Posted by: suek2001 | February 16, 2011

“Too Much Fun is Never Enough”-Nick Reynolds


This week was a big week for one of my all-time favorite groups, the Kingston Trio.

I haven’t been around 50 years(although I’m pushing 40 this year) but my love for their music goes back to my high school days.

This week, they received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy. That’s only fair. The Kingston Trio forced the Grammy’s to create a folk category because of the huge popularity of their big song “Tom Dooley”. They won for “Best Country Presentation” the first year of the Grammys.

About 14 years ago, I discovered a whole new arena for discussing music, the internet. Thank you Al Gore for giving me a place to discuss politics, music, religion and the tragedy that is Charlie Sheen’s life. In the midst of the gossip sites and slanted news forums, there was a forum for fellow Kingston Trio fans. A lot of them much older than me but nonetheless full of life and knowledge. It was through these forums that I actually began corresponding with members of the Kingston Trio. Soon, concerts were a regular part of my routine. Daily discussions on the importance of distinguishing finger picking and the sheer silliness of classic weird songs like “Them Poems”….”Strange Day”…or my favorite “Coo Co U”.

I loved everything the Kingston Trio did..and listened to them almost every day….and so was my life for quite a few years….until I realized something last year. I rarely listened to their music anymore. I tried to understand why. I rarely corresponded with fellow Kingston Trio fans anymore and sometimes with the members. It took me months to realize why.

When I was going to all those concerts, listening to all those albums, buying those CD’s, My aunt was right there for it all. She was a huge fan of their work and had even seen the earliest Kingston Trio incarnation back in 1959 in St. Louis Park, MN, along with my Mom.

When she passed away in 2008, she took a lot of that joy with her. I couldn’t listen to their music even though I played “Stay Awhile” and “Farewell Adelita” at her funeral. It just felt weird enjoying music alone as I believe music is meant to be shared.

So, I rarely, listened..and the Kingston Trio would be nearby for a concert and I wouldn’t attend, even though the newest configuration is the best. I have seen the newest lineup once or twice and would like to see them more but their shows always seem to be on the other side of the state or the hellhole known as Milwaukee..

So, this ceremony came and went and I was again out of town, busy with an old college friend. I finally got around to seeing the ceremony today. Granted, some have complained of the short shrift the Kingston Trio received during the ceremonies but considering how nice it was to see a picture of them on screen without a PBS pledge number underneath, I’ll take it as a nice bonus to a weekend.

Of course, Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, Dave Guard, John Stewart, Roger Gambill, Bill Zorn, Rick Dougherty and George Grove deserve more recognition than they received that night. Still, their music lives on in the sold out concerts the current group performs.

As I was heading home to my beloved Duluth, I was listening to the Kingston Trio’s “Something Special” CD which happened to be in the player. Thankfully, it was the unorchestrated version so I got to hear their voices and guitars blend so clearly. It was a nice little reminder of what this group has meant to me over the years. Hearing Nick sing “One More Town”…Bob croon “She Was Too Good To Me”…and John deliver a comic tour de force on “Strange Day” seemed to be the perfect way to cap this long weekend and a great way to salute the Kingston Trio.

They will always be my folk-soul brothers and I am grateful they came into my life.


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