers tuxes and evening gown at that Carnegie concert.

It would be sad indeed if all one knew of folk music was the Kingston Trio - who, by the way, always denied that they were "folk music" in any way. My own interest in folk music started with Win Stracke and Burl Ives and was stoked by the KT. It continued to the Weavers and traditional singers and modern interpreters and a lot of acoustic and world music in general.

But none of that necessitated disliking the KT. I have a hard time swallowing the idea that a bunch of New Yorkers trying to imitate either black blues singers a la Van Ronk or old-timey Appalachian performers a la the NLCR are any more authentic than three college boys playing fast and loose with both the music and copyrights - exactly as their idols the Weavers did. Or doesn't anyone else remember who "Paul Campbell" was?

I wrote the Wikipedia article on the KT. It is more about the history than the music, but I'd direct attention to the "Folk music label" and "Influence" sections for some perspective on what the KT was and was not.

The Kingston Trio In Wikipedia

And from that "influence section - Joan Baez from 1987:

"Traveling across the country with my mother and sisters, we heard the commercial songs of the budding folk boom for the first time, the Kingston Trio's 'Tom Dooley' and 'Scotch and Soda.' Before I turned into a snob and learned to look down upon all commercial folk music as bastardized and unholy, I loved the Kingston Trio. When I became one of the leading practitioners of 'pure folk,' I still loved them..."


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 12:47 AM

If it were not for groups like The Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, and Mary; The Limelighters; and the Brothers Four, I would probably not love folk music as much as I do. Their music was played on pop radio stations at the right time of my life. My slightly older friends adored Elvis; my slightly younger friends screamed for the Beatles; but thanks to the popular "commercial" groups, I became a folkie. Yes, I spent some time thinking those groups were not authentic, but I'm long past that and grateful for how they influenced my musical preferences.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 04:37 AM

It's interesting to read through the whole thread and see which performers from the 1950s and early '60s inspired the posters here, or got them started in a particular type of musical genre. Also interesting to see the US take on those performers.

I can't speak for everyone of my generation in the UK but, over here, a huge number of budding musicians were influenced by Lonnie Donegan and - without knowing it, therefore - trombonist and bass player Chris Barber. Barber was the first person I'm aware of who brought black American musicians like Bill Broonzy over to this country in the 1950s. Trumpeter Ken Colyer had started injecting skiffle sessions in the intervals of his jazz evenings and, when he left to form a new band, Barber continued them. Donegan's career mushroomed out of the music - and it spawned a new breed of guitar player.

(I never cared for the Kingston Trio and was effectively turned off Peter, Paul & Mary when they recorded "Puff the Magic Dragon"! What seemed so much more vital and raw, at the time, were performers like Eddie Cochran and early Elvis, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. Commercial, of course, but full of guts.)

However, because of the influence of Donegan, who sang stuff by Leadbelly, I then listened to Leadbelly and - bingo! - the music clicked. A lifelong interest in blues - and thence ragtime, old-time, jazz and then (ironically) in folk tunes from the UK kicked off. And I still love Eddie Cochran!


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: MikeL2
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 09:56 AM

hi will

I came up almost the same way as you and have similar musical tastes.

I used to play and sing quite a lot of Eddie Cochrane stuff. At the time it wasn't easy to get information about the US stars.

I tried for some time to try to create a sound like Eddie - OK so in those days I used to copy !!! lol

I finally found that Eddie used a plain eg not wound third G string and I guess that maybe I was one of the first guys around here to use one.

What a huge tragedy it was when he died at the early age of just 21.

I used to regularly sing Twenty Flight Rock, Cmon Everybody and of course Summertime Blues.

I found though Eddie was popular with the music fans over here, in the UK there were very few musicians who played and sang his stuff in those early days..... though many did later.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: olddude
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 10:30 AM

I saw them on Ed Sullivan as a Kid, they got me hooked, along with others like the "brothers four" ... yes same as most, then I discovered the real stuff and didn't pay much attention to them but for that I thank them.

