“The Vega Pete Seeger Banjo”

a posting by Pete Curry on 
Ken Laing’s  ‘Musician’s Rendezvous’ board 

The following information was assembled by me in preparation for a book about the Vega Pete Seeger — an instrument that has been virtually ignored by banjo historians. Walter Scott and I had planned to work on this book together. But as you know, Walter is no longer with us. Walter and I did exchange some e-mail over the past year, however, and his input is noted in what follows.

The Vega Pete Seeger, Part 1 Posted by Pete Curry on 2/9/2002, 10:51 pm

Early History

The Vega Pete Seeger model 5-string banjo came into being during the 1950s as a result of requests that the Vega Company received for an extended-neck banjo like the one Pete Seeger played. As Seeger explains in his book, “The Incompleat Folksinger”:

Well, it was like this. It was payola. About four or five years ago the Vega banjo company of Boston called me to say they’d received several requests to make banjos with especially long necks (an idea I got in 1942 when trying to play “Viva La Qunice Brigada” in the C minor position [i.e. first position, C tuning], which was a bit too high to sing).

Vega asked, “Could we officially call it ‘the Pete Seeger Model’?”

“It would be an honor,” says I.

“Would you like us to pay a royalty on each one sold?”

“No, I’d rather not get involved. (After all, how many such requests could there be, at $295. a piece?)

However, in 1959 Vega called again. “We thought you’d be interested to know that we’ve sold over three hundred of the Pete Seeger models.”

“Holy mackerel. I did some rapid arithmetic and began to wonder if I shouldn’t have asked for a royalty.

“By the way, which model of out banjos do you yourself play?” asked Vega.

“Oh, I have an old Tubaphone with a homemade neck.”

“Good heavens, that will never do. Could we present you with a Pete Seeger model?”

“I’d be delighted.”

Thus so easily is the human race corrupted. The banjo arrived last week, and is a beaut­quite the nicest I ever had. (“Incompleat Folksinger, pg.442.)

This entry in Seeger’s book is dated Spring 1960. (It should be noted that Seeger later donated this instrument to “Sing Out!” magazine, to use as a prize during a subscription drive.) If his recollection is correct, Vega probably started working on the Pete Seeger model in 1955 or 1956.

First Standard Production Models

As of this writing I have been unable to determine exactly when the first official “Vega Pete Seeger” models were produced. But we have some clues.

On Bob Gibson’s second and third LPs, “I Come For To Sing” and “Carnegie Concert,” both released in 1957, the cover photos show him with a long neck Vega open-back banjo with a squared-off peghead, side tuners and “block and dot” inlays on the fingerboard. Similarly, I have seen photos of Peggy Seeger playing a long-neck Vega with the same inlay pattern (eg. in Pete Seeger’s book, “How to Play the 5-String Banjo,” Third Edition Revised, 1962, pg. 52), which probably dates from the same period.

So the question is: Were Bob Gibson’s and Peggy Seeger’s banjos official “Pete Seeger” models or custom instruments made by Vega before the company secured Pete Seeger’s permission to use his name on a long-neck model?

In an article about Peggy Seeger published in the book “Artists of American Folk Music,” the author says: “One of the ideas gleaned from her half-brother [Pete] was that of playing a long-neck banjo. Her first banjo had been an old S.S. Stewart that she shared with Mike [Seeger]. Later, however, she switched and acquired the first long-neck Vega Pete Seeger model.”

Given their peghead shape and inlay pattern, which differ considerably from those commonly associated with the Pete Seeger model, I believe that these were custom and not official “Pete Seeger Model” instruments. (According to Walter Scott, Peggy Seeger’s banjo utilized a high-end Tubaphone pot with ornate abalone rim trim. Based on that information alone it is safe to assume that her banjo was not an official Pete Seeger model but an earlier, custom instrument.

The earliest Vega literature I have found that mentions the Pete Seeger model is a company price list dated March 1, 1958, which lists the following available models: “Ranger, Tenor or 5-string; Ranger, special, with heavy notched hoop and gear pegs; Little Wonder, with gear pegs; Professional; Vega-Vox I; Vega-Vox III; Vega-Vox IV; Pete Seeger Model, 5 string, extra long neck, 3 extra frets, no resonator, on special order…295.00” This seems to indicate that the Pete Seeger Model was not a standard production model as of that date.

In a letter he wrote to Mandolin Brothers, Dave Guard says he purchased his “Pete Seeger model Vega banjo 99836 brand new in 1959” (note: this instrument can be seen as early as the EP “Tijuana Jail” which was released in April of 1959). Author William J. Bush says in his June 1984 Frets Magazine cover story about the Kingston Trio that Dave purchased this instrument in “late 1958.” And while not stating his source, author Neil Rosenberg says in his book “Bluegrass–A History” that the Vega Pete Seeger model was introduced in 1958.

According to Mike Longworth at the Martin Guitar Company (which purchased the Vega Company in May of 1970), Vega’s records were very sketchy and did not include specific information as to when the Pete Seeger model was introduced. But given the sources mentioned (Guard, Vega literature, Bush, Rosenberg), I believe that the Vega Pete Seeger model became a standard production item in 1958 (but after March 1), and that Dave Guard was one of its first purchasers–either in late 1958 or early 1959.

The Vega Pete Seeger, Part 2 Posted by Pete Curry on 2/9/2002, 10:57 pm

Dowel Stick Models                   MOUSEOVER image to view reverse —>>>

The first Vega Pete Seeger model banjos utilized a wooden dowel stick to secure the neck to the rim, a carry-over from Vega’s earliest days. (Actually, Vega was originally a guitar and mandolin manufacturer. They did not get into the banjo business until they purchased the A.C. Fairbanks company in 1904. And up until the mid-1920s, Vega banjos carried the inscription “Fairbanks Banjo made by The Vega Company.”)

Basically, the Vega Pete Seeger model was a Vega “Tubaphone” with an extra-long neck. (In the early days, Vega spelled this brand name “Tu-ba-phone,” with hyphens to show how it was to be pronounced. This was to make sure their banjo would not be associated with a “tub.”) This model remained virtually unchanged from its introduction in 1909 until the 1950s–and the basic design of the Tubaphone “pot” lived on for quite a few years more in the Pete Seeger model.

The heart of the Vega Tubaphone is its tone ring which consists of a square brass nickel-plated tube with round sound holes along its inner surface. The complete tone ring assembly also featured a round steel rod (over which the head is fitted) which was attached to the top of the tube via a “spun German silver band extending down outside the tube.”

Another important Tubaphone (and Whyte Laydie) design feature that was carried over to the Pete Seeger model was the famous Vega bracket shoe band. This device eliminated the need for drilling bracket shoe screw holes in the rim. Here’s how it worked: First, the bottom outer face of the rim was milled away the approximate thickness of the bracket shoe band to allow the bracket shoe band to be slipped on, flush with the upper, unmilled portion of the rim. Before the bracket shoe band was mounted, however, the bracket shoes were mounted to it via flat-head screws that fit flush to the the inner surface of the band via countersunk screw holes. Voila! No unsightly screw heads and washers on the inside surface of the rim. More important (according to early Vega literature), the “tonal integrity” of the rim was preserved (i.e. by not having bracket shoe screw holes drilled through it).

Opinions vary about which Vega instrument had the better sound, the Tubaphone or the Whyte Laydie. However, it is instructive to note that the Tubaphone is described in the 1923 Vega catalog as having “the clear crisp tone quality and great carrying power of the Whyte Laydie,” but as being “more resonate, especially in the upper register.” Having played both models, I agree with Vega.

Like its predecessor the Tubaphone, the early Vega Pete Seeger model banjos had 28 brackets. This number was later reduced to 24–a change that occurred sometime before the switch from dowel stick to coordinator rods which took place in late 1962.

Heads

The earliest Vega catalog featuring the Pete Seeger model that I have is dated Feb. 1, 1960. According to this catalog, this model was fitted with a “5 Star calfskin head.” However, it goes on to say: “Plastic head optional at same price if desired.” The January 1962 Vega catalog shows that plastic heads had become standard by that time.

Given the vagueness of this data, there is no way to know how many early Vega Pete Seeger models left the factory with a calfskin head. The fact that most early Vega Pete Seeger model banjos in circulation today have plastic heads tells us little in this regard since virtually everyone who had a calfskin head on their banjo in the 1950s switched over to plastic by the early 1960s.

(Younger players may not know that a calfskin head, when properly mounted and tightened, has a surprisingly bright sound. All of Earl Scruggs classic recordings of the late 1940s, for example, were performed on a Gibson Mastertone with a calfskin head.)

Coordinator Rods

In late 1962, Vega started using two metal coordinator rods rather than a wooden dowel stick to secure the neck to the rim, a practice that the Gibson Company had pioneered. While many Vega Pete Seeger enthusiasts (myself included) say this change had little effect on the sound or structural integrity of these instruments, at least one critic disagrees. Mugwumps publisher Michael I. Holmes had the following to say on the topic in a posting he made at the Banjo-L Internet message board:

“There is actually a difference. It’s not the rods per se, but the changes that went along with them, either immediately or shortly thereafter. I’m not sure exactly when, perhaps at the same time they went to the co-ordinator rod design, but Vega introduced a pair of [my sunburst model #102,471 has 4] adjustable Allen head set screws which were intended to bear against a thin metal piece attached to the bottom of the neck. This arrangement was intended to stabilize the neck when the coordinator rods were used to adjust the action by pushing the neck away; it also allowed for slight side to side adjustments if the neck didn’t hit the rim squarely. I believe they failed to understand what the purpose of the 2 rods was, and the consequent reshaping of the neck bottom often requires that the neck not touch the rim firmly, causing a noticeable loss of tone and volume. The neck should be firmly attached to the rim first, and the the coordinator rods used to slightly distort the rim to adjust the action if necessary­the operative word being slightly! When Martin took over Vega production, the first thing Mike Longworth convinced them to do was eliminate the Allen screws and recut the neck bottoms to fit properly.”

Still quoting Holmes: “Another difference is that in later Vegas the shoe screws go through the rim, also changing the sound. And they experimented with different “variations” to the Tubaphone tone rings themselves, none of them for the better.” (Source: banjo-l, 18 Nov. 1999.)

