Saturday, January 12, 2013

I have wondered over the years all the reasons for our success, and I have come to the conclusion it was a combination of timing and the fact that there was a sort of music vacuum at the time - think "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." There was a lot of bubblegum out there and I think the public wanted something different.

I also have to credit the Weavers' success. Another vacuum was the fact that they got booted out of the limelight because of their policitcs, and they had created a hunger from people for that kind of music, and we stepped in.

The other is that we had world music before there was a name for it. We did Hawaiian, Tahitian, African, Calypso, and Olde Engllish stuff, and that was very unique and intriguing to people's ears. Also, we really, really enjoyed singing together, and that showed.

And we were entertainers, not just singers and musicians. We did infuse a lot of standup comedy into our show. And we did everything "on the natch." We all just knew how to approach a song and we did it from the heart. I sang lead mostly, and Nick just instinctively knew what the harmony should be. And then Dave instinctively knew what his part should be. It all just came together.
Bob Shane

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Green Thing

Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. 
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. Back then we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand new clothing.

But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

 But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then. We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect that to be bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad.

But we didn't have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We've been working with the Rotary Club doing some benefit concerts for their end polio campaign. Polio is rearing its ugly head again in some parts of the world and the Rotarians are working hard to stop it.

It's such a worthy cause and the Rotary Clubs do fantastic good around the globe.We feel proud to be associated with them!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

We've added a Christmas show in Galveston, TX on December 22nd. Our Christmas shows are always wonderful and really get everyone (including us) into the Christmas spirit. So if you're in the Galveston area, come to the show! For more details and to see a full touring schedule, please visit

Come join us!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Got this great letter I wanted to share. Bob Shane

I had the opportunity to take my son and three of his fellow West Point cadets to Massachusetts, where I'm originally from, during their Christmas/New Year break. We spent a couple days visiting family, friends, and touring my home town of Ashland and the surrounding areas.

You may remember from an earlier note to you my son took 5 CD's with him, all Kingston Trio's, to West Point. The Trio music has become popular in his company. There are some very good guitar players and vocalists in it that can perform your music.

We took a day to tour Boston. We caught the MBTA (MTA) Green Line outside of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Upon arrival at the Boston College station a few Berklee students jumped on board. Three of them had guitars! I think you know where this story is heading... The cadets introduced themselves and asked if they could play their guitars and sing the "MTA" song as we traveled into Boston.

They agreed only if they could join in too. I tell you Bob ... the combination of Cadets and the Berklee students knowing the chords and verses ... the harmony was fabulous as was the guitar playing. The cadets added the ad libbing from your College Concert album.

A fabulously fun event in the subway car! The laughter and smiles on peoples faces during and after they finished ... absolutely priceless! Those kids had so much fun traveling to Boston on the subway as you can imagine."

We hope Charlie keeps on riding the MTA and The Kingston Trio music plays on...
Chris in Virginia

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kingston Trio to get Lifetime Achievement Grammy

The group, whose best-known lineup included San Diego's Nick Reynolds and Coronado's John Stewart, to be honored Feb. 13 in Los Angeles


The Kingston Trio members (L-R) Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and John Stewart.

The Kingston Trio members (L-R) Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and John Stewart.

The Kingston Trio, the pioneering folk music group that rose to fame in the 1950s and featured two San Diego-bred musicians, will receive aLifetime Achievement Grammy Award in February. Best known for such hits as 1958's chart-topping "Tom Dooley," 1959's "Tijuana Jail," 1962's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" and 1963's "Greenback Dollar," the trio scored 14 Top 10 and five No. 1 albums in its heyday.

Kingston Trio co-founder Nick Reynolds, who died here in 2008 at the age of 75, was a San Diego native. Coronado native John Stewart joined the trio in 1961, replacing Dave Guard, who died in 1991. Stewart, who later achieved solo success in the late 1960s and '70s, died in 2008 at the age of 68.

Other artists who will receive Lifetime Grammy Awards on Feb 12. include Julie Andrews, jazz drum icon Roy Haynes, the Juilliard String Quartet, Dolly Parton, gospel-music great George Beverly Shea andthe Ramones (who will become the first punk-rock band to ever receive a Lifetime Grammy). Only one original member of the Ramones, drummer Tommy Ramone (real name: Thomas Erdelyi) is still alive.

"I think Nick would be so excited and proud about the Lifetime Grammy -- it's recognition that's long overdue," Leslie Reynolds, who was Reynolds' third wife, said Wednesday morning, from her Coronado home.

Mrs. Reynolds indicated that Bob Shane, 76, the Kingston Trio's only surviving original member, plans to attend the Feb. 12 Grammy Special Merit Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, one day before the 53nd annual Grammy Awards will be held.

Also attending will be Mrs. Reynolds herself, who married Nick Reynolds in 1994 and was by his side when he was presented with the San Diego Music Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in a 2007 ceremony at Viejas Casino's Concerts in the Park. She has been spearheading a drive to mount a traveling Kingston Trio exhibition, which she hopes will launch in 2012.

