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Kingston trio--a place in history

DigiTrad:
SCOTCH AND SODA
THEY'RE RIOTING IN AFRICA (THE MERRY MINUET)


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Naemanson 07 Apr 01 - 12:47 PM
chip a 07 Apr 01 - 12:15 PM
Skeptic 07 Apr 01 - 11:55 AM
Rick Fielding 07 Apr 01 - 11:53 AM
Dharmabum 07 Apr 01 - 10:26 AM
Naemanson 07 Apr 01 - 10:11 AM
Midchuck 07 Apr 01 - 09:52 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Apr 01 - 09:41 AM
kendall 07 Apr 01 - 09:20 AM
bill\sables 07 Apr 01 - 08:23 AM
Armen Tanzerian 07 Apr 01 - 06:51 AM
old head 07 Apr 01 - 06:11 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 01 - 04:21 AM
Big Red 07 Apr 01 - 12:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Naemanson
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 12:47 PM

So, how many performers are NOT in it for the money?

I suppose I should explain that question. It isn't intended to be snide or obnoxious. Consider that we perform because we love the music and the ideal would be to get paid a living wage for our performances. If our performances seem to conform to an acceptable norm would we strive to meet this norm in order to make that living wage? And if it looked as though we could actually make more than just a living wage, would we not work harder at ferreting out the secret that let us pursue that?

In answering my post please try to consider my comments in the perspective of real life, not the ideals that we espouse. In other words, think of turning to your spouse or life partner and saying, "I could have made $100,000 this year but I would have adulterated my principals."


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: chip a
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 12:15 PM

They get respect from me. Hell, I even liked the Rooftop Singers! Really, my brother found folk while I was still delivering papers for the $ to buy Little Richard, Chuck Berry et. al. He even went to Newport, whatever that was. Well, my brother has been gone since '66, but I have some of his records. The Trio was pretty damn commercial, weren't they? But then, I remember a mother's of invention album over with about 50 of them on there and the words: we're only in it for the money. How many were NOT wanting commercial success.

Chip


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Skeptic
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 11:55 AM

A view from a professional audience and folk groupie.

A child of the '60s, I mingled the Trio, PP&M, along with Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin and lots of forgettable groups.

But I had Troll, somewhat older, lots more musical talent (not hard as I have almost none), not too bright, setting a good folk example. Back then heavy on irish and sea chanties, I remember. Did introduce me to the dulcimer and Jean Ritchy, however

Nostalgia occassionly lures me back. In retrospect, I look at a lot of the packaged folk groups of the time much like the old kitch art "standard" of Venus de Milo with a clock stuck in her stomach. The core disturbed by the tacky cliche but somehow almost bad enough to be good.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 11:53 AM

Boy, I sure rember the effect Tom Dooley had on me. I think at the time, folk music fans were inclined to go in two directions. Folks who saw themselves as "mainstream" enjoyed the Trio, and the many other "safe" groups of the day (Brothers Four, Gateway Singers, Hoyt Axton, New Christie Minstrels etc.) If you saw yourself as somewhat anti-establishment, you'd probably have found them "not dangerous enough".

Funny thing though, The Trio actually "formed themselves" simply for the love of the music. Peter Paul and Mary (nuch more accepted by the "lefties") were actually a commercially "manufactured" group, put together by Albert Grossman, to make tons of money. Perhaps because of Mary Travers' "lefty" connections they got more ink in the "folk Press".

I think the big knock on The Kingston Trio was that they copyrited and changed trad songs. So did the Weavers (and everyone else, of course) but the Trio got most of the flack....til Dylan came along anyway.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Dharmabum
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 10:26 AM

I suppose groups like the KT or PP&M could be considered "Homogenized." But It was groups like those that sparked an interest in folk music for me. Guys like Phil Ochs & The New Lost City Ramblers.

Granted,once I'd discovered the more traditional artists,the transformation was swift.

But I'll still bring out the KT's version of Tom Dooley on the occasional campfire sing,just because that's the one that most folks remember & can sing along with.

Ron.


