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The Kingston Trio brings you anti Llewyn Davis day with five looks back at the fun side of folk music with a taste of their own run in with actual Mad Men

KINGSTON TRIO/Classic TV Performances V. 1: Once upon a time there was no MTV, there were only three networks and people still referred to TV as the ‘miracle of television' and broadcasting was just crawling out of it's infancy. If Producer A had a hot tv show and Manager B had a hot group, the two would get together and contrive an episode of the show around a contrived concert by the group. You get two of those here as Kingston Trio visits Molly Goldberg and Jack Benny, trading barbs while laying down licks giving then current songs exposure that wouldn't happen for others until decades later with satellite radio and cable networks. Totally a valentine for fans, time has passed the shows themselves by but the singing is timeless, even when pre-recorded. There's a couple of bonus things thrown in as well and it adds up to a sweet trip down memory lane.

KINGSTON TRIO/Classic TV Performances V. 2: In which we find the Trio joining in on the great digital garage sale by cleaning out the closet with some more TV spots sharing the stage with George Burns and appearing on "What's My Line". Moving beyond the pale, found in the back of the closet is the Trio's corporate presentation for 7 Up which led to a bunch of commercials for 7 Up that have pretty much been hidden in storage bins other than an airing on the Bear Family box set. Return to wonderfully sexist times featuring the Trio on a beam on a construction site and sexy girl on a hook delivers a pail of 7 Ups while they sing "It Takes a Thirsty Man". Things change and they don't but what a fun real time look at the "Mad Men" era as it's wheels were turning. Add in Shane talking about doing the commercials and Stewart talking about joining the Trio and there's another trip down memory lane for you.

DEVIL'S LAKE GOOD TIME REUNION Recorded Live: At only a minute 40 into the show, Bob Shane breaks and string and changes it mid song without missing a beat. And things get better from there as this package tour of the Trio and The Limelighters circa 1982 do a fine job of rolling out the good times. Glenn Yarbrough takes a separate billing even though he could have gone either way---solo or with band. While it is a show, it's not Vegasy in the least. Both groups have at least one ‘original' guy on board and these cats are a perfect example of Tidwell's 10,000 hours. If you want to know what Llewyn Davis might have been like if he wasn't a commie beatnik with an attitude, here's your road map to the other side of the coin. If you have a day where you're dealing with too many angry people, this is a great antidote.

FOLK MUSIC REUNION: The credits don't tell us what VHS hell this set was rescued from but it has the look and feel of a PBS or nascent cable special. With everyone that made money in the 60s in folk music on board, this peppy, snappy presentation gives a nice early 80s spotlight to 60s mainstays that were being eclipsed by hair bands as well as time and tide even if they were still vital despite the gray hair. Joining the Trio is Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, John Sebastian, Mary Travers and Brothers Four. Some of the group members take solo turns as well. While production values have changed over the years, this can be a real treat for the folk music fan/business traveler as it looks great on a laptop and will make any plane ride 80 minutes pleasanter. Fun stuff that just doesn't fall out of favor.

THERE'S A MEETING HERE TONIGHT: This set was rescued from Laserdisc Hell, circa 1981. Anyone out there remember when Laserdisc was going to be the next big thing? Nah. Pioneer gave it the old college try and this was one of the better efforts from their music department. With pretty much the same line up as "Folk Music Reunion", the Trio and the Limeliters keep delivering the goods without feeling like a dusty oldies act. The only thing that's a relic here is the reminder that laserdiscs were two sided affairs and this is a linear presentation of such. You might have other versions of the standard songs but the crew keeps it fresh. And George Grove looks like Snoopy. You can bring that up to him at a show in the future. Fun stuff that only goes to prove that they don't make em like they used to, even when it's made after they heyday has come and gone.

Volume 38/Number 52
December 22, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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