Thursday, September 27, 2012

Capitol T996 - The Kingston Trio

The origin of my Comparative Video 101 blog and all that it has led to, including my co-host spot on  KPFK radio's Roots Music And Beyond show, performances with the Chad Mitchell Trio's Joe Frazier, George Grove of the Kingston Trio and Art Podell of Art and Paul and the New Christy Minstrels, a "professorship" at the KT at Fantasy Camp, and much much more, was in a couple of innocent postings I made on the KT message board in May and June of 2008. I'd found in the still fairly early days of YouTube that there were several interesting and different versions of "Scotch and Soda" and "Tom Dooley" on the video site, so I embedded them in separate posts with a few comments. Well, a lot of readers seemed to enjoy the idea and the KT board didn't archive, so I saved them on this blog and began to do more and more of them, hitting a stretch of 28 consecutive weeks at one point in 2009 - no mean feat considering that I was working both daytime and evening teaching jobs and was usually writing the damn things after I got home at 10pm on Thursday nights.

Nearly 4 1/2 years later and with 173 articles/posts - after battling through copyright issues with Capitol and profiting from the exponential growth of YouTube with thousands of people uploading videos of songs and performances - I reached a milestone of sorts a couple of weeks back. With the publication of the September 15th piece on "Fast Freight,"  the CompVid101 blog now has a separate article on each of the 12 songs on the original Kingston Trio's self-titled first album, the legendary Capitol T996 - a record that reached #1 on Billboard's album charts in late 1958 and stayed in the Top 100 for 195 weeks, unheard of in those early days of LPs.

This wouldn't have been possible in 2008 when this blog began - given the approach I've taken of picking a KT song, writing about it, and then presenting a number of alternate versions. My recent "Banua" post wouldn't have been possible until about a month ago, when within five days two cover versions of the KT arrangement appeared, giving me the four alternates I've regarded as the minimum. And I doubt that it will be possible for any other single album by the group - there will always be a song or two on each of the rest that only the Trio ever recorded. I've had 10 song articles from the At Large album for over a year but despair of finding cover versions of two worthy songs, "The Seine" and the silly but fun "I Bawled."

Some of these posts are pretty pedestrian, and some of the songs on this, my favorite KT album 1A with Here We Go Again, deserve better treatment than I was able to give them in the early years (and I may get back to them and give them an upgrade). Some, on the other hand, I think are really good - I'd nominate "Bay of Mexico," "Saro Jane," and "Coplas" as the best of this lot.

It's been quite a bit of really enjoyable work, and I hope it's been an equally enjoyable ride for the few hundred people who click and read here on CompVid101 and on Kingston Crossroads. As always, I thank all for the attention and for sharing my enthusiasm for this great music.

The Kingston Trio
Capitol T996
Recorded February 2-4, 1958
Released June 2, 1958

Side A

Three Jolly Coachmen

Bay of Mexico


Tom Dooley

Fast Freight

Hard, Ain't It Hard

Side B

Saro Jane

Sloop John B

Santy Anno

Scotch and Soda


Little Maggie

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