[Note: I am aware that Martin did some experimenting with the Vega tone rings–such as changing the round sound holes to “dog-bone” shaped sound holes. I have no knowledge of Vega making any such changes.–PC]

Vega Rims

The early Vega Tubaphone rims were made of 7-ply maple. I have no data on rims of the earliest Pete Seeger models. But according to the 1960 catalog, the rim at that time was 5-ply. Between 1967 and 1968, the rim was changed again, to 10-ply.

Another key difference between the early Tubaphone banjos and the Pete Seeger model is that on the latter, the bracket shoe screws went through the bracket shoe band AND the rim, thus making the bracket shoe band merely decorative. (This was probably a cost-cutting move on Vega’s part, since the bracket shoe bands could then be thinner and thus less expensive to produce.)

The Vega Pete Seeger, Part 3 Posted by Pete Curry on 2/9/2002, 11:02 pm

Neck Finishes

In all the Vega catalogs I have, the standard finish on the Vega Pete Seeger model is described as “shaded mahogany.” Unfortunately, the back of these instruments were never shown in the catalogs, so I have no way of knowing if this is the same as what is described as a “sunburst” finish today. By the early 1960s, a “natural blonde maple finish” was also available as an option.

Note: The natural blonde maple finish was standard on the Vega Pete Seeger Xcel Custom model. According to the 1963 Vega catalog (in which this model debuted), the Pete Seeger Xcel was a “custom-built Seeger model with 5th string peg moved up between the 9th and 10th [sic.] frets.” (The 5th string peg on the Xcel was actually located between the 8th and 9th frets. This error was corrected in later catalogs.) According to the 1963 and later catalogs, the Xcel also featured “Rotomatic side machines” and a special geared 5th string peg.”

Tuners

From the earliest models onward, the standard tuners on the Vega Pete Seeger model banjo were of the “straight-through” variety with oval plastic knobs, which I believe were manufactured by the Elkinton Company (aka Elton). These precision-made, permanently sealed pegs with their distinctive off-set gear casing, tapered string posts and felt washers offered a smooth-operating 4:1 gear ratio. (The current Waverly V-2 pegs are a close equivalent.)

As an option, Vega offered chrome right-angle (or “guitar-style”) Grover Rotomatic tuners, which were standard on the Xcel Custom model. These tuners offered a 12:1 gear ratio but required the drilling of an additional hole in the back of the peghead for the guide screw. While the first mention of these tuners is in the 1963 Vega catalog, they were available earlier–either as a factory-installed option or separately, for customer change-out.

Note: It was common for banjo players in the 1950s and 1960s to experiment with different tuning machines. Dave Guard, for example, tried virtually every available type, as a review of all “Guard Era” Kingston Trio album covers will reveal. It has also been said that Vega would honor any tuner request if it meant the sale of another big-ticket Pete Seeger model!

The most common 5th string peg on the Vega Pete Seeger was of the so-called “friction” (non-geared) variety. This was either a “non-name” (probably made by Elkinton) peg with a white plastic button to match the pegs on the other four strings, or an all-metal peg carrying the Grover brand name. By 1968, a Kroll brand geared 5th string peg was available from the factory as an option.

Other Hardware

The standard tailpiece on the Vega Pete Seeger model was the “flip-top” Presto type. This tailpiece covered the string ends (saving many a sweater from pulls!) and made changing strings a relatively simple matter.

A small but interesting detail about the Vega Pete Seeger from at least 1960 on was the original armrest and the unique way it was mounted–via two thin, curved and slotted flanges that were mounted to four of the brackets. This armrest/flange arrangement gave the banjoist more latitude in positioning the armrest. It also contributed to this banjo’s distinctive appearance. (Unfortunately, armrests tarnish, wear and show “brassing” rather quickly And many Pete Seeger model owners replaced the stock armrest with a new one that was not designed to be mounted in this fashion. In the process, a lot of these original armrests and mounting flanges have been lost.)

Logo Inlays

On all Vega Pete Seeger model banjos (excluding those made by Martin), the Vega name was inlaid in the peghead in large capitol letters. There was a slight variation in these letters, however. On some instruments, the letters have “serifs” (little extensions or “feet,” as per the letterforms used on the U.S. one dollar bill), while on others they do not.

This type of variation (like the way Martin guitar pegheads “evolved” from square to rounded corners) is usually due to the over-use of a cutting form. However, this variation can be found in both early and late instruments, with no apparent rhyme or reason.

The Vega Pete Seeger, Part 4 Posted by Pete Curry on 2/9/2002, 11:10 pm

Dating Vega Pete Seegers

Fairly accurate and complete Vega dating information has been assembled by various persons over the years, which makes dating any Vega banjo an easy process. All that is required is an instrument’s serial number. The starting serial number for the Vega Pete Seeger model years are shown below:

YEAR STARTING SERIAL NUMBER
1957 99428
1958 99582
1959 99717
1960 100022
1961 100560
1962 101999
1963 10522*
1964 10130*
1965 125641
1966 126772
1967 127682
1968 128565
1970 129120
(C.F. Martin takeover in May, 1970)
1970 129683
1972 130049
New Series, M1 1972

*The so-called “printer’s error” years, with 5-digit serial numbers.

Original Vega Prices

The earliest information regarding Vega Pete Seeger prices that I have comes from a Vega Company price sheet dated March 1, 1958, where the Pete Seeger model (special order only) is listed at $295. By January 1962, the price was $340. In 1963, the price was $360. (a hardshell, plush lined case was another $60.) In 1967, the price was $385. And in 1968, the Vega Pete Seeger model was listed at $456. (All prices shown are list.)

Beyond Boston

In Mat of 1970, The Vega Company was purchased by the Martin Guitar Company of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Martin produced various banjo models under the Vega name, including a Vega Pete Seeger model. According to Mike Longworth at Martin, the company produced 101 of these instruments, whose name was later changed to the Vega Tu-Ba-Phone XL. (According to Longworth, the name switch occurred at Pete Seeger’s request, who “felt the instrument should stand on its own merits.”)

Like Vega before them, Martin also produced an economy long-neck model, called by both companies the “Folklore” model.

While the original Martin Vega Pete Seeger/No. 2 Tu-Ba-Phone XL instruments were of comparable (if not better) quality than those made by Vega of Boston, most enthusiasts believe that the quality of later instruments showed a decline, most notably in the way the tone ring was constructed. (See discussion of Vega rims above.)

Interestingly, while Martin used the same style block letter Vega name inlay style on some of its other instruments, the logo on the Martin Vega Pete Seeger/No. 2 Tu-Ba-Phone XL consisted of a capitol “V,” followed by a the lower case letters “e-g-a.”

In 1979, Martin sold the rights to the Vega name to a Korean firm called Galaxy Trading Corporation which, to my knowledge, did not produce any long-neck instruments
(a fair number of Galaxy/Vega resonator-back models are in circulation, however). More recently, the Deering Company of Lemon Grove, CA has acquired the Vega name and has been producing their version of the Vega Pete Seeger which they call the “Long Neck Vega.” This is a fairly close copy of the original Vega of Boston instruments (Tubaphone-style tone ring, Grover guitar-style tuners, bracket shoe band AND screws through the rim, etc.). But the rim is thicker, and the neck finish is different (walnut stained versus shaded mahogany or natural blonde maple).

And so it was a company that had been owned by one family–the Nelsons–for nearly 100 years faded into history. But for as long as quality open-back banjos are prized, the Vega name will represent the best of the best–with the late-coming Pete Seeger model among them.

Postscript

I always assumed that Vega was a fairly large company–at least as far as banjos were concerned. But recently I came across some of their banjo production figures which tell quite a different story. Here’s what these figures reveal:

In 1950, Vega produced 75 banjos total (all models). In 1954, they produced 77. In 1955, they produced 146. In 1956, sales jumped again, to 215, possibly due to the success of the album “The Weavers at Carnegie Hall” which came out in late 1955 and opened with Pete’s Seeger’s great 5-string banjo introduction to “Darlin’ Corey,” which prompted many early folk revival artists to take up that instrument.

For 1957, Vega banjo sales were 154; for 1958, 135. In 1959, however, sales more than doubled, to 305, possibly due to the introduction of the Pete Seeger model in 1958. For 1960, sales were 538, probably due to the continued success of the Pete Seeger model and the fact that the Kingston Trio, the most popular recording group in America at the time, were by then featuring Vega banjos prominently on their album covers, starting with “At Large” which came out in June of 1959.

For 1961, Vega’s annual banjo sales were an amazing 1439 instruments–no doubt due to the fact that the “Folk Era” was in full swing by then and everybody who was anybody was playing a Vega banjo. The Vega Company also introduced the Earl Scruggs model in 1961, which enjoyed some popularity not only in bluegrass circles but also on the folk scene (eg. with Dick Weissman who is shown playing one on the first Journeymen LP).

In 1965, with the rise in popularity of bluegrass and with it a growing demand for resonator-back 5-string banjos (a style which Vega never had much success with), Vega banjo sales declined to 1081; in 1966, to 960; in 1967, to 883; in 1968, to 555; in 1969, up slightly to 563; but in 1970, sales were down to 366. In May of that year, the company was sold to The C.F. Martin Organization.

So how did they stay afloat during the early to mid-1950s? A look at their company price sheet for 1958 tells part of the story: To supplement their slow by steady banjo business, the company also sold Electric Spanish Guitars, Cutaway Electric Guitars, Carved Guitars, Solid Body Electric Guitars, Flat Top Guitars, Electric Flat Top Guitars, Electric Hawaiian Guitars, Amplifiers, and Baritone Ukuleles (anyone remember the Vega Arthur Godfrey model?). So when we hear stories of customers such as Pete Seeger and Erik Darling stopping by the Vega office and being greeted by the president–who was always more than happy to put a banjo together for them–we now have a better understanding of the size of the company they were dealing with.

