Mudcat Café message #435119 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32874   Message #435119
Posted By: Armen Tanzerian
07-Apr-01 - 06:51 AM
Thread Name: Kingston trio--a place in history
Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
There are many, many of us who moved quickly on to bluegrass, blues, etc. that are forced to admit that the first folk music we heard was the Kingston Trio. I remember very well walking into a burger joint in about 1959, hearing "Tom Dooley" coming out of the radio and thinking "What the hell is that? The Trio greatly benefited from the fact that rock 'n roll, which had hit kids my age with such force had just been successfully re-appropriated by the music moguls -- Frankie Avalon and Fabian had replaced Jerry Lee and most of the rootsy R&B artists that had stormed onto the charts in that heady first wave. So there was a vacuum waiting to be filled with something more genuine. The Trio were not an accident. They were shaped and groomed by a manager (Werbler?) who spotted the niche in the pop music arena. The clean-cut, collegiate look and matching outfits were his idea. So we can't deny them their due and thank them for preparing so many of us for the "real" folk music of Blind Lemon, Bill Monroe, Sleepy John, the Stanley Brothers, Joseph Spence, et al. But were they good? In my opinion, not very. They watered down and commercialized songs, and their playing and singing was never much more than mediocre. I might make an exception for Scotch and Soda which was an original and showed off what sylistic strength he (Nick?) had. But in retrospect, they mostly murdered the real roots tunes they attempted. One man's opinion...