Always loved PPM always will ... never really regarded them as folk (I know I know here comes the war) but just a great pop group with their own sound.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 10:41 AM

They took what they sold from the Weavers. No Pete, no Dave Guard.
They apparently were good entertainers and created a big audience but no, not
for folk music, but for KT music. Folk music was something else and still is.

I never liked "Scotch and Soda" because it seemed like an ersatz popular song of the early Fifties. it was kinda' "wasting away in Margharitaville".

I haven't revised my opinion of the Trio although you can't deny that they entertained many people and made them happy. Just like Walt Disney.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Les from Hull
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 06:45 PM

Yes, interesting years ago but I wouldn't want to listen now. Coming from a city named Kingston (Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England) I always wondered how they got their name. I think they just thought it sounded right. Perhaps Maggie and I should be calling ourselves 'The Kingston Duo'.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,BikeCrone
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 03:46 PM

Dave Guard left the original Kingston Trio over musical differences. He wanted their music to become more "authentic"; Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane were happy with the sound they had.

Guard then formed the Whiskey Hill Singers, who had more idiosyncratic voices and a slightly Appalachian sound. I recall a rousing sea chanty, but I don't think they lasted very long.

What I have come to appreciate about the Kingston Trio is that their slightly ersatz folk was mixed with "songs" based on early music, including Riu Riu Chiu and the Coventry Carol. They were also pretty funny in their music and their patter.

When I was working on nuclear war issues in the 1980's, my colleagues
were thrilled by The Merry Minuet.

There is worse music to carry around in your head for 50 years.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 05:46 PM

I heard the KT after I had met Jeannie Robertson and Jimmy McBeath, heard albums by Leadbelly and Washboard Sam and McCol and Lloyd and so much more. The Trio were to me excellent and
nteresting in what they did. Another way of working from the tradition. Ewan


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: kendall
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 07:46 PM

I liked the KT when they first came out, but I never thought of them as my kind of folk music. I still have some of their records, and on rare urges I play them. They are no better than they were then, but at least they dragged up something to take me away from Beryl Ives, and some of the noise that passes for folk music now.

Have you heard Larry Kaplan? his new cd is titled "True enough". This artist is the essence of a folk singer.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 11:20 AM

More than 100 posts in this thread about the Kingston Trio and many mentions for their great hit, "Tom Dooley" but, very surprisingly, only one mention of the man they learned the song from, the great song collector, Frank Warner, and shockingly no mention at all for Frank Proffitt who was person that Warner collected it from. And yet, to these ears, Frank Proffitt's version has everything that the smoothly saccharine treatment that the Kingston's take lacks - involvement with the ballad, authenticity and commitment and many other qualities.

I used to be involved in the technical and presentation side of the multi-media show that Frank Warner's son Jeff used to present all over the UK. In this show, From the Mountains to the Sea, Jeff related some stories that his father had told him about Frank Proffitt showing his droll delivery with a deadpan face. Here's my favourite:-
Warner took Proffitt to one of the early Newport Folk Festivals. The mountain man had heard very few singers outside his own community and he was fascinated by what he heard. One of the things that really caught his attention was the 100mph banjo-picking of Earl Scruggs.
"I wish I could play the banjer as fast as that...." said one Frank to the other, "and then not do so!"


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 12:34 PM

The Kingston Trio figured in the record collections of my parents,
who went to university in the 1950's.
The album I particularly recall is
"The Kingston Trio Sold Out,"
which today is quite the double entendre;
that nuance was lost on me as a small child.

The cover shows a big old concert poster for the KT,
the words Sold Out have been stamped on the poster,
the poster is plastered on a brick wall,
and in front of the brick wall is a ladder
on which a handywoman in cropped trousers is gazing dreamily
at the poster, as though she has a crush
on the three strapping young men photographed there. Ick.

