Friday, January 19, 2018

Kingston Trio

I grew up on the Kingston Trio, because my mother loved them. When I came to buying my own records in 1965 - California Dreamin' - I already leaned to folk music.  They brought me down the road to liberalism, I've said kiddingly, though I didn't notice that at the time - I just liked harmony. Perhaps I shouldn't kid about it. It may have been more of an influence than I credited. The send-up of the Trio in "A Mighty Wind" captured them well at the end, hastily covering a blank time on the stage by going into a serious story about the Spanish Civil War.  Their introductions did sound like that.

I had almost a dozen of their 33 1/3 rpms by the time I finished, but "Here We Go Again," "Sold Out," and "College Concert" were my originals.  Like any geeky little kid, I can sing them in order and remember the liner notes. Predictably, I still just add harmony in to any song I hear. A rumbling hummed bass line if I don't know the song, some more adventurous things if I do. It just pleases my ears.


james said...

Tom Dooley was a favorite of ours growing up, partly because we could sing it and it was pleasantly grim, and partly because of a friend Tom whose name fit the meter perfectly. There was a very similar song in the folk part of the music curriculum. I gather from Wikipedia that some folks got their underwear in knots because of KT's popularization (they quote a fellow whose grandmother knew the pair).

I just thought they sounded fine, the few times I heard them. I didn't run across a cassette of their work until after I was married. The timing wasn't quite right, I guess. I did see this team.

Grim said...

They were a great favorite of my father's. I grew up knowing a number of their tunes well enough to sing. "Reuben James" was among these.

RichardJohnson said...

The summer before the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, at my request I got Kingston Trio albums for my birthday: College Concert, Live at the Hungry I and String Along.

I was already well-informed about folk music, courtesy of a box set of folk music we got for a previous Christmas. The box set featured Odetta, Cisco Houston, Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger, and Jimmy Driftwood, among others (Folk Song and Minstrelsy-still available in vinyl at Amazon). In looking through the Kingston Trio discography, I saw that even if I didn't associate the Kingston Trio with a particular song, I often knew the song.

Several days before the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, I remarked to my sister and father at a local cafe that in contrast to the Beatles, the Kingston Trio were competent musicians. I later decided I was mistaken- not in my appraisal of the Kingston Trio, but of the Beatles.

Folk music didn't make me a liberal. Liberalism came with the territory. Alger Hiss was innocent. Recognize Red China. End Jim Crow. Folk music. Well, three good things out of four ain't bad. (Even if the folk music push included a lot of Reds like Pete Seeger-who discarded his anti-war views and songs right after June 22 1941- it was still a positive.)

Donna B. said...

Buddy Better Get on Down the Track is my favorite to sing along with, alone in the car.

Sam L. said...

I heard them live on campus, way back when... Still sound good to me.

Murph said...

Oh, wow. Kingston Trio. MTA and Tom Dooley. Scotch and Soda and Greenback Dollar.

On vinyl in my basement, I've got early & originals albums of: Buffy St. Marie, Tom Rush, Eric Andersen, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Judy Collins, Ian and Sylvia, Dave Van Ronk, and believe it or not, the New Christy Minstrels. ...others that I can't recall - I'd have to go digging in boxes.
Also Cat Stevens from before he got all Islamic & weird.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Murph - you will enjoy "A Mighty Wind," which is a send-up of that era by the same folks who did "Spinal Tap."

Sam L. said...

That IS a dandy movie! Watch it and enjoy, Murph.