The Kingston Trio Place
George Grove's First Recordings With The Kingston Trio
In 1976, shortly after Bill Zorn's departure, The Kingston Trio recruited George Grove to fill the third-member position. Per The Kingston Trio On Record, pages 133-135:
But as Bob and Roger mulled over a replacement for Bill Zorn, George Grove was the person that kept coming into Roger's mind. The story of how George auditioned for and came to join the Trio is best told by George himself:
"When the time came to replace Bill Zorn, Roger remembered me and asked if I would be interested. I went down to Atlanta where both Bob and Roger live and just sat down in front of the fireplace, had some beer, picked a few songs and had a lot more beer, set the instruments down and had some more beers and sang and talked and realized that we all enjoyed each other... I joined the group in Chicago at the Mill Run Theatre. It was the first time with the group and I listened for several weeks to what Bill Zorn was playing with the group and the approach the group had towards performing, and the first of December (1976) was the first concert. It was in Louisville, Kentucky... a private party, and that was the first show that I actually did on stage with them."
Another reason that the timing of Bill's departure and George's arrival was fortuitous was the fact that the Trio's efforts to obtain recording contracts, after two years of work, were just beginning to pay off. They felt that it was best that the group going into the recording studios be the group that would be performing the songs on stage in the future. And so it was that the first recording session of this latest Kingston Trio occurred shortly after George joined the group. Three songs were recorded at what became known as the K-Tel session: Tom Dooley, Greenback Dollar and Where Have All The Flowers Gone. There were apparently no residual royalties from the session, with the Trio just being paid a fee for the session in exchange for releasing all control over the songs. It may have been a decision for later regrets, as it appears to be a recording session that the Trio would just as soon forget ever happened.
First of all, the performances were weak. Although the musicianship was fine, George had just joined the Trio, and it showed. But Bob and Roger did no better. The recordings sound to be exactly what they are, a "one-night-stand" for a quick buck. But no matter, The Kingston Trio (not the "New" Kingston Trio) was back in the recording studio for the first time in nearly a decade and could truthfully tell appreciative live audiences they were recording again. Besides which, it appeared that K-Tel promised that the recordings would only be used in foreign markets, and with no foreign tours in the offing, who cared what might be sold overseas?
Initially there appeared to be no problem as none of the K-Tel recordings were heard in the U.S. In 1978, K-Tel even came out with an LP of folk music titled GOODTIME MUSIC, which featured the Kingston Trio singing those three songs, but the cuts used were the old original tracks licensed from Capitol, with Capitol being credited on the jacket. But strangely, the European release of the same LP, which was released a year earlier, had only two of the three songs on it, with Where Have All The Flowers Gone missing from it, and the other two tracks being those from the K-Tel session. Credits on the European version are given to S.J. Productions, Inc. Why the difference? Probably because of some quirk in the license agreement with Capitol in the U.S. Where the no-additional-licesne-or-royalty K-Tel tracks could be legally used, they were, but this didn't explain the exclusion of Where Have All The Flowers Gone from the non-U.S. version of this LP.
But this version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone was certainly not overlooked in other respects, and next appeared as the B side of a single released on the Rebound label in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The K-Tel Tom Dooley was the A side of this release, and both sides of this disc were noted to have been
manufactured "by Total Records, 549 Homer, Vancouver, Canada by agreement with Key Seven Music."
Interestingly too, the K-Tel version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone was the first, and so far the only one of the K-Tel tracks to appear on a domestically released LP. As of this writing, it has appeared on three various artists compilations, LOOKIN' BACK (Columbia House), THE AMERICAN DREAM (Imperial House) and 24 GREAT HEARTBREAKERS & TEARJERKERS (Excelsior). Strangely too, although S.J. Productions is given publisher credits on LOOKIN' BACK, it is Imperial Music, Inc., that gets the publisher credits on THE AMERICAN DREAM. And who are Rebound, Total and Key Seven Music? Who knows? Who cares?
But what may be the most distressing use of these three songs is their inclusion on the Italian produced LP LA GRANDE STORIA DEL ROCK (LEGENDS OF ROCK). In additon to these three K-Tel tracks, the balance of that album is an abridged version of the first record from ONCE UPON A TIME. (See, "Re-issued, Rumored & Unreleased" for additional details.) Perhaps needless to say, this mixing of the works of these two very different Trios without any apparent attempt at explanation, unless it is somewhere there in the Italian liner notes, can only be an irritant and an affront to both Trios.
As an interesting aside, the K-Tel track of Green-back Dollar, has the "damn" replaced with a guitar stroke, not in the same fashion, but with the same effect as in the original Capitol 45. Why this was done fifteen years after the original controversy over the word is indeed strange, particularly with the Trio today using memories of that earlier censorship as one of their standard joke lines. But for the devoted collector, it certainly provides another oddity.
Our good friend, Jerry Kergan, of Liner Notes, has provided The Kingston Trio Place with these three K-Tel songs to share with Kingston Trio Fans with his following explanation:
Earlier this week I stopped in at a local used record store yesterday, to kill a little time while Jen visited the gym at the 'Y', I found what I thought to be just another addition to the growing list of Once Upon A Time (OUAT) rip-offs (pictured below.) For $2.00 I couldn't pass it up. It turns out the album is the Italian issue, "La grande Storia del Rock #67" that was written up in "The Kingston Trio On Record" (KTOR-page 134) as containing the three "K-Tel Tracks": Tom Dooley, Greenback Dollar and Where have all the Flowers Gone. My copy is in almost unplayed condition, so I get faithful reproduction of the poor, substandard, quality recordings as outlined it KTOR. However these tracks may be of archival interest as there appear to be George Grove's first with the Trio.
Many thanks to Jerry Kergan for sharing his find with Kingston Trio Fans!
For an in-depth informational source of Kingston Trio information, please visit
Jerry Kergan's Liner Notes Website
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