References:
Vega Price List, 1958
Vega catalogs­1915, 1923, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967, 1968
Martin/Vega catalogs-1972, 1976
Deering/Vega catalog, 1994
Letter from Mike Longworth to author, Sept. 8, 1986
Article, “Vega/Fairbanks Banjos,” by Jim Bollman, Dick Kimmel and Doug Unger, “Pickin’ Magazine,” June 1978
Author’s (small but growing) Vega banjo collection

The Vega Pete Seeger–Addenda

Posted by Pete Curry on 2/10/2002, 6:38 pm , in reply to “The Vega Pete Seeger, Part 4

Please add the following to the Vega Pete Seeger article series:

1) According to an e-mail message from Walter Scott that I overlooked when writing this article, Peggy Seeger’s long-neck banjo utilized a Tubaphone “De Luxe” model pot. Per the 1923 Vega calalog, the bottom edge of the rim on this model was “inlaid with heavy mother of pearl…”. Otherwise it was the same as a standard Tubaphone. Also per Walter, the serial number on her instrument was 99181 which, according to the serial number lists I have, was made in 1955.

2) According to Wyatt Fawley (who has probably seem more disassembled Vega banjos than anyone else on the planet), the Vega catalog I quoted from was in error in one detail regarding the construction of the Tubaphone tone ring assembly. Says Fawley: “Vega’s tone ring sheath was nickel plated brass rather than German silver. The early Electrics were German silver, but beginning with the Whyte Laydie, all of the half spun rings were sheathed in brass and nickel plated.”

3) And one detail I forgot to mention: the original Tubaphones (and other early Vega models) featured closed end bracket nuts. The bracket nuts on the Vega Pete Seeger model were of the open end variety.

Dave Guard

b. October 19, 1934 / Honolulu, HI
d. March 22, 1991 / Rollingsford, NH

Member: 1957-1961

Dave Guard Articles & Biographys:

 
10. Obituary of Dave Guard from the New York Times, March, 1991.
9. Transcript of a radio interview with Dave Guard from 1987.
8. The Kingston Trio – Together Again?” — An article from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 25. 1976.
7. Swinging Folkies Meet At Dave’s Place” — An article from TV Times magazine (Australia) of September 39, 1965.
6. Tom Dooley Picks Up His Guitar Again” — An article from Everybody’s magazine (Australia) of June 30, 1965.
5. See Dave Guard’s family home, Whale Beach, Australia.
4. Musician is in Australia As a tourist” — An Australian (Brisbane Telegraph) news clipping from 1962.
3. Before acquiring his trademark Vega long-neck banjo, Dave Guard played a Stewart banjo.
2. Dave Guard Bio from the liner notes of the “Guard Years” CD collection from Bear Family Records.
1. A biography from THE KINGSTON TRIO souvenier book (program, c. 1960.)
Songs written by Dave Guard: Song Title
1. All My Sorrows (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
2. Banua (Traditional (Arr by Dave Guard))
3. Bay Of Mexico (Traditional (Arr by Dave & Gretchen Guard))
4. Blow Ye Winds
5. Bonnie Hielan’ Laddie (with Joe Hickerson)
6. Buddy Better Get On Down The Line (with Jane Bowers)
7. Bye Bye Thou Little Tiny Child
8. Coast of California (with Jane Bowers)
9. Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies (with Gretchen Guard)
10. Coplas (Traditional (Arr by Dave Guard))
11. Corey Corey (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
12. Coventry Carol (Bye Bye Thou Little Tiny Child)
13. Dodi Li (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
14. Don’t Weep Mary (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
15. Dorie’ (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
16. Farewell Adelita (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
17. Getaway John *
18. Go Where I Send Thee (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
19. Goober Peas
20. Gue’ Gue (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
21. Haul Away
22. The Hunter (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
23. Little Maggie
24. Oh, Cindy (with Bob ShaneNick Reynolds & Frank Werber)
25. Oh, Yes, Oh (with Gretchen Guard)
26. Pay Me Money Down
27. Sail Away Ladies
28. Scotch and Soda
29. Senora (with Jane Bowers)
30. Sing We Noel
31. Santy Anno
32. Somerset Glouchestershire Wasail (with Erich Schwandt)
33. Three Jolly Coachmen
34. When I Was Young (with Jane Bowers)
35. When The Saints Go Marching In (Traditional, Arr. by Dave Guard)
36. With You My Johnny (with Bob Shane & Nick Reynolds)
37. You’re Gonna Miss Me (with Mike SeegerTom Paley & John Cohen)
38. You Don’t Knock
39. A Worried Man (with Tom Glazer)

Jane Bowers

b. May 29, 1921 / Unknown
d. June 18, 2000 / San Antonio, TX

Songwriter

Jane Bowers Interview

Posted to the Kingston Crossroads board by Phil C on 6/20/2002, 11:38 am

During a period between 1973 and 1975 Richard Johnston [Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee] interviewed all 4 Trio members and many more people with connections to the Trio. A short, but very interesting interview was with Jane Bowers.

She seemed quite bitter about the music industry and didn’t recall her dealings with Dave Guard very fondly. Prior to her association with DG she must have had some bad experiences regarding song authorship and royalties. She suspected Guard of trying to claim authorship of her songs, even suggesting that he wanted her to write songs directly to the public domain so he could put his name on them.

Bowers was a life-long Texan, possibly of Mexican heritage (Bowers was her married name). She recalled that Guard had written a spoof version of San Miguel and sang it to her. In the song he referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks” which offended her.

Of the Trio she said: “and as for the Trio, I think they had much more potential and just didn’t ‘flower'”.


June 21, 2000

BOWERS

BOWERS Jane Gardner Riley Bowers, born May 29, 1921, died Sunday, June 18, 2000. Preceded in death by her parents, Ethel Murphy Tobin and Lowell Meeker Riley. She was the niece of famed aerial surveys pioneer and World War 1 Ace, Edgar Gardner Tobin. Mrs. Bowers was an internationally recognized songwriter. Many of her songs were recorded by The Kingston Trio. She was honored by Johnny Cash on his HBO Special for her song, “Remember the Alamo”. “Seņora”, “El Matador”, “The Coast of California” and thirty-five other songs are still being played and re-recorded in the United States and Europe.

Due to posting of information on the internet, Mrs. Bowers has enjoyed a lively correspondence with music fans from around the world. For the past year she had been living at the Retirement Center at Incarnate Word.

Many thanks to the wonderful nursing staff at Incarnate Word. Thank you also to Sister Agnes Maloney, Sister Margaret Nugent and dear friends Sister Louise Mair, Sister Tarcisius Flaherty and Sister Mary Benizi Walsh; “Tiptop”. Mrs. Bowers is survived by her sister, Ann Tobin Rowland of San Antonio, niece, Ann Tobin Maessen, great-nephew, Julio Maessen and great-niece, Josephine Tobin Maessen and many cousins and dear friends.

SERVICE THURSDAY – 2:00 P.M. ST. MARKS EPISCOPAL CHURCH The Rev. Michael Chalk officiating. Pallbearers, E.C. Parker, III, William C. Clegg, Jr, Geoffrey J. Buckley, Wilson Parrish, Paul Pardo, Chris McDaniel and William Keedy. Interment will be private. Arrangements with Porter Loring Mortuary.

— San Antonio Express-News, June 21, 2000


Songs Credited to
Jane Bowers
Song Title
1. Buddy Better Get On Down The Line (with Dave Guard) (BMI)
2. Christmas Armadillo (BMI)
3. Christmas On The Chisalm Trail (BMI)
4. Chug A Lug (BMI)
5. Coast of California (with Dave Guard) (BMI)
6. Cotton Went Huntin’ (BMI)
7. Crispin’ Day (BMI)
8. Denton Mare (BMI)
9. Drink to the Corps (BMI)
10. Drink to the Greeks (BMI)
11. El Matador (with Irving Burgess) (BMI)
12. Fort Worth Man (BMI)
13. Giant Land (BMI)
14. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus (BMI)
15. Home to Bandera (BMI)
16. Leave My Heart (BMI)
17. Little Baby King Was Born, A (BMI)
18. Lullaby at Midnight (BMI)
19. Remember The Alamo (BMI)
20. St. Cyr (BMI)
21. Saint Francis Prayer (BMI)
22. San Miguel (BMI)
23. Sea Fever
24. Seņora (with Dave Guard) (BMI)
25. Seven Hundred Head (BMI)
26. Lullaby at Midnight (BMI)
27. Speckled Roan (BMI)
28. Tell Her For Me (BMI)
29. Thought I Heard Your Voice (BMI)
30. To Be Redeemed (BMI)
31. Torch Has Passed (BMI)
32. Trimming the Tree at the . . . (BMI)
33. Val Verde Blues (BMI)
34. When I Was Young (with Dave Guard)
35. When I Was Young (with Dave Guard) (BMI)

The Kingston Trio time line 1957- September 15, 1961

1957 
Sunday February 10, 1957:POINT OF INTEREST: Bob Shane and Dave Guard Guard perform Goodnight Irene for High School Carnival.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
RECORDING SESSION: Run Joe (Dave Guard and the Calypsonians) (Composer Unknown) 2:42
Taken from acetate mono demo recorded approximately February 10, 1957
Previously unreleased
The Kingston Trio of Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane did not suddenly hatch on the doorstep of the Capitol Tower in 1958. The three participated in various musical aggregations in their California college scene, including one called ” Dave Guard and the Calypsonians.” In early 1957, Bob was in Hawaii for a gig (that reportedly included Elvis impressions) when the quartet (Dave, Nick, Barbara Bogue and Joe Gannon) recorded eight tunes for some demonstration discs. “Run Joe,” as the high end distortions bear out, is taken directly from one of those surviving acetates, and it accurately showcases the group’s sound at that time.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Fast Freight (Composer: Terry Gilkyson) 5:12
Taken from acetate mono demo recorded approximately February 10, 1957
Previously unreleased
Dave borrowed the arrangement for Fast Freight” from the song-bag of “The Easy Riders,” a group much admired by he and his cohorts.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
March 2, 1957:POINT OF INTEREST: Bob Shane returns from Honolulu per Joe Gannon’s request.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
May 1, 1957:POINT OF INTEREST: Enter Bob Shane; exit Joe Gannon and Barbara Bogue
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Sunday June 16, 1957POINT OF INTEREST: Dave Guard (vocals, 6-string guitar, 12-string guitar and 5-string banjo), Nick Reynolds (vocals, tenor (4-string) guitar, bongos and conga) and Bob Shane (vocals, 6-string guitar and tenor banjo) join forces to form the Kingston Trio in Palo Alto California.
SOURCE: Concert Program (Concord (CA) Pavilion – 9/7/1979.)
Saturday June 25 &
Sunday June 26, (Memorial Day weekend) 1957
PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Phyllis Diller backs out of an engagement at San Francisco’s Purple Onion and is replace by The Kingston Trio.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio Collectors Edition” (Capitol-CDP 7 927102)
Thursday July 4, 1957POINT OF INTEREST: The Kingston Trio signs to perform for one week at San Francisco’s Purple Onion; a booking that ultimately lasts seven months.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio Collectors Edition” (Capitol-CDP 7 927102)
Winter of 1957 until the Summer of 1958POINT OF INTEREST: First road trip away from home takes the boys East, working to strange new audiences in concert halls across the country and at some of the nation’s best night clubs – places like New York’s Blue Angel and Village Vanguard and Chicago’s Mr. Kelly’s.
SOURCE: Concert Program, “An Evening with The Kingston Trio” (circa 1964/65.)