What REALLY made my ears perk up, listening to the album,
were the two songs from TONGA, of all places.
These are sung with guitar, acoustic double-bass, and bongo drum.
And the fellows belt out that Tongan/Polynesian language,
sounding hilariously North American Macho about the whole thing.
Those performances are hard-wired into my brain,
if only because they made me laugh.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GUEST,Busker On A Budget
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 05:20 PM

I'd first heard the KT from my father's record collection - PP&M, KT, Chad Mitchell Trio, etc.

To his credit, he also had the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

I can still say I'd rather listen to almost any of those records than the vast majority of what is manufactured for commercial radio, or has been for 40 years or so.

At least most of what they were singing was nominally tradition-oriented.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 09:28 PM

I was a Kingston Trio fan. Their music was such a welcome change from singers on the Top 40 station. Those singers whined, croaked or whinged, but the Trio sang in tune, sang like men, and blended together. And each album offered variety.

I still sing Kingston Trio songs in the car or around the house:

Buddy Better Get on Down the Line
Darlin Corey
Who's Gonna Hold Her Hand?
Colorado Trail
Tell Old Bill

There was a blues song that Nick Reynolds sang which I still sing today. I don't know the title of it, but it begins like this:

It's only been a year or so, but it seems so long ago.
I packed up my bag and left my home.
Been from Fresno to Maine,
even worked a boat in Spain.
I ain't ever had a bed to call my own.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jun 18 - 12:30 AM

I really liked the Kingston Trio during my teenage years. They added machismo to folk music - and for me as a teenage boy, that was pretty good.
I went to one of their concerts about 15 years ago, and they seemed like a bunch of old farts telling dirty jokes. Bob Shane was the only one left from the original group.

It was disappointing.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: pdq
Date: 24 Jun 18 - 05:52 AM

"It's only been a year or so, but it seems so long ago.
I packed up my bag and left my home."


It's called "The Wanderer" and is from "Here We Go Again".


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: leeneia
Date: 24 Jun 18 - 08:24 PM

Thanks, pdq. It's a good song to sing when you feel sad.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 07:27 AM

I loved the Kingston Trio as a kid, which was when they were in their heyday. Commercialized "folk" was the first thing I came into contact with in that genre, being a middle-class child growing up in a medium-sized California city. So the sanitized radio versions served as an introduction and led me to pursue it, buy records, check albums out of the library (a great way to explore) etc, and then try playing and singing it myself. Pretty soon I came into contact with the real thing, and never looked back.

Similar thing happened with Irish music - sentimental tenors and paddywhackin' shamrockery were all I heard on the airwaves, but I liked the bounce and lilt of the tunes and the cadences of the songs. This led me to search for purer forms, and eventually I found myself living in real Ireland, surrounded by musical riches. So it goes.

For these reasons, commercially popular artists like the Kingston Trio will always have a place in my heart.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 09:14 AM

They were definitely a gateway drug for me leading to Woody, Pete, Leadelly, the Carter Family etc. and on to folk and traditional music from all over. When I was a kid I remember my Dad singing "It Takes a Worried Man" whenever we'd do a project around the house.


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 01:56 PM

they popularised wher have all the flowers gone surely that was a good thing


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Subject: RE: Revisionist opinion on the Kingston Trio
From: GaryG
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 09:45 AM

Tom Dooley (Dula) had been sung for years in Johnson County TN and Ashe County NC. That is where Frank Proffitt was from and where Tom was arrested. Grayson and Whitter recorded it in the late 20s. G B Grayson, the fiddle player, was a nephew of the farmer who ratted Tom out.

I realize the KT were competent musically, but it was clearly folk music packaged for the masses. The song that opened my eyes was Greenback Dollar. I had heard it on the radio by the KT and then I saw Hoyt Axton do it. Hoyt's version was raw and real and I was on my way.

Check out Hoyt's version of Asheville Junction. It was on the Greenback Dollar album.


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