The Kingston Trio

From Academic Kids

The Kingston Trio is an American folk group. They were probably the most popular such group ever to record, and helped launch the folk revival of the 1960s. They continued to thrive despite the emergence of rock and roll.

Contents

History

They began playing in 1957 in the Palo Alto, California area with members Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, and Dave Guard. They were greatly influenced by the sound of The Weavers,

Their first hit was a catchy rendition of an old-time folksong, Tom Dooley, which went gold in 1958. It was so popular that it entered the popular culture as a catchphrase: Ella Fitzgerald, for example, parodies it during her recorded version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer..

Tom Dooley won them the first Grammy award for Best Country & Western Performance in 1959. The next year, they won the first Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording category for the album The Kingston Trio at Large.

The group's music is simple and accessible, with much use of tight vocal harmony. It has been written that Frank Werber, the manager of the Trio in its early days, was the inventor of the process by which their songs were tape-recorded in the studio, then this performance was overlaid above a playback of the original tape with a time gap of a fraction of a second between the two, to give the impression that a far richer, more powerful group of people was singing.

Popularity

They were enormously popular, particularly among the younger college-educated group. At one point in the early 1960s the Trio had 4 albums at the same time among the top-10 selling albums, a record unmatched for nearly 40 years, although it has now been equalled by Garth Brooks.

In spite of this, they had a relatively small number of hit singles. This has been explained, perhaps facetiously, by their success with the college crowd, who preferred to buy the 33-rpm album rather than individual songs at a higher total price.

Lineup

Over the more than forty years of its existence the group has undergone a number of lineup changes, with one constant: the presence of Bob Shane. In 1961, at the height of their popularity, Dave Guard left, to be replaced by John Stewart. In 1967 the Trio was disbanded, but was reformed the next year. For a number of years Nick Reynolds, one of the original three members, returned to rejoin Shane. As of 2004 the group still tours with original member Bob Shane, plus George Grove, and Bobby Haworth.

Discography

A partial list of well-known songs written or performed by the Kingston Trio:

Top 40 Hits in Chronological Order:

  • Tom Dooley, #1 in 1958
  • M.T.A., #15 in 1959
  • A Worried Man, #20 in 1950
  • The Tijuana Jail, #12 in 1959
  • Bad Man Blunder, #37 in 1960
  • El Matador, #32 in 1960
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, #21 in 1962
  • Desert Pete, #33 in 1963
  • Greenback Dollar, #21 in 1963
  • Reverend Mr. Black, #8 in 1963

Other well-known songs frequently performed by them:

  • Scarlet Ribbons"
  • This Land is Your Land
  • Lemon Tree
  • Scotch and Soda
  • The Long Black Veil
  • The World Needs a Melody
  • Raspberries, Strawberries
  • 500 Miles
  • Ballad of the Shape of Things
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