1958 
February, 1958:POINT OF INTEREST: Buck Wheat hired
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Wednesday February 5, 1958RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine Dt., Hollywood, CA: Hard, Ain’t it Hard, Three Jolly Coachmen, Scotch and Soda, Tom Dooley, Tom Dooley (with German intro), Sloop John B’, and Coplas; 1958
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 84, Bear Family / Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Tom Dooley
Master #18490 (mono) recorded February 5, 1958
(Adopted by Frank Warner, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax) , 3:01
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO / Single 4049
The Trio first heard the song on the afternoon of August 20, 1957, at a talent audition at the Purple Onion. Their final arrangement featured Nick Reynolds’ now famous spoken intro (“Throughout history . . . “) and Bob Shane’s memorable lead vocal and it was one of the few songs the group did with Bob on banjo.
It was recorded for their first album, THE KINGSTON TRIO, and it might have remained there if a Salt Lake record store owner hadn’t seen the group perform in San Francisco and been impressed enough to cart a few copies home to sell. One was picked up by a local disk jockey who was taken enough with “Tom Dooley” to plat it on the air. Listener requests were overwhelming and more stations throughout the United States began programming the track.
It was actually the Trio’s second 45 (check out the first – “Scarlet Ribbons” – on the groups excellent CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES compact disc release), and it would remain charted for five months, hitting the #1 spot during one week, earning the group its only gold single (selling over six million copies worldwide) and its first two Grammy nominations. (It lost in the “Vocal Group” category but won for “Best Country and Western Vocal.”)
What “Tom Dooley” did cannot be minimized. Only “Heartbreak Hotel” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” can legitimately claim to have a greater impact on the direction of American Popular Music since World War II. Just about every person who ever made a living with an acoustic guitar owes a debt to the Kingston Trio’s recording of “Tom Dooley.”
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Sloop John B
Master #18439 (mono) recorded February 5, 1958
(Lee Hays and Carl Sandburg) 3:30
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO
Few lines of musical influence are as easily traced as those provided by “Sloop John B.” The Kingston Trio’s haunting low key version from their first album was handed down to them by their mentors, The Weavers; and the Trio then handed it down (along with their emblematic striped shirts) to the Beach Boys, who took a rocking rendition to #3 in 1966. Note Nick’s subdued percussion on this Kingston classic.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Thursday February 6 , 1958RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: Santy Anno, Fast Freight, Bay of Mexico, Banua, Saro Jane and Wimoweh; 1958
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 84, Bear Family RecordsRECORDING SESSION : Album number one – “The Kingston trio” – was recorded at Capitol’s Studio B in Los Angeles, CA. (February 6 & 7, 1958)
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry “I”” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2) and Liner notes “The Kingston Trio Collectors Edition” (Capitol-CDP 7 927102)
Thursday February 6 &
Friday February 7, 1958
RECORDING SESSION : Album number one – “The Kingston trio” – was recorded at Capitol’s Studio B in Los Angeles, CA.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry “I”” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2) and Liner notes “The Kingston Trio Collectors Edition” (Capitol-CDP 7 927102)
Friday February 7, 1958RECORDING SESSION : Dodi Li (Guard / Reynolds / Shane) 5:12
Master #18403 (mono) recorded February 7, 1958
Previously unreleased
The Kingston Trio had eleven strong songs on tape in the course of two days recording for their first album On the third day they immediately cut the twelfth (“Little Maggie”) and then found themselves with some leftover studio time The result was “Dodi Li” This is as spirited a tune as the Trio ever had laid down and a translated version (with less emphasis on hand claps) retitled “Dorie: appeared on their second album FROM THE HUNGRY I
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION :Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine Dt., Hollywood, CA: Little Maggie and Dodi Lii and Medley: Tanga Tika/Toereau.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 84, Bear Family Records & Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
March 4, 1958RECORDING SESSION: John Wolf Studio, San Francisco, CA: Sally Don’t You Grieve and Blue Tattoo.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 84, Bear Family Records & Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
April, 1958:POINT OF INTEREST: Bob Shane meets Mary Travers; Reynolds meets Joan Harris, who has just left her husband, Pat Paulson
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
April 4, 1958RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: “Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)” and “When the Saints go Marching in.”
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 84, Bear Family Records
Thursday May 1, 1958TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio make their TV debut on the CBS dramatic program “Playhouse 90” appearing in “Rumors of Evening,” playing world War II pilots, and introduce the song “Scarlet Ribbons.”
SOURCE: The Kingston trio, Their Greatest and Finest Performances (Readers Digest 093C), The Kingston Trio: The Capitol Collectors Series (CDP 7 927102).
June 1, 1958DATE OF BIRTH: A girl, their first child, is born to Dave and Gretchen Guard.
SOURCE: “When Rock Was Young”, 1981 by Bruce Pollock, Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 383 Madison Ave., New York, NY
June 6, 1958:POINT OF INTEREST: Note from Werber to Shane: “Quit partying after hours – stop being a corny ham; don’t be a clown – I’m tired of babying your feelings”.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Thursday June 19, 1958POINT OF INTEREST: Disc Jockeys Bill Terry and Paul Colburn at radio station KLUB in Salt Lake City, UT, begin giving one of the tracks on their first album, Tom Dooley, air-play.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry ‘I'” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2)
July 1958POINT OF INTEREST: Bill Terry and Paul Colburn of KLUB radio in Salt Lake City “break out” the song “Tom Dooley” from the Kingston Trio’s first album – “The Kingston Trio.” By October it had entered the Billboard Top 10 Singles Chart – where it stayed until January of 1959, eventually selling more than 3,000,000 copies.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
August 1958POINT OF INTEREST: David “Buck” Wheat is hired to play base with The Kingston Trio.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio Collectors Edition” (Capitol-CDP 7 927102)
Friday August 15, 1958RECORDING SESSION: (Live performance at San Francisco’s Hungry i.):
New York Girls, They Call the Wind Maria, Shady Grove/Lonesome Traveler, et al
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
August 16, 1958RECORDING SESSION: New York Girls (Burl Ives) 2:33
Master #30206 (mono) recorded August 16, 1958
Album: FROM THE HUNGRY I
Another major influence on the Kingston Trio was folk balladeer Burl Ives, who ironically became a Country-Pop hit maker once the Folk Boom bloomed and then abandoned all that for a successful acting career. This lively sea chanty “New York Girls” was recorded by the Trio for their FROM THE HUNGRY I album and that robust rendition is included here.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: They Call The Wind Maria (Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner) 4:32
Master #30207 (mono) recorded August 16, 1958
Album: FROM THE HUNGRY I
“They Call The Wind Maria”, from the Broadway musical “Paint Your Wagon,” was a show stopper in the Trio’s repertoire from almost the beginning, and if remains an all-time favorite with the group’s many fans. Bob’s lead vocal is one of his most electrifying, and Nick’s tempo changing work on bon ~os is fIrst rafe on this prime FROM THE HUNGRY I cut
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Shady Grove / Lonesome Traveler (adapted by Jean Ritchie / Lee Hays) 3:14
Master #30209 (mono) recorded August 16, 1958
Album: FROM THE HUNGRY I
A tempo change is also one of he highlights of another FROM THE HUNGRY I selection, “Shady Grovel Lonesome Traveler.” One of the few medleys ever recorded by the Trio, it features a humorous introduction by Bob and a fine performance by Dave on lead vocal “Lonesome Traveler” is especially exhilarating.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Monday September 22, 1958POINT OF INTEREST: Nick Reynolds and Joan Harris are married in San Francisco, CA. ( Dave Guard is NOT invited (SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002))
October 6, 1958AWARD / RECOGNITION: The Kingston Trio’s single release of “Tom Dooley” entered the Top 40 chart.
SOURCE: D.T.’s
October 14, 1958:POINT OF INTEREST: Dave Guard buys 5-string Pete Seeger from Vega for $225.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Fall 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: While The Kingston Trio is appearing at the royal Hawaiian in Honolulu, HI, Disc Jockeys Bill Terry and Paul Colburn at radio station KLUB in Salt Lake City, UT, begin giving one of the tracks on their first album a lot of air play – the exposure is infectious.
Monday November 24, to
Sunday December 14, 1958
PERSONAL APPEARANCE: La Fiesta, Juarez, Mexico
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
November 19, 1958TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the NBC program “The Milton Berle Kraft Music Hall” (9:00-9:30 pm)
SOURCE: Jean Wards personal archive.
December 7, 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio continues at La Fiesta, Juarez, Mexico
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
Sunday December 14, 1958RECORDING SESSION: Bay Of Mexico (adapted by Dave Guard) 3:34
Master #18398A added to the Capitol archives December 14, 1958
Previously unreleased by Capitol
Listening to it now, it’s hard to imagine why “Bay of Mexico” was omitted from STEREO CONCERT’s lineup. The live stereo adds a dimension that makes this a cut above the earlier studio version from the Trio’s first album.
The Weavers’ Pete Seeger gave Dave a few pointers regarding the songs arrangement.
The Trio traditionally worked with one microphone in concert, so they were pretty much oblivious to the additional pair hung from overhead to capture the recording in stereo. This accounts for the drastic drop in volume during the group’s patter (spoken intimately into the house mike) as well as the occasionally far-off quality of Nick’s vocals.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Across The Wide Missouri (Jimmy Shirl and Ervin M. Drake) 3:54
Master #31705A added to the Capitol archives December 14, 1958
Previously unreleased
Perhaps the most unusual item that didn’t appear or STEREO CONCERT is this Dave Guard solo rendition of “Across The Wide Missouri.” If you are familiar with the great harmonies of the studio version that later appeared on HERE WE GO AGAIN this one will provide a change of pace. The Trio was still calling the tune “Shenandoah” at this point.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Scotch And Soda (Dave Guard) 2:15
Master #18389A added to the Capitol archives December 14, 1958
Previously unreleased
Now considered the ultimate saloon song, “Scotch And Soda” was already an oldie when Dave and Bob first heard it In 1953. They were on a pre-Trio double date and Dave’s dates parents {whose most famous offspring became baseball great Tom Seaver) played them a memorable song they’d heard at a hotel piano lounge on their honeymoon. When the time came to record the Trio’s first album, Dave worked up an
arrangement for Bob’s solo. After nearly five years of pleas from DJs, Capitol released “Scotch and Soda” as a single In 1962. The version Included here is the earliest known live recording of the song, another previously unreleased selection from the STEREO CONCERT tapes. Today “Scotch And Soda” is still Bob’s favorite Trio tune and the identity of the original composer still remains a mystery.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Pay Me My Money Down (adapted by Dave Guard) 2:26
Master #unknown added to the Capitol archives December 14, 1958
Previously unreleased by Capitol
It’s not known at what point the Trio stopped performing “Pay Me My Money Down,” but there is no known studio version of the song and Capitol has waited until now to release this infectious live treatment. You may recognize this interchangeable Folk melody, as it was used to Top Ten effect by both Eddie Fisher and Vince Martin (with the Tarriers) on “Cindy, Oh Cindy” In 1 956.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Monday December 15, 1958MAGAZINE FEATURE: The Kingston Trio’s first LIFE magazine article “Hanged Man In Hit Tune” hits the news stands.PERSONAL APPEARANCE / RECORDING SESSION: Liberty Hall, El Paso, TX (Selections from this performance are later released on their third album, “Stereo Concert.” – ST 1183) Little Maggie, Across The Wide Missouri, Scotch and Soda, Bay of Mexico, Pay Me Money Down, et al
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
Tuesday December 16, 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Lubbock, TX
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
Wednesday December 17, 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Tucson, AZ
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
Thursday December 18, 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Auston, TX
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records
Saturday December 27, 1958PERSONAL APPEARANCE: the Palladium, Los Angeles, CA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records

