Posted by: suek2001 | August 4, 2017

“We”ll sing it out my brothers..”

Every year I countdown to Fantasy Camp….Well, this year, I took a bit of a different approach…I had dreams years ago…being a disc jockey…so I decided when the countdown hit 30 days…I would do a countdown of my 30 favorite Kingston Trio songs….I don’t think I’ve ever really ranked them before..and the list just came from the 30 songs I could think of….I’ve been doing this for almost a month on Facebook…so I thought I would share it with you…I won’t just name the songs..but provide my insights into what makes them good and use You Tube links wherever possible…

(Imagine my best Disc Jockey voice)

Coming in at #30 is a song that very few people adore..I love the guitar.Nick’s vocal..the interesting percussion…and the whimsy brought by Mason Williams lyrics….


..Here is #29…Nick Reynolds and Donovan songs really go well together…and John Stewart and Bob Shane providing great harmonies with a great guitar riff throughout…I know some say the stuff on this album shouldn’t have been released but this is a gem that I am glad was discovered. It’s Called “Try For the Sun”…


Coming in at #28…is this gem from the live album “Live at the Crazy Horse”..I had the awesome pleasure of seeing this configuration several times…George Grove, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds….my Aunt bought this CD on the night we met George and Bob after their St. Paul show on 5/15/98…As I recall, she loved this CD so much, we took the long way home to St. Louis Park…the chemistry between George and Nick on this..along with Nick’s hilarious intro make this George’s great guitar work….a Billy Edd Wheeler number called “Ann”…


Okay…Coming in at #27…it’s another live track…and at one time was one of my favorite vocals by George Grove…written by Deena Kaye Rose(aka Dick Feller)….who also wrote John Denver’s “Some Days Are Diamonds”…a great song with a great story..get your tissues handy….This song has a personal meaning for me that some people know about…and for those that don’t..I’ll tell the story at Camp…Here is Jocko and the Trapeeze Lady…from the great album “Live at the Crazy Horse”…


Some of my friends will be surprised at where this ranks on the countdown. I love this song..but it is not my favorite. I embraced it years ago when there seemed to be hostility towards it..even took part of the title as an email address..David Ruiz del Vizo loved this one….mostly for the use of Mongo Santamaria and others to give this song a world music flair. Nick Reynold’s lead vocal on this is hilarious and it has one of my favorite insult lyrics..”You are paranoid and your head’s a void”….The Manhattan Transfer would cover this later…and suck the life out of it….still, this one has it all..David Wheat’s great bass intro..Bob Shane and Dave Guard repeating that question, we could ask our leaders…”How did you get so coo coo u?”..and that scream… Coming in at #26 on the KT countdown for me…is the one…the only…the genius of Coo Coo U…


This may be a bit divisive but I don’t care….there are days at work where this song is the only thing that makes me smile…Coming in at #25 is an oddity from an album where the orchestral arrangement was added after the KT wrapped the session..or so I read somewhere….Written by George Yanok and John Stewart, I believe this had it’s origins in a high school comedy skit…and it went from there…I heard that Yanok bought a car with the residuals made from just having this song on a Kingston Trio record….All of the guys take their humorous tone on it..with John Stewart showing off his great gift of narration with comedic flair…and Bob Shaneand Nick Reynolds get in on the act….I still think there’s a bit of subversive humor in the punchline of the song…so if you’ve ever had a strange day, this song may just be the remedy..



Okay…there is no You Tube link…and I think I know I shall respect the author’s wishes….Coming in at #24 is a fantastic song called La Migra….with deep meaning…not really a protest song but one that gives a a great view into the issue of immigration…written by an former INS agent named George Weissinger…it is given beautiful treatment by Rick Dougherty on vocals….and George Grove on an almost flamenco guitar..Bill Zorn provides backing vocals on this as well..but in concert, it is a George and Rick showcase. If you have not heard this fantastic album, I beseech you to go to and order it….It is one that begs to be listened over and over…


Coming in at #23  is the first gospel song on the countdown….I truly believe The Kingston Trio were great at mainstreaming gospel songs to a record buying public..they lay the groundwork for the Christian Rock movement that began in the late 60’s..a great tune with biblical references…and Bob Shane‘s authoritave old preacha voice with Nick’s soaring tenor and John’s chugging banjo make this a great, great..gospel song…don’t want for another day….To Be Redeemed!



