In 1957, with six notes rolling melodically off a banjo and the spoken words of “Throughout history, there have been many songs written about the eternal triangle. This next one tells the story of a Mr. Grayson, a beautiful woman, and a condemened man named Tom Dooley,” The Kingston Trio began to take the world by storm.
With their smooth three part harmonies, collegiate appeal, and trademark striped shirts The Kingston Trio single-handedly revolutionized folk and pop music in America. Between the years of 1957-1967, Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, and Dave Guard (who in 1961 was replaced by John Stewart), created a musical legacy that no other folk group has equalled or surpassed. The Kingston Trio has never failed to leave audiences energized and begging for more.
Until the advent of the Beatles in 1964, The Kingston Trio ruled the pop charts.
They were the first act to sell more LP records than singles, placing 14 of their LP records in the “Top 10.” One of those top ten made it to #1, redefining the group forever. The song that earned the Trio their first Grammy and catapulted them into the spotlight, was the legendary folk tune, “Tom Dooley.” With the American public’s desire to hear more music of the same kind, the folk era had been ushered into the limelight, leaving label exec’s scrambling to imitate the Trio’s distinct sound. Before long, the world was itching to hear the Trio live and be a part of their unparalled success.
Despite the Trio’s immense popularity, today most of the Kingston Trio albums available on CD are compilations of the group’s greatest hits. However, Folk Era Records has released one never before heard Kingston Trio album –An Evening With The Kingston Trio, and re-issued two of the Trio’s last three studio albums, Stay Awhile and Children Of The Morning, to which eight of the twelve songs found on the third original LP Something Else have been added.
The New Kingston Trio
This New Kingston Trio learned enough old Kingston Trio songs to give audiences enough of the old Trio sound to satisfy those who came to shows to hear the songs and sounds they had come to expect from an act bearing the Kingston Trio name, even with a “new” preceding it. The arrangements were reasonably faithful to the original ones, but the maturity of Bob’s voice and phrasing, together with the talents of his new partners, gave the old songs a quality not previously heard. Even such shop-worn Trio standards as “Tom Dooley” had a unique aura of freshness and vitality. Although there were distinct differences in sound and style, all the elements that had made the Kingston Trio so special remained. Similarly, their new material had freshness and vitality, and by adroitly blending both old and new songs into their shows, the New Kingston Trio enthralled audiences in their many club appearances. They also spent a fair amount of time in the recording studio and, as best anyone can recall, recorded some twenty to thirty new songs. Several recording contracts came tantalizingly close, but only twelve songs were ever released — two on a 45 r.p.m. single from Capitol and ten on a Longines LP record album that was used as a promotional piece for a six record set of earlier Kingston Trio material.