1959 
January, 1959MAGAZINE FEATURE: Cover and feature article in MUSIC VIEWS magazine.
January 5, 1959RECORD RELEASE: The Trio’s second album, “The Kingston Trio From the Hungry “I”” is released.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
January 10, 1959TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the NBC program “The Perry Como Show” (8:00 – 9:00 pm); schedualed, is the presentation of the “Gold” record for “Tom Dooley” (from the album The Kingston Trio.)
SOURCE: Jean Wards personal archive and The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records .
Wednesday January 21, 1959RECOGNITION / AWARD: “Tom Dooley” (Single) from the album “The Kingston Trio” is certified GOLD by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)
SOURCE: http://www.riaa.com & Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry “I”” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2)
February 3, 1959TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the CBS program “The Gary Moore Show” (10:00 -11:00 pm)
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
Monday February 16, 1959RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Recording Studios, 46th Street, New York City: “Blow Ye Winds,” “M.T.A.,” “Getaway John,” and “Remember the Alamo.”; 1959
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records & Liner notes.RECORDING SESSION: M.T.A. (Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Hawes) 3:13
Master #22563 recorded February 16, 1959
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO AT LARGE
“M.T.A. is undoubtedly Nick Reynolds’ most famous lead vocal, and it ranks second only to “Tom Dooley” as the Trio’s hallmark. The group first heard the song from Will Holt (writer of modern Folk classics like “Lemon Tree”) and It earned them eleven weeks on the singles charts. Considering how popular the record was (and still is). It is more than a little surprising that it only aspired to the #15 position. This novelty song was originally created to protest a Boston Subway fare increase that happened to coincide with a mayoral election. The writers put their words to the tune of the Folk standard “The Wreck Of Old 97,” which goes to show how the same melody can be used to conjure up drastically different moods.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Remember The Alamo (Jane Bowers) 2:59
Master #22609 recorded February 16, 1959
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO AT LARGE
Few Trio songs reach the dramatic heights of “Remember The Alamo” the powerhouse closing cut from AT LARGE Disney’s “Davy Crockett” mania was still sweeping the land in 1959, and with it a keen resurgence of inter-est in the 120-year-old battle of the Alamo. Texan Jane Bowers debuted as a songwriter for the Trio with this gem, which would be covered twenty-five years later by Johnny Cash
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Tuesday February 17, 1959RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Recording Studios, 46th Street, New York City: “I Bawled,” “Corey, Corey,” “All My Sorrows,” “The Long Black Rifle,” and “The Seine.”
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records & Liner notes.RECORDING SESSION: All My Sorrows (Guard / Reynolds / Shane) 2:45
Master #22601 recorded February 17, 1959
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO AT LARGE
Just about everybody’s favorite B side from the Dave/Nick/Bob era is “All My Sorrows” which has the dual distinction of being one of the best cuts from a great album (AT LARGE) and the flip side of a great single (“MTA.) The Trio borrowed this song from the pre Limeliters repertoire of Glenn Yarborough and turned it into one of the most movingly understated moments that the band ever put on tape. Not long after Dave Guard was claimed by cancer, Lindsey Buckingham did a cover version of “All My Sorrows” for his 1992 album OUT OF THE CRADLE. Acknowledged as one of the geniuses of modern Rock, the former Fleetwood Mac member learned many a guitar lick from Kingston Trio records, and he considered Dave a good friend, as well as a mentor. Said Lindsey “I thought that would just be something nice for him.”
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Wednesday February 18, 1959RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Recording Studios, 46th Street, New York City: “Early In the Mornin,” “The Tijuanna Jail,” “Good News,” “Scarlet Ribbons (For Your Hair),” and “Oh Cindy.”
NOTE: “The Tijuana Jail”, recorded in stereo, as part of the above sessions that produced their forth album (second studio album) “The Kingston Trio At Large” becomes The Kingston Trio’s third single release
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 88, Bear Family Records & Liner notes.RECORDING SESSION: Tijuana Jail (Denny Thompson) 2:48
Master #33597 recorded February 18, 1959
Album: THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO
The first released stereo studio recording by the Kingston Trio was “Tijuana Jail”. One of Voyle Gilmore’s finds, this novelty tune was recorded In New York City and rushed out as a single apparently because of a rumor that Harry Belafonte was about to do the same. The song (which would probably be banned today because of its no-longer in vogue “Frito Bandito” humor) re-established the group as hit-makers, as it reached #12 and charted for three months “Tijuana Jail” was recorded at the I same session that produced the Trio’s second studio album, THE KINGSTON TRIO AT LARGE
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Good News (Louis Gottlieb) 1:58
Master #22598 recorded February 18, 1959
Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO AT LARGE
Besides being a great group performance, “Good News” is especially significant in that it is the Trio’s first real attempt at recording a spiritual. The boys got this one from Lou Gottlieb, who at the time was between leaving the Gateway Singers and forming the Limeliters. It’s from AT LARGE, an album which won the Trio its second Grammy and spent fifteen weeks at #1.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
March 03, 1959:POINT OF INTEREST: Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds drive to the Tom Dooley
gravesite and steal the marker which is sent COD to Frank Werber.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Friday March 13, 1959POINT OF INTEREST: A rented Twin Beach airplane, carrying the Kingston Trio on the mid-west leg of their national tour, crash-lands on a turky farm in South Bend Indiana; 1959
SOURCE: “When Rock Was Young”, 1981 by Bruce Pollock, Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 383 Madison Ave., New York, NY
Sunday March 15, 1959POINT OF INTEREST: Bob Shane marries Louise Brandon in Washington DC
Monday March 16, 1959RECORD RELEASE (album): The Kingston Trio’s third album – “Stereo Concert” (ST-1183) – was released. This album is likely the only stereo album of the 50’s and 60’s not made available as a monaural release
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORD RELEASE (single): The Tijuana Jail / Oh, Cindy (Capitol 4167.) This recording eventually reached the #12 position on the charts.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
March 17, 1959:POINT OF INTEREST: Grinnel College banners prior to concert: “Down with Phony Folksingers”
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Wednesday March 18, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Pershing Municipal Auditorium, Lincoln, NB. (Sponsored by the University of Nebraska Union Activities Committee)
SOURCE: ebay offering (see poster image.).
Tuesday March 24, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Men’s Gymnasium, University of California, Berkeley, CA
SOURCE: Copy of UC Berkeley student newspaper, the Daily Californian, offered on Ebay.
Caption: The Kingston Trio will appear in “Night On The Town” at 7:30 pm today in the Men’s Gymnasium. They are, left to right, Bob Shane, Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds. The Capitol recording stars rose to prominence in San Francisco night clubs. Also appearing will be the Vince Guaraldi Trio and Dick McKibben’s Quartet.
April 9, 1959:POINT OF INTEREST: TheTrio is carted out to Tom Dooley’s graveite to see new gravestone.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Tuesday April 21, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records.
Sunday May 10, 1959RECOGNITION / AWARD: The Kingston Trio earn their first Grammy for “Best Country and Western Performance of 1958”
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry “I”” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2)
Tuesday May 26, 1959:RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: “Sail Away Ladies,” “Goober Peas,” “Haul Away,” and “Across the Wide Missouri“; 1959
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 90, Bear Family Records
NOTE: Sail Away Ladies was intended for album #5 (“Here We Go Again“) but was shelved in favor other material; 1959
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Sail Away Ladies (Guard / Reynolds / Shane) 2:28
Master #31747 recorded May 26, 1959
Extended play single: M.T.A. (EAP1-1119)
Oddly enough, the first track recorded at the sessions for HERE WE GO AGAIN never found a home on that album. “Sail Away, Ladies” was released on EP and then pretty much forgotten Dave recalled it was “about 75 percent completed when we put It aside, hoping to do it full justice at some future session” Dave also indicated this arrangement was heavily influenced by an earlier version by Odetta
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Wednesday May 27, 1959:RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: “‘Round About the Mountain,” “The Unfortunite Miss Bailey,” and “A Worried Man
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 90, Bear Family RecordsRECORDING SESSION: The Unfortunate Miss Bailey (Louis Gottlieb) 3:58
Master #31756 recorded May 27, 1959
Previously unreleased
Here’s a fascinating, previously unreleased alternate tale of HERE WE GO AGAIN’s “The Unfortunate Miss Bailey,” preceded by some wonderful pre-take chatter. As you will hear, the slower pace gives a slightly different slant to the song’s flavor.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
June 1959:POINT OF INTEREST: Dave Guard suffers from a virus – Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds play 3 nights as “Kingston Duet”
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Monday June 1, 1959:RECORD RELEASE: The Trio’s forth album, “At Large” is released.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: A Worried Man (Dave Guard and Tom Glazer) 2:51
Master #31764 recorded June 1, 1959
Single 4371
Both Dave and Bob played banjo on “A Worried Man,” the Trio’s follow-up to M.T.A. It was derived by Dave Guard and Tom Glazer from the traditional “Worried Man Blues” (if Glazer’s name sounds familiar it’s probably because he’s to blame for the 1963 Top Twenty Hit “On Top of Spaghetti,” also derived from a traditional song [“On Top of Old Smokey”] and now considered a children’s classic). “A Worried Man” is HERE WE GO AGAIN’s Closing track.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Tuesday June 2, 1959“Molly Dee,” the first commercial songwriting success for John Stewart, is recorded on this date, and becomes the lead-off song for album #5 – “Here We Go Again.”RECORDING SESSION: Molly Dee (John Stewart) 1:43
Master #31771 recorded June 2, 1959
Album: HERE WE GO AGAIN
The initial cut from the Trio’s fifth album, HERE WE GO AGAIN’s “Molly Dee,” a line from which gave rise to the album’s title. The song marked the first writing success for California college stu-dent John Stewart. When the first royalty check from “Molly Dee” arrived, and It was larger than what his father made in a year as a horse trainer, John made up his mind as to how he Intended to spend the rest of his life.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Thursday July 30, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Berkshire Music Barn, Lenox, Massachusetts
SOURCE: Copy of theater program, offered on Ebay.
Monday August 3, 1959POINT OF INTEREST: Life Magazine Cover and feature article.
Friday September 18, 1959TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the TV program “America Pauses In America.”
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA; Friday, 8:30 pm.
SOURCE: post by Jean Ward to the Kingston Trio Place Forum, July 1, 1999 / Program offered on ebay on-line auction: “STEREO AT THE BOWL – SEPTEMBER 18, 1959 – KINGSTON TRIO, RAY CONNIFF, ANDRE PREVIN . . . This 53 page program is from the 1st annual “stereo at the (hollywood) bowl” series… Lots of cool ads for stereo equipment too… Program for the evening was Andre Previn Trio, Kingston Trio and Ray Conniff . . . “
Monday September 28, 1959Recording Session: “Green Grasses” is recorded
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Friday October 2, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: S.M.U., Dallas, TX.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday October 3 &
Sunday October 4, 1959
PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of Texas, Austin, TX
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Record
Monday October 5, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday October 6, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Oklahoma State, Stillwater, OK.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Friday October 9, 1959TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the NBC TV program “The Bell Telephone Hour” (8:30 – 9:30 pm)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records / Jean Ward’s personal archive.
Friday October 9, 1959:POINT OF INTEREST: Green Grasses/Coo Coo U #61 on Cash Box.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
Saturday October 10, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of Indiana, Bloomington, IA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday October 11, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Masonic Auditorium, Detroit, MI
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday October 13, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Northwestern, Evanston, IL
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Wednesday October 14, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Civic Center, Lansing, MI
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Thursday October 15, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Friday October 16, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Grove City College, Grove City, PA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 17, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday, October 18, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, October 20, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Massey Hall, Toronro, Onterio, Canada
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Wednesday, October 21, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Capitol Theater, Ottawa, Onterio, Canada
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Thursday, October 22, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Rchester, NY
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Friday, October 23, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Prinston, NJ
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 24, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of Maryland, College Park, MD
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, October 27, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Greensboro, NC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Wednesday, October 28, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Converse College, Spartansburg, SC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Thursday, October 29, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Wake Forrest College, Winston-Salem, NC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Friday, October 30, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of North Carolins, Chapel Hill, NC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 31, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Georgia Tech., Atlanta, GA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 1, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Reynolds Auditorium, Raleigh, NC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Monday, November 3, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Collisium, Montgomery, AL
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 4, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Newcomb College

SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 5, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass.

SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 6, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Tulanne University

SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 7, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: M.I.T., Cambridge, Mass.

SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 8, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: New York Armory, Syracuse, New York

SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Monday, November 9, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: New Haven Armory, New Haven, Conn.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, November 10, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Montclair State Teachers College, Montclair, New Hampshire.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Thursday, November 12, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Springfield Municiple Auditorium,
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Friday, November 13, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Academy of Music, Philademphia, PA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 14, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University Auditorium, University of Conneticut
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 15, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Wesleyan College, Middleton, CN
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Monday, November 16, Tuesday November 17, & Wednesday November 18, 1959PERSONAL APPEARANCE: International Music Fair, Navy Pier, Chicago, Il
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Thursday, November 19, 1959
(Two Weeks)
PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Chase Hotel, St. Louis, MO
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
November 29, 1959TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the TV broadcast of the Grammy Award presentations, where they receive the “Best Country & Western Performance” for “Tom Dooley.” They had also been nominated for “Best Performance by a Vocal Group,” also for “Tom Dooley.”
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
December 7, 1959RECORDING SESSION: Home From The Hill (Bronislau Kaper and Mack David) 2:39
Master #23002 recorded December 7, 1959
Previously unreleased by Capitol
Making its first appearance on a Capitol collection is “Home from the Hill,” recorded by the Kingston Trio (at Capitol’s bidding) with full orchestra for the movie of the same title starring Robert Mitchum. Oddly enough, the group’s recording was never used in the film and was relegated to the flip side of “El Matador.” The Trio laid down the basic tracks during the SOLD OUT sessions, and although they sang it well, Dave remembered “Home From the Hill” as “nothing we would have chosen ourselves.”
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: The Worlds Last Authentic Playboys (David Wheat and Bill Loughborough) 2:39
Master #22993 recorded December 7, 1959
Previously unreleased by Capitol
This clever “biographical” sketch of his employers by multi-talented accompanist David “Buck” Wheat was recorded at the SOLD OUT sessions but was never deemed polished enough for release by any of the principles involved. Dave Guard (and the composer) would re-record the song in 1962 for The Whiskeyhill Singers’ debut album.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Raspberries, Strawberries (Will Holt) 2:11
Master #22997 recorded December 8, 1959
Album: SOLD OUT / single 4338
This SOLD OUT version of “Raspberries, Strawberries” is actually a remake of the Trio’s follow-up single (available on the CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES disc) to “Tom Dooley.” The original had been obviously rushed out, and this tighter, smoother arrangement shows how much the group had grown in a year’s time. This has become the definitive version, later featured on THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Bimini (Bill Olofson and Mark McIntyre) 2:53
Master #22994 recorded December 7, 1959
Album: SOLD OUT
The Trio hadn’t been “jailed” since the Top Twenty Tijuana incident, so the story line of “Bimini” seemed a natural for the group. The fact that it also fit into the Calypsonions’ seafaring and drinking song genres didn’t hurt the cause either! Another standout track from SOLD OUT, aided by some nice percussion from Nick.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: Green Grasses (John Stewart) 2:21
Master #32416 recorded September 28, 1959
Album: A TRIBUTE TO THE KINGSTON TRIO / single 4303
John Stewart must have been disappointed by the meager returns (in comparison to “Molly Dee”) from the Trio’s recording of “Green Grasses.” Capitol never included it on any domestic Kingston album release (until now), and it saw light of day only as the B side of one of the group’s least successful singles, “Coo Coo-U” (available on the CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES disc). A banjo was to be added to the mix eventually, so consider “Green Grasses” a work in progress.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
December 8, 1959SECORDING SESSION: El Matador (Jane Bowers and Irving Burgess) 2:25
Master #22996 recorded December 8, 1959
Album: SOLD OUT / single 4338
“The excitement of the Corrida” proclaimed the sleeve blurb on the single release of “El Matador,” and the Trio’s fine recording makes good on that promise. It has one of those cliffhanger endings that leaves us wondering how close that bull got! A compelling vocal performance by Bob marks this memorable opening track from the SOLD OUT album.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)SECORDING SESSION: Raspberries, Strawberries (Will Holt) 2:11
Master #22997 recorded December 8, 1959
Album: SOLD OUT / single 4338
This SOLD OUT version of “Raspberries, Strawberries” is actually a remake of the Trio’s follow-up single (available on the CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES disc) to “Tom Dooley.” The original had been obviously rushed out, and this tighter, smoother arrangement shows how much the group had grown in a year’s time. This has become the definitive version, later featured on THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
December 8, 1959RECORDING SESSION:
“El Matador,” “Raspberries, Strawberries,” et al, is recorded for the “Sold Out” album.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
December 10, 1959RECORDING SESSION: The Mountains O’ Mourne (Percy French and Houston Collision) 2:50
Master #23000 recorded December 10, 1959
Album: SOLD OUT / single 4338
Nick was a great friend and admirer of The Clancy Brothers, so most of the Trio’s Irish tunes were his finds. “The Mountain O’Mourne” is one of the best lead vocals Nick ever turned in, and it would be reverently covered by Don McLean on his PLAYING FAVORITES album.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)

