Musical throwback: the Kingston Trio

Worried Man was a song in the repertoire of the late Les Green, and the Green Family Singers

Dustbury reported: “There’s a dispute now over which of two competing musical groups is the actual Kingston Trio.” This is not that unusual for a group of its vintage.

The group was formed in San Francisco in the late 1950s with Dave Guard (d. 1991), Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds (d. 2008). Guard left in 1961, and was replaced by John Stewart (d. 2008). They disbanded in 1968, but Shane started a New Kingston Trio, and after that it gets murky to me.

I had forgotten how massively successful the Kingston Trio was, especially early on. They had only #1 single, but six of their first seven albums went to #1, and the other went to #2.

The eponymous first album (1958), which contained the big hit Tom Dooley, as #1 for only a week. But it was in the Top 40 for 114 weeks, and the Top 200 for 195 weeks.

From the hungry i (1959) , which is a nightclub in San Francisco, “only” went to #2, but was Top 40 for 47 weeks, and Top 200 for 178 weeks

The Kingston Trio at Large (1959) was #1 for an amazing 15 weeks, in the Top 40 for 43 weeks, and in the Top 200 for 118 weeks. It won the Grammy for best folk album.

Here We Go Again (1959) was #1 for eight weeks, spent 40 weeks in the Top 40, and 126 weeks in the Top 200.

Sold Out (1960) hit #1 for 12 weeks, residing in the Top 40 for 42 weeks and in the Top 200 for 73 weeks.

String Along (1960) was their last #1 album, hanging there for 10 weeks, 27 weeks in the Top 40 and 60 weeks in the Top 200.

After two albums that reached the lower half of Top 20, the Kingston Trio had one album, Make Way! (1961) hit #2, three albums hit #3, one hit #4, and three albums, including The Best of the Kingston Trio (1962), hit #7 in the period 1961 to 1963.

The first six albums and the Best of all sold over a half million copies each.

Listen to:

Tom Dooley, #1 in 1958 HERE or HERE
The Tijuana Jail, #12 in 1959 HERE or HERE
M.T.A., #15 in 1959 HERE or HERE
Worried Man*, #20 in 1959 HERE or HERE

*This was a song in the repertoire of the late Les Green, and the Green Family Singers

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “Musical throwback: the Kingston Trio”

  1. I so remember those LPs. These guys taught me how to play guitar, along with so many of my generation. Of course, in my generation there were only three kinds of people: guitar players, guitarists, and guitar owners. Most of got it from the K3. Thanks for the memories, Roger. – M

  2. The Four Preps’ “More Money for You and Me,” a six-minute live spectacular, has the boys imitating (and dumping on) several rival musical groups, including the Kingston Trio. After a verse of “Worried Man,” they invent a story about Fidel Castro encountering, and then hanging, the KT, to the tune of “Tom Dooley”:

    “Hang down the Kingston Trio,
    Hang ’em from a tall oak tree;
    Eliminate the Kingston Trio,
    More money for you and me.”

    Bob Shane, incidentally, recorded “Honey” before Bobby Goldsboro got hold of it.

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