Kingston Trio Concert Already a Sellout
On an autumn evening in 1958, millions of Americans turned on their nightstand radios and heard the all-too-familiar hum from the bad filter capacitors and those annoying squawky bird noises drifting in from the ether.
As regular nighttime radio listeners, they weren't expecting much. Lately they'd been entertained by songs such as "26 Miles" by The Four Preps, "A Wonderful Time Up There" by Pat Boone, and "Catch a Falling Star" by Perry Como.
But then single banjo notes filled the air and someone spoke in an affable voice: "Throughout history, there've been many songs written about the eternal triangle. This next one tells the story of a Mr. Grayson, a beautiful woman, and a condemned man named Tom Dooley. When the sun rises tomorrow, Tom Dooley must hang...."
Which was followed by "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley,/Hang down your head and cry;/Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, Poor boy, you're bound to die" sung in laidback harmony accompanied by acoustic instruments.
There was no big-band production, no country twang, no raunchy rock 'n' roll. This was something new -- folk music made palatable for mainstream audiences. Listeners had heard nothing like it since the Weavers released Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene" in 1950, and they were no doubt yearning for a change, even if it hearkened back only eight years.
It's been 50 years since the Kingston Trio recorded "Tom Dooley" live at the Hungry i, and the world has yanked itself inside out 50 times since then. At 8 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at the Sunrise, the latest incarnation of the Kingston Trio will fill the old theater with familiar lyrics: "This time tomorrow,/ reckon where I'll be/ Hadn't-a been for Grayson,/ I'd-a been in Tennessee (well now, boy)."
"We didn't know how big an audience we'd get for the Kingston Trio," says David Young, chairman of the Sunrise Board, "but as soon as we announced the date, the tickets began to sell, and we were sold out a month before the concert. Obviously, we tapped into pleasurable memories with the Kingston Trio."
Certainly, the Trio made their mark in American pop culture with "Tom Dooley." They went on to release 35 albums, and the Trio is often credited with the late '50s/early '60s folk music boom. Their faces appeared on popular magazine, including Life, and performers such as the Rooftop Singers, Ian & Syliva, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Byrds, and Peter, Paul and Mary have credited the Kingston Trio as an influence.
The show begins at 8 p.m., and valet parking is available for $5.
For information on other Sunrise events, go to www.sunrisetheater.com.
Contact Stephen Smith at email@example.com.
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