1960 
January, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Feature article in MODERN SCREEN magazine.
Thursday February 11, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Minniapolis, MN
SOURCE: post by Jerry Petersonto the Kingston Trio Place Forum, June 16, 1999
February 15, 1960:POINT OF INTEREST: Dave Guard flies to Austin to see Jane Bowers.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
February 26, 1960:POINT OF INTEREST: Tulsa Daily World: “David Wheat, with a masters degree from Columbia, owns California drum factory; plays $3000 bass.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
March 1960:POINT OF INTEREST: Jane Bowers takes train to Chicago to discuss Granada music with Dave Guard.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
April, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Feature article in STARLIFE magazine.
April 4, 1960RECORDING RELEASE: The sixth album released by the Kingston Trio, “Sold Out” (T/ST-1352) hits record store shelves.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 53-54, Bear Family Records. Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
April 14, 1960PERSONNAL APPEARANCE: The Palladium, London, England, UK
SOURCE: Jean Ward personal archive. from Maureen Wilson, UK.
April 19, 1960RECORDING SESSION; Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: “Everglades,” “The Escape of Old John Webb,” and “Leave My Woman Alone.”
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 92, Bear Family Records. Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)RECORDING SESSION: The Escape Of Old John Webb (Tom Drake) 2:29
Master #33625 recorded April 19, 1960
Album: STRING ALONG / single 4379
Atmospheric is perhaps the best adjective for this song from STRING ALONG, which was also the B side for “Bad Man’s Blunder.” It’s an old English folk tale that was deliberately recorded in hopes of bolstering the Trio’s popularity in Great Britain. Note the effective group vocals and Dave’s outstanding banjo picking.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
April 20, 1960RECORDING SESSION: Bad Man’s Blunder (Cisco Houston and Lee Hays) 2:36
Master #33628 recorded April 20, 1960
Album: STRING ALONG / single 4379
The original Kingston Trio’s last visit to the Top Forty singles chart was provided by “Bad Man Blunder,” a Nick-led novelty number that was also the lead track from the group’s last #1 album, STRING ALONG. Voyle Gilmore took Nick’s “Bang! You’re dead!” finale off the single release, but we’ve included the unedited version here.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)DATE OF BIRTH: A son, Thomas, was born to Dave and Gretchen Guard.
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
April 21, 1960RECORDING SESSION: Capitol Studio, Capitol Tower, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA: “The Tattooed Lady,” “Coast of California,” “This Mornin’. This Evenin’, So Soon,” “South Wind,” “Buddy Better Get On Down the Line,” “Colorado Trail,” and “To Morrow
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 92, Bear Family Records. Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
NOTE: “Coast of California” is recorded for “String Along” but does not appear for a year with the release of “Goin’ Places.”
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 92, Bear Family Records. Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
June 8, 1960POINT OF INTEREST: John Stewart marries Julie Koehler whom he has known since high school.
SOURCE: Souvenir Program – “An Evening with The Kingston Trio”
July 11, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Article in TIME magazine.
July 17, 1960:POINT OF INTEREST: Hawaii Star: “Dave Guard used to pump gas during the day and at night sneak down to Queen’s Surf to hear Gabby Pahunui who taught him to play slack guitar”.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
August, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Article in ESCAPADE magazine.
Friday August 5, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE:
Forest Hills Music Festival, Forest Hills Stadium
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
September 16 & 17, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
SOURCE: post by Jean Ward to the Kingston Trio Place Forum, July 1, 1999 Confirmed by picture of the event program offered on Ebay.
October, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Cover, and feature article on the folk music boom in ROGUE magazine includes the Kingston Trio.
October 3, 1960RECORD RELEASE: The Kingston Trio’s one and only Christmas (album #8 overall) “The Last Month of the Year” (T/ST-1446) is released; 1960
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 47-51, Bear Family Records. Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Friday, October 7, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: New Haven Arena, New Haven, CN
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 8, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, PA.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday, October 9, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Post Theater, West Point, NY.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Thursday, October 13, 1960PPERSONAL APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio at the Springfield Municipal Auditorium in Springfield, Massachusetts, Thursday, October 13, 1960. To read a newspaper review of this concert, CLICK HERE!
SOURCE: Ticket Stubbs offered on ebay online auction. / The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Friday, October 14, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: RPJ Field House, Troy, NY
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 15, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: War Memorial, Syracuse, NY.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
October 19, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: West Virgina University, Morgontown, WV
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Thursday, October 20, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Keith Albee Theater, Huntington, WV
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Friday, October 21, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: William Neal Reynolds Colisium, North Carolina State College, Roleigh, NC.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 22, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Uline Arena, Washington, DC
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Monday, October 24, 1960RECOGNITION / AWARD: “The Kingston Trio From the hungry i” (Album) certified GOLD by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)
SOURCE: http://www.riaa.comRECOGNITION / AWARD: “Here We Go Again” (Album) certified GOLD by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)
SOURCE: http://www.riaa.com
Thursday, October 27, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in Midwest (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, October 28, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Ohio State
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday, October 29, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in Midwest (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Monday, October 30, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in Midwest (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, October 31, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in Midwest (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
November, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Article in PHOTOPLAY magazine.
Friday, November 4, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Donnelly Auditorium, Boston, Mass.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 5, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Prinston University, Prinston, NJ
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 6, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Worchester Memorial Auditorium, Worchester, Mass.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Wednesday, November 9, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in South (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Wednesday, November 10, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in South (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Thursday, November 11, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Loisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Friday, November 12, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Fieldhouse on campus, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 14, 1960RECORD RELEASE (single): Somerset Gloustershire Wassail / Goodnight My Baby (Capitol 4475.)
SOURCE: Liner notes; The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7)
Monday, November 15, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Auditorium, Birmingham, AL.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Thursday, November 17, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Memorial Auditorium, Greenville, SC.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Friday, November 18, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Charlotte Auditorium, Charlotte, NC.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 19, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: University of Virginia, Charlotteville, VA.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Friday, November 25, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in and around New York (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Saturday, November 26, 1960PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Concert in and around New York (Not definite)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday, November 282930,
December 1, & 2, 1960
TV APPEARANCE (Rehersal): Rehersal for the Perry Como Show of December 7th.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 72, Bear Family Records
Sunday December 4, 1960MAGAZINE FEATURE: Cover and feature article in PARADE magazine.
Wednesday December 7, 1960TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the NBC TV program “Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall” (9:00 -10:00 pm)
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.

1961 
January, 1961MAGAZINE FEATURE: Article in MUSIC JOURNAL magazine.
Tuesday January 3, 1961:MAGAZINE FEATURE: The Kingston Trio receives recognition with a feature article in the LOOK magazine.
January 14, 1961RECORDING SESSION: “Mary Was Pretty” (Master #35206) is recorded. This song went unreleased until the 1995 release of The Capitol Years (Boxed set).
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed ste) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
January 15, 1961RECORDING SESSION: “The Wines of Madeira” (Master #35208) and “Adieu to my Island” (Master #35209) is recorded. These songs went unreleased, by Capitol,until the 1995 release of The Capitol Years (Boxed set).
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed ste) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
January 15, 1961RECORDING SESSION: “Señora” (Master #35213) is recorded for the “Going Places” album.
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed set) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
January 15, 1961RECORDING SESSION: “Señora” (Master #35213) and You’re Gonna Miss Me” (Master #35210) are recorded for the “Going Places” album.
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed set) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
January 16, 1961RECORDING SESSION: “It Was a Very Good Year” (Master #35220) is recorded for the “Going Places” album.
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed set) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
Thursday January 56789101112131415161718192021222324 & Wednesday January 25, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio begins a three week engagement at the Royal Hawiian Hotel, Honolulu, HA (Jan. 5-Jan. 25);
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 80, Bear Family Records.
January 19, 1961:AWARD / RECOGNITION: The Trio’s first album, “The Kingston Trio,” becomes their first Gold (1 million copies sold) album.
SOURCE: Liner notes “The Kingston Trio / . . . From the Hungry “I”” (Capitol-CDP 7 96748 2):
Shortly after (the) completion (of GOING PLACES), Capitol held a ceremony (January 19th) to present the group with four gold album awards for THE KINGSTON TRIO, FROM THE HUNGRY i, (both featured on Trio Double Play #1), AT LARGE and HERE WE GO AGAIN (Double Play #2). The next day, manager Frank Werber and the boys embarked on their first foreign tour.
SOURCE: Liner notes “Make Way / Goin’ Places (Capitol-CDP 7 96836 2)PERSONAL APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio continues at the Royal Hawiian Hotel, Honolulu, HA (Jan. 5-Jan. 25)
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 80, Bear Family Records
January 20, 1961:POINT OF INTEREST: Manager Frank Werber and the Trio embarked on their first foreign tour.
SOURCE: Liner notes “Make Way / Goin’ Places (Capitol-CDP 7 96836 2)
January 25, 1961:TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the “Latin Quarter TV Show” in Tokyo, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
January 26, 1961:TV APPEARANCE: The Kingston Trio appear on the “Latin Quarter TV Show” in Tokyo, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
January 27, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Military Base Nichigaki Music Hall, Tachi-Kawa, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
January 28, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: At “Military Base,” “Zama”,”Japan”
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
February 2, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Field House, Yakuska, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
POINT OF INTEREST: Reynolds hires circus for Tokyo orphanage.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
February 3, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Washington Heights Military Base, Tokyo, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
February 4, 1961:Personal appearance: Military Base, Yakota, Japan
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
February 5, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: TV Show, Tokyo, Japan”
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
February 10, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Clark Air Force Base, San Fernando, Phillipines
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
February 16, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: at Festival Hall, Brisbane, Australia
SOURCE: Ken Bradshaw, Australia.
February 17, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: at Sydney Auditorium, Sydney, Australia
SOURCE: Ken Bradshaw, Australia.
February 18, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: at Sydney Auditorium, Sydney, Australia
SOURCE: Ken Bradshaw, Australia.
March 8, 1961:RECORD RELEASE (single): “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” roof-raising new arrangement of “Frankie and Johnny” by Dave Guard and the members of a group called the New Lost City Ramblers, is released as a single on March 8th, however, the song fails to chart.
SOURCE: Liner notes “Make Way / Goin’ Places (Capitol-CDP 7 96836 2)
April, 1961:MAGAZINE FEATURE: Feature article in TV RADIO MIRROR magazine.
April 21, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA.
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
April 22, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA.
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
May 4, 1961:DATE OF BIRTH: Joan Glancy Shane (Jody), was born to Bob and Louise Shane.
SOURCE: Souvenir Program – “An Evening with The Kingston Trio” (c.1965)
May 5, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Orpheum Theater, Seattle, Washington.
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
May 6, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Portland Auditorium, Portland, Oregon.
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
May 7, 1961:PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Bohlery Gym, Pullman, Washington
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
May 11, 1961:POINT OF INTEREST: The Trio returns from their first foreign tour. Subsequently, Dave Guard offers his resignation from the Kingston Trio.
SOURCE: Liner notes “Make Way / Goin’ Places” (Capitol-CDP 7 96836 2)PERSONAL APPEARANCE: San Francisco, California, Dave Guard announces his resignation from the Trio.
SOURCE: Jean Ward’s personal archive.
Spring 1961:Dave Guard resigns from the Trio.* * * * *The first thing that stood out in my mind was the absolute height of the Kingston Trio in the public culture, something that has all but vanished except amongst the faithful. The second thing that stood out, was Nick’s conciliatory view of the Stewart membership as a change of people, but not of talent or genre. Then I was hit solidly in the face by Bob’s obvious dislike and disregard for Dave Guard, which had to be a reaction to the deep rift between the two friends at that time. I have read comments by Dave, disregarding the Trio after he left it, and I had also ascertained that Bob was furious, resentful, and outraged by Dave’s demands on the group. In the interview, I think we get a revealing glimpse of the rift between the men, a rift which took almost 30 years to close and heal.When I met Nick at the New Hampshire concert with “Julie and Brownie (MacIntosh)”, he told me that he and Bobby told Dave he was out of the group. This is quite contrary to the story that was issued at the time, covering Dave’s moving out for artistic reasons. A great deal was done to cover Dave’s tracks at the time, but Bob never went to great lengths to cover his feelings. Nick always seemed less rigid and more “easy” to get along with. In fact, wasn’t it Nick who along with John, re-kindled the friendship?
SOURCE: Al Cook on the Kingston Trio Place Forum – July 8, 1999
Spring 1961:John Stewart (vocals, 6-string guitar, 12-string guitar and 5-string banjo) who has been contributing material to The Kingston Trio, is hired to replace Dave Guard.
Monday May 18, 1961Personal appearance:
San Jose Municipal Auditorium, San Jose, CA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, May 19, 1961PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Encanto Bowl, Phoenix, AZ.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records / Jean Ward’s personal archive.
Wednesday, May 20, 1961PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, CA
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records
Tuesday, May 26, 1961PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA; 1961, 8:30 PM. Appearing with Gene McDaniels and Ronnie Schell with Al “Jazzbo” Collins, M.C.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records and poster found offered on ebay.
Wednesday, May 27, 1961PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA.
SOURCE: The Kingston Trio: The Guard Years, page 71, Bear Family Records / Jean Ward’s personal archive.
June 5, 1961RECORDING RELEASE: “Goiong Places”: Dave Guard’s last album as a member of the Kingston Trio.
SOURCE: Liner notes (booklet) The Capitol Years (Boxed set) (CDP 7243 8 28498 2 7)
June 9, 1961:MAGAZINE FEATURE: Feature article in LIFE magazine on the break-up of the Kingston Trio.
June 13, 1961:POINT OF INTEREST: The Cumberland Three disbands. It was with The Cumberland Three that John Stewart refined his talents as a ‘group’ folk-musician and made 3 albums before becoming part of the Kingston Trio.
August, 1961“By mid-August, Dave Guard’s years as a member of the Kingston Trio were over.”
(Source: Liner notes “Make Way / Goin’ Places (Capitol-CDP 7 96836 2))
August 09, 1961:POINT OF INTEREST: Guard formally resigns 24.5% of Kingston Trio Incorporated – $75,000 down and a promissory note for $225,000.
SOURCE: Kingston Trio. Records, 1956-1986. UWM Manuscript Collection 16. University Manuscripts Collection. Golda Meir Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee / Phil C. post to the Kingston Crossroads Board 6/19/2002
September 5, 1961:MAGAZINE FEATURE: Feature article in SHOW BUSINESS ILLUSTRATED magazine on the break-up of the Kingston Trio.