"We are doing lots of different things to bring this overdue recognition to the trio and also to encourage people to keep playing music, which is what the trio's members most cared about."

In the 1960s and 1970s, Nick Reynolds was a key mentor to his nephew, San Diego singer-songwriter Joey Harris, who -- after a recommendation from Reynolds -- became a member of former trio member Stewart's band in the mid-1970s.

"There was a period in his life where Nick rejected fame and lived on a remote Oregon farm without a phone," said Harris, himself a winner of a San Diego Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

"But I know that in his later years, he became very proud of the impact the trio had and of his role in inspiring people to get into music, so I know he'd be thrilled by the Lifetime Grammy," Harris said Wednesday morning.

The Kingston Trio's Lifetime Grammy recognition follows several years of lobbying by high-profile fans on the group's behalf, according to Mrs. Reynolds. Those fans include Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham (who co-produced former trio member Stewart's acclaimed 1979 album, "Bombs Away Dream Babies," Al Jardine of the Beach Boys Eagles' bassist-singer Timothy B Schimt.

In a 2009 Union-Tribune interview Schmit credited Reynolds as a prime influence and proudly noted that he got to befriend Reynolds barely half a year before Reynolds' 2008 death.

“My first band, Tim, Tom & Ron, was a Kingston Trio copycat band and Nick was the guy i copied. I even got a tenor guitar like him, although mine was a cheap imitation," Schmit said.

“Nick’s wife called me early last year (2008) to ask if I’d play at a memorial concert for John Stewart, and I said ‘Absolutely.’ I didn’t know Nick would be there. He was in a wheelchair and we had a really good talk. His son told me Nick had all these old instruments and the family has entrusted me as the caretaker of Nick’s tenor guitar, which is a thrill to have. The Reynolds family is trusting me with it, which is unbelievable to me.”

A biography on the Kingston Trio is due out next year, according to Mrs. Reynolds. The current version of the trio -- which features

Bill Zorn, George Grove and Rick Dougherty -- mounts its next tour on Jan. 7. The closest tour stop to San Diego is Jan. 12 at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We think he really liked the show!!
Dear George,
We were at the Saturday, Oct. 27th concert at the South Point. We were seated at a table right in front of you. What great seats. My daughter took great care of us that evening. We had a great time visiting with each of you following the concert and we really appreciated that. I even had a chance to visit with Paul. That was nice. I think he has a bass he would like to sell me.
But let's talk about the Kingston Trio and that concert. All I can say is WOW !!!!!!!! I cannot think of enough superlatives to describe how wonderfully PERFECT it was. This trio of George Grove, Bill Zorn and Rick Daugherty is the most fantastic thing we have ever heard. It is totally new in sound, pace, excitement, vitality and on and on and on. Yet, you are still,unmistakably, the KINGSTON TRIO.
I kid you not, you blew my socks off. You are so much more improved than I had every expected. George, I'm not trying to blow the proverbial "smoke up your skirt." From one who has listened to the Kingston Trio in recordings and concerts for the full fifty plus years, you are a newer and better trio than ever before.
Your stage presence is superb. Your excitement level is out of this world. Your harmonies are superior to anything before. Your musicianship is (with the exception of the one note you missed on the lead in to "Tom Dooley" - I thought Bill's face was going to fall off and Rick's eyes told it all - thanks for being human) excellent. I, probably was the only one to notice it, sorry. Your arrangements were perfect. Your play list was perfect and balanced. What more can I say?
During one song, Anita asked me why I wasn't singing. She and Rachelle sang every song, some under their breaths. I told her I came to be taught and that I was. I saw new chords, fingering positions and runs. I saw new rhythms in strumming and other techniques. It was a feast! I watched Paul and I think he has also followed suite and picked it up several degrees. He was great as well. At one point I leaned over to Anita and said, "the Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp has done these boys some good!"
George, it was a concert I will never forget. You are new and improved! You should all be very proud with what you have done and achieved. You are nothing less than "Masters of you Craft!"
Now, it was good to see Bob there. I figured he would be. Rachelle really enjoyed talking with him, which she was able to do for a fair amount of time and he was kind and attentive to her. (Memory: remember I talked with you a few weeks ago and told you about the snow plowing, donuts, Cokes, Slupees, etc. The kids, when very young, always liked to sing Green Back Dollar because they could swear and say the word "Damn" without getting into trouble. A silly thing, perhaps.)
Rachelle is already working on getting all of us together for next year's concert at the South Point. We should have everyone here for Thanksgiving next year and they love to come here and play, even the little ones. So that is our plan, to see you there.
Well, I've gone on too long. I really want you to know that what I felt, heard and saw that night was very special to us and to me, especially. Tell the others of our delight in having been to see and hear you. What a treat!
Take care, my friend. You and Cindy have a warm and meaningful Christmas and Very Happy New Year!

Very best,