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Naemanson
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 10:11 AM

I guess, since I have a more liberal view of what is folk music, I will step boldly out on to the proverbial limb and state that KT and PP&M were my first experience in folk music and I still think they were good and I still enjoy their music. And I even perform their music, unashamedly and even proudly. Of course, I've added my own elements to those pieces...

Of course, there were 15 years of absolutely NO folk music between those years of listening to KT and PP&M and my next folk experiences. That may have tainted my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Midchuck
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 09:52 AM

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.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 09:41 AM

I have often thought that there is such a thing as folk snobbery and that it can be fashionable to knock the commercially successful groups just as it is to knock songs like the Wild Rover.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: kendall
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 09:20 AM

My interest in folk music pre dates the KT by many years. While it's true that they were not great musicians, and were commercially successful, I liked them. Purists are a pain in the ass. If you dont like them, dont listen to them! Without their performances, it's likely that the songs they sang might never have been heard. I'd much rather hear them sing Long Black Rifle than some 48 verse boring ancient ballad.


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: bill\sables
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 08:23 AM

Here in the UK in the 60s we had "The Spinners" a group of four lads from Liverpool who were very sucessful singing folk songs to audiences in Concert Halls and Television. They were, however, resented by most of the "folkies" in the clubs. You would often hear remarks like, "I can't sing that, It's a Spinners song" or "If you liked us we were (insert name of group), If you didn't like us we are The Spinners". I think it was mostly jelousy because the Spinners were more sucessful than they were. They did change songs to suit their audiences but in the long run they probably put more arses on seats in folk clubs than anyone else of the era. I remember on quite a few occasions when new people would come to my club and say "We heard The Spinners on TV and liked what they did so we've come here to hear more of that type of music"
Bill


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 06:51 AM

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...


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: old head
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 06:11 AM

hi,big red,yes they do have a place in musical history.i and many others have been influenced by them,back in the 50's and i still do their songs today.all the best,to you and yours,bye.


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Subject: RE: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 04:21 AM

Hii, Red - I got my first exposure to folk music from the Kingston Trio and from Peter, Paul and Mary. I babysat at one house where the people had all the PP&M albums, and at another house where they had all the KT albums. These two acts were the most popular performers of the "folk" revival of the 1960's. They adapted the music to fit their time, and they made it fun. I still enjoy their recordings.
But do the Kingston Trio have a place in history? Well, I don't know about that. They adapted folk music so it was a commercial success for their time - but I think that their adaptations aren't timeless. If you listen to them now, they sound dated and maybe even a bit trite.
Of course, people could accuse me of being dated and a bit trite...
I still like 'em.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Kingston trio--a place in history
From: Big Red
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 12:09 AM

After more than a year of almost daily observation of the forum, I have come to greatly respect the musical knowledge, experience and observations of the catters. Therefore, I pose a question that has puzzled me for years: When the history of folk is discussed, the contributions of the Kingston Trio (as well as others of the era, especially the groups)are largely ignored and at times viewed with disdain. WHY?

Although preceeded by the Weavers and the Easy Riders in popularity and in the "charts", the success of the Trio was awesome. Millions of people were exposed to a least a part of the wonderful world of folk. The result was that doors opened for many other artists, doors that would have remained closed. Also, countless others started a lifetinme of involvement with folk music. While the "folk scare" (as some catters call it) could not be sustained, the effects are still with us today.

My observation is that the folk community (if such ever existed or exists today) resented the Trio (and others) for several reasons. 1. They were commercially (read financially) successfull. Envy is a strong and common human trait. 2. They were young. They had not paid their "dues". 3. They often did songs in a new way. The new is often resisted. 4. The Trio was too polished in their presentation. Others were too good musically. They did not sound like "folks". 5. With the Trio (and many others) it was the music that they presented and not the politics.

I believe that this last reason was and is the most telling. To voices of the "folk community" such as SING OUT, the Trio did not even exist (because, I believe, the Trio did not share the politics.)

The younger generation is being cheated out of a major perspective in folk by not being given the opportunity or the encouragement to learn of the many contributions to folk by the artists of the "folk scare" of the 50's and 60's.

While the Trio was the lead group, many others offered a great deal. While I don't suggest the the Trio or any of the others be put on a pedistal, I do believe that they should be given their due credit.


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