Down Beat magazine

The Kingston Trio Story

THE KINGSTON TRIO

‘TOM DOOLEY – TOM DOOLEY!’

By Richard Hadlock

Once in a while folk songs find their way back to folk people, sometimes by way of a hit record featuring an artist who happens to have pressed the right commercial and artistic buttons at once.

But for the three young men of the Kingston trio, who recently parlayed the century-old legend of a North Carolina murder into a million records, success was not accidental; it grew from shrewd investments of time and talent coupled with systematic work.

Perhaps some of this brass-tacks outlook can be traced to the business administration training that Dave, Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds completed before turning to folk-singing careers. Their mutual capacity for sweat and salesmanship, added to talent, made them college favorites from Balboa beach to San Francisco and also convinced bay area publicist Frank Werber, in 1957, that he had discovered something more than another bunch of campus whiz kids.

Werber, who had seen lots of overnight wonders come and go, prodded, groomed, worried, and pushed the three young men until he was satisfied that they were ready.

With a year of vocal coaching and many rehearsal hours to bolster their showmanship, plus a tight little repertoire of international songs, the three performers jumped into the so-called supper-club circuit, taking giant steps to New York’s Blue Angel and Village Vanguard, television’s “Playhouse 90,” and back to packed houses at San Francisco’s hungry i. All this was accomplished within a few months.

Then came “Tom Dooley,”a song about a youthful Civil war veteran named Thomas E. Dula (in North Carolina it’s pronounced Duley), who became a national figure by pulling off one of the more sordid killings in the annals of American crime.

The Kingston trio caught Dula’s spirit of resignation (it is said that Dula sang and played banjo on his way to the gallows), and the record sold 1,000,000 copies, mostly it would seem, to teenagers, who constitute the bulk of the popular-record purchasers.

To the Kingston trio the aim of singing folk music is to communicate what the words were designed to say.

Guard, the 6-foot-3-inch former Stanford university graduate student who usually speaks for the group, put it this way:

“We are not students of folk music; the basic thing for us is honest and worthwhile songs, that people can pick up and become involved in. Like ancient poetry, songs like that are successful because the audience participates in what the artist is doing.”

“We don’t collect old songs in the sense that the academic cats do,” affirmed the wiry Reynolds. “We get new tunes to look over every day. Each one of us has his ears open constantly to new material or old stuff that’s good.”

“Good” songs, the boys agree, are songs that can be made to live during the performance.

“When the performance is over,” Guard stressed, “the piece is not significant anymore.”

In spite of their experience with “Tom Dooley,” and, to a lesser degree, “Tijuana Jail,” the trio continues to build a library of tunes it feels is directed to adults rather than teenagers.

“Kids simply aren’t ready to really listen to music,” Guard said. “Tom Dooley was one of those odd things, but in general the younger ones want something more physical, that doesn’t require much thought.”

“Our best audiences are in the south and in colleges,” said Reynolds, who looks like a sophomore himself. “Listeners in the south are hip, too. We found that the natives of Nashville and Memphis, regardless of race, put down Elvis and dig Bo Diddley. New York tends to be more square.

“Regarding colleges,” Guard added, “we sang to 4,500 students at Michigan and the wildest crowd — 4,000 of them at Notre Dame. They nearly screamed and yelled the walls down.”

The trio, along with bass player David Wheat, manages to cover astonishing distances between concerts. But it takes their own private plane to do it. Last March (a Friday the 13th, to be precise), the plane’s radio and generator went out. The pilot was forced to land in an Indiana cornfield. Unruffled, the trio hitched a ride from a farmer and set off for their scheduled concert.

This summer’s crowded itinerary will include at least two jazz festivals — French Lick, Ind, and Newport. However, the Kingstons do not pretend to offer jazz in any form though, they add, “We may have a couple of surprises.” But all three are avid modern jazz fans. They are particularly enthusiastic about the Lambert-Ross-Hendricks group.

Shane, who isn’t given to much talk, declared bluntly: “I like a good group. Anything too repetitious is a bore, including western music.

“Sometimes there are subtle changes that only seem repetitious,” Guard interjected. “I like good rhythm-and-blues as well as the Modern Jazz Quartet and Thelonious Monk. We played opposite Monk at the Vanguard, and at first he seemed too far out. But his music grows on you. When we left, we were all boosters for Monk.”

“I just love music,” exclaimed Reynolds, who puts a dash of pure energy into everything he says or does. “Chico Hamilton, Annie Ross, Jackie and Roy — anybody who’s good.”

This regard for quality and integrity prevents the trio from diluting its music in an attempt to make quick hits. Its good-natured, sometimes tongue-in-cheek attitude toward folk material is never allowed to mar the music itself.

Tunes are selected for record dates only after the trio has screened hundreds of songs from almost as many sources. Developing a new routine for recording purposes can be done much faster than preparing an in-person presentation. According to Guard, a new piece is ready for records in about two hours, but two months “on the floor” are required before the group feels satisfied with an in-person performance.

A finished number is admitted to the trio’s repertoire only after extended rehearsal time is spent polishing an original arrangement of the song. An idea of the extent to which the trio members are dedicated to perfection may be gained from the surprisingly small number of selections — 40 tunes, representing two years work — that they consider ready for use in personal appearances. Informally, they are familiar with hundreds more folk songs of many lands.

Guard and Shane were born and reared in Hawaii, where they met in a high school variety show. Reynolds, a native of San Diego, met them while attending Menlo Business College.

Sharing an interest in songs and rhythms of other countries, the three got together for sessions and improvised songfests. Borrowing at first from the Weavers and San Francisco’s Gateway Singers, they eventually established an individual style based on straightforward interpretations, leavened with smatterings of satire and hints of cynicism.

For all their prosperity, members of the trio remain devoted to the folk music that brought them together. If there are any more big hits, they will not happen at the sacrifice of intelligence or taste.

“Tom Dooley or no Tom Dooley;” Reynolds reflected, “I don’t think we’re the right types to be heroes to teenagers. None of us has ever been or mobbed or even had his shirt torn off by the girls.”

— THANK YOU to Reed Blair for sharing his transcript and scans
of the foregoing article for our reading enjoyment.