Monday, December 24, 2012


YEAR:  1959
LABEL:  Capitol
TRACK LISTING:  M.T.A.,  All My Sorrows,  Blow Ye Winds,  Corey Corey,  The Seine,  I Bawled,  Good News,  Getaway John,  The Long Black Rifle,  Early in the Morning,  Scarlet Ribbons,  Remember the Alamo
IMPRESSIONS:  Since my mother was a huge Kingston Trio fan as a teenager (she had even seen them in concert), I always had available to me the complete run of Kingston Trio albums of the Dave Guard and subsequent John Stewart eras.  The Dave Guard years are certainly the definitive incarnation of the band and, while the John Stewart years have much to recommend them, the Trio was mightiest with the line-up of Dave Guard, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds.  Here we have their fourth album which rocketed to number one and was incidentally their first album in stereophonic sound.  Included are a wide range of song subjects from sea shanties to gospel spirituals to western to French to Appalachian to contemporary humour.  The lead-off track "M.T.A." is a contemporary rewrite of a traditional folk song (a common practice in the entire history of folk music) which describes the tragic fate of a man who rides forever on the Massachusetts Transit Authority subway because he cannot pay the nickel he owes for the fare; this song was a surprising top 20 hit single in 1959.  The strength of the Kingston Trio was not in strict archival preservation of folk music performed with rigid authenticity but instead was the wide dissemination and rescue of old folk songs which may have disappeared from memory had not the Kingston Trio (and those early folkies like them) popularized them in the 1950s; most folk music stars of the 1960's (including Bob Dylan himself) count themselves as early Kingston Trio fans.  Every single Trio album of the Dave Guard years is a classic and "AT LARGE" is one more of them.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  M.T.A.,  All My Sorrows,  Blow Ye Winds,  Corey Corey,  The Seine,  I Bawled,  Good News,  The Long Black Rifle,  Early in the Morning,  Scarlet Ribbons
FACT SHEET:  AT LARGE is the Kingston Trio's fourth album.  The album spent 15 weeks at number one and was one of four consecutive albums to appear in the Billboard top ten that year.  It was the first Kingston Trio album in stereo.  AT LARGE was certified gold and is the biggest selling Kingston Trio album except for a greatest hits "THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO".  "AT LARGE" won the first Grammy Award for "Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording" and was nominated for "Best Vocal Group or Chorus".  It is also the first album to feature David "Buck" Wheat on bass; a collaboration that would continue until 1961.  Polls in both Billboard and Cashbox voted the Kingston Trio the "Best Group of the Year for 1959". 

No comments:

Post a Comment