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,