A medley comes in at #22 for the Kingston Trio countdown. There are two versions I love….the “Live in Reno” one where Bob Shane‘s voice takes the lead and adds a whole new shade of interpretation(can’t find that one)…and then a live version of this one..and I adore this video…Dave Guard’s take as the lead on this one in voice and banjo..and Bob does a superb job on backing vocals and rhythm guitar while Nick Reynolds adds the tenor guitar and those awesome high harmonies as well….So, here is #22 on our Fantasy Camp countdown..”Shady Grove/Lonesome Traveller”


Coming in at #21 is a great song written by Duluth’s homeboy, Bob Dylan….each member of the Trio gets the right verse to sing…John Stewart takes the first verse..with that urgent banjo riff to wail on…snarling that Dylan style….and Bob Shane has the rather intimate verse and shades it with swagger…while Nick Reynold’s voice captures the third voice of exasperation and peacemaking with the “you are right from your side”…the song is one of the best Dylan covers out there….It’s “One Too Many Mornings”…


Oh this song is perfection on so many levels….that interesting banjo intro..and then it’s quietly playing throughout…Steve Martin made an observation that the banjo CAN produce sadness..Dave Guard’s banjo is perfectly melancholy..Bob Shane‘s high melody is beyond compare…as Nick Reynold’s takes some lower notes instead of the high tenor…but his soft Hal Blaine-like touch of the congas is where the song’s heart is…a sad calypso song that has had a more aggressive and too cheerful arrangements later on disguise the real nature of the lyrics….and on a personal note, whenever I have a nasty day at work, I sing the chorus out loud….and it helps…So, coming in at #20 is Sloop John B…or the Wreck of the John B…


Coming in at #19 on The Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp countdown is a fantastic ballad..Bob Shane sings lead..John Stewart wrote this when he was about 19…together, this song is amazing…..




Coming in at #18 is They Call the Wind Maria….I first heard this on the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack..My Aunt and Grandma were huge fans of the soundtrack..and played it endlessly….I know some love the original of this but I have a strong fondness for this… Bob Shane is in strong voice…and George Grove’s vocal repeats…with the congas..and George’s great guitar flourishes make this amazing..and by the end, you have Nick Reynolds trademark high harmonies….I saw the current group do this…and Bill Zorn does a fantastic lead on this as well..for this countdown,we’ll go with this outstanding Crazy Horse version..


It is time for #17 on the Kingston Trio countdown….the hilarious intro by Dave Guard…had some semblance to the truth..although the Biblical translation can vary….Song of Solomon reads a bit racier than this folky interpretation..with that opening banjo…Bob Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds add a strong energy to this…a romantic gospel song…..and I post this…for those of you who read….


Ahhh…what an underrated classic this is..from the album New Frontier….a quiet bass riff..and then the congas come in..with Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane singing in unison…as John Stewart’s banjo rings a bit like church bells…this end of times gospel song is just way too catchy….and too often overlooked..maybe because it also competes with “To Be Redeemed” on the same album….perfect gospel tune…Coming in at #16 is “My Lord What a Morning”…



Oh this list was hard to compile.;…and I swear a lot of good stuff was left off…but I HAD to include this…. Bonnie Heilan’ Laddie..a great banjo masterpiece for Dave Guard…and that strumming he does in addition to the picking is just amazing…I’ve heard this done a few times at Fantasy Camp…with Ed Callahan delivering a memorable moment that most won’t seem to forget…but let’s not forget Nick Reynolds wonderful high harmony…and Bob Shane’s swaggering voice on the verses…perfection…and this comes in at #15…


——stay tuned for the rest of the countdown——–



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