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The Kingston Trio

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In the history of popular music, there are a relative handful of performers who have redefined the content of the music at critical points in history -- people whose music left the landscape, and definition of popular music, altered completely. The Kingston Trio were one such group, transforming folk music into a hot commodity and creating a demand  for youngsters strumming acoustic guitars and banjos and singing folk songs and folk-like novelty songs in harmony.
On a purely commercial level, from 1957 until 1963, the Kingston Trio were the most vital and popular folk group in the world, and folk music was sufficiently popular as to make that a significant statement. Equally important, the original trio -- Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds, and Bob Shane -- in tandem with other, similar early acts such as the Limeliters, spearheaded a boom in the popularity of folk music that suddenly made the latter important to millions of listeners who previously had ignored it.

The group's success and influence transcended its actual sales. Without the enviable record of popularity and sales that they built up for folk music, it is unlikely that Columbia Records would ever have had any impetus to allow John Hammond to sign an unknown singer/guitarist named Bob Dylan, or to put Weavers co-founder Pete Seeger under contract, or for Warner Bros. to record the Greenwich Village-based trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Kingston Trio, by contrast, still had pure entertainment as a big part of their image and purpose, and looked too much like part of the establishment. It was a problem similar to that of the Chad Mitchell Trio, rivals to the Kingston Trio, who had embraced some of Dylan's work (but, thanks to a producer's misjudgment, never issued any of it as singles) and who were known to be "irreverent" -- "irreverent" was fine for comics and entertainers, and acceptable to parents, but it made the Mitchell Trio and the Kingston Trio seem like establishment lackeys, while more confrontational composers such as Dylan and Phil Ochs were generating in-your-face challenges to a ton of social and political assumptions that helped hold campuses (or, at least, the communities where they were based) together.
Sunny Side!

Sunny Side!

1963

Blowin' In The Wind

Nick - Bob - John

Nick - Bob - John

1964

Farewell

single

single

1966

Babe, You've Been On My Mind (studio recording)

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time

Recorded 1966, released 1969 - Live at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel.
These tracks have been reissued many times

Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Mama, You Been On My Mind
One Too Many Mornings

20 Greatest Hits

20 Greatest Hits

Recorded 1966, released 1969 - Live at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel.
These tracks have been reissued many times

Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Mama, You Been On My Mind
One Too Many Mornings

The Very Best of The Kingston Trio

The Very Best of The Kingston Trio

1987 CD compilation. Most Capitol-era best-of's include Blowin' In The Wind

Blowin' In The Wind

The Kingston Trio: The Stewart Years

The Kingston Trio: The Stewart Years

Boxset compilation - previously unreleased outake from 1965 Somethin' Else LP

She Belongs To Me

The New Kingston Trio - Try To Remember

The New Kingston Trio - Try To Remember

Tokyo recording by 1970 line-up of trio.
Original release on 1971 Japan-only v/a EP "Music Rainbow 4" (scan needed)
Image courtesy of  The Kingston Trio Place

Blowin' In The Wind

 

 

Sing A Song With The Kingston Trio

Sing A Song With The Kingston Trio

1963 - This instrumental "sing-along" album was recorded by Capitol session musicians, including Glen Campbell.  None of the Trio play on it!

Blowin' In The Wind

 

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