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The Kingston Trio- Undisputed Kings of American Folk
Their performances are jam-packed with jokes, history, fabulous memories, and, of course, all their classic hits!
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The Kingston Trio is one of the few groups today that has survived the many changes in the world of music. They have remained consistent in their sound, which probably explains their resurgence in popularity over the last few years.
In 1957 The Kingston Trio emerged from San Francisco's North Beach club scene to take the country by storm, bringing the rich tradition of American folk music into the mainstream for the first time. During the late 50s & early 60s, the Trio enjoyed unprecedented record sales and worldwide fame, while influencing the musical tastes of a generation. Using only acoustic guitars and banjos, and singing simple yet memorable melodies, they revolutionized popular music, reawakening America to its own rich folk music heritage. The release of “Tom Dooley” in October of 1958 began the “folk music revival” and set the stage for Dylan, Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary and the entire protest movement of the 60’s.
The Kingston Trio was the number one vocal group in the world, a musical and cultural phenomenon whose record sales and concert draws were matched only by The Beatles.
The Kingston Trio’s trademark three-part harmony and clean, crisp sound keeps them touring 30 weeks out of the year. George Grove’s orchestral arrangements allow The Trio to perform with symphony concerts, which have become a fan favorite. The Trio’s busy touring schedule has resulted in an increasing number of new fans, both young and old.
As Bob Shane put it, “There is a tremendous demand for our type of acoustic music, and not just from those who remember The Kingston Trio. All people want is for us to sing a song, tell a story, and make it good.”
They have been doing just that since 1957. The Kingston Trio Today: Bill Zorn, George Grove, & Rick Dougherty
February 16 and 17, 2012
By Robert Friedman
THE EGYPTIAN HAS A ZOMBIE JAMBOREE
The Kingston Trio played to SOLD OUT audiences in Park City, Utah, on Thursday and Friday nights. The Thursday show was a good event; but on Friday night, the Trio blew the doors off the Egyptian Theater. The Friday night audience came to party. They were a lively crowd and their exuberance must have inspired George, Bill and Rick because these guys gave as good as they got. It was a fun night full of song and laughter. The show opened with the story of Frankie and Johnny in YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME and the crowd loved it. The first set ended with a rousing rendition of Rick Dougherty singing MTA and as usual, George Grove received a loud round of cheers and applause for that song’s well-known banjo solo. Bill Zorn was thoroughly animated and on top of his game with his version of the calypsonian ZOMBIE JAMBOREE. Bill has such a great time doing that song and so does the audience watching him.
Every folk concert needs a Kumbaya sing a long and the Trio gave it with 500 MILES nicely sung by George. The Trio opened the second set with DARLIN COREY, but one of the best moments came when Rick sang TURN AROUND a touching song about how quickly daughters grow up and anyone who has one, is forever endeared to that song.
What’s a Kingston Trio concert without SCOTCH AND SODA? Bill admitted that singing the Trio’s most requested song is probably the “hardest thing he has ever had to do professionally”. Backed up by Paul Gabrielson on the bass guitar, Bill made the song his own rather than attempt the impossible and just copy Bob Shane. Paul’s bass solo is a nice touch. It gives the audience a chance to see the talent of the fourth person on stage who always stands behind.
The Trio sang most of the upbeat songs in their repertoire, which included THE REVEREND MR. BLACK, BIMINI, and CALIFORNIA I’M GOING HOME. The banjo enthusiasts had a good night also with the highly melodic ROLLING RIVER. If the fans came for the standards they got them with GREENBACK DOLLAR, CHILLY WINDS, THE TIJUANA JAIL and, of course, TOM DOOLEY.
Not forgetting that they are folk singers, the TRIO performed both Woody Guthrie’s SINKING OF THE REUBEN JAMES and Pete Seeger’s WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE. The evening ended with John Stewart’s ROAD TO FREEDOM, which really shows off the talent and amazing voice blend of George, Rick and Bill better known as THE KINGSTON TRIO.