Mudcat Café message #435168 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32874   Message #435168
Posted By: Midchuck
07-Apr-01 - 09:52 AM
Thread Name: Kingston trio--a place in history
Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
There are, perhaps, a disproportionate number of confirmed folkies who are in my immediate age group - pushing 60 or just over. This is because we are the group that was in college during the "great folk scare." That period began with the death of Buddy Holly, the drafting of the King into the army - and the release by the Kingston Trio of "Tom Dooley" and "Scotch and Soda." It began to end with the Kennedy assassination and the Beatles first American tour (winter '63-'64); and probably officially ended when Dylan came onstage at the '65 Newport festival with a solid-body electric.

I suspect that the Kingston Trio were the first exposure to folk music as fun, rather than as a school subject, and therefore ex officio boring, for the great majority of us in this age bracket. Almost all of us who stayed involved with the music later became embarrassed that we ever liked the Trio, because they were so "commercial." Some of us outgrew that embarrassment, when we realized that if they hadn't been slick and commercial, they never would have caught on, and we might have missed out on the music completely - or because we got hooked on Ayn Rand and came to believe that Commercial was Good. Others never got past the embarrassed stage.

Mike Lussen, of Woods Tea Co., has a gag where he introduces a song with: "This is one we learned from the Kingston Trio. Any Kingston Trio fans here?" And if any hands go up, he says: "It's your bedtime."

I would not spend much time listening to them now, unless in a spirit of sheer nostalgia. But I don't kid myself about my debt to them.