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The Passing of Bob Shane

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Jan 27, 2020 - 6:25:52 AM
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4559 posts since 3/6/2006

Bob Shane, the last surviving member of the Kingston Trio, passed away yesterday, six days shy of his 86th birthday. The original trio (Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds, and Bob) were arguably the driving force of the "folk era" of the late 50's/early 60's, and the reason why so many of us of that generation picked up the guitar and banjo. Bob's preference for Martin Guitars was a significant factor in that company's growth and success over the following years. No need to elaborate further:

Jan 27, 2020 - 8:05:39 AM
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3829 posts since 3/11/2004

Thanks for sharing this sad news. Yes, the original Kingston Trio sent many of us off to learn to play guitar and banjo in the 60s.


Jan 27, 2020 - 10:27:13 AM



495 posts since 5/29/2018

Scotch and soda, mud in your eye............

Goodbye old friend, goodbye.

Jan 27, 2020 - 10:48:01 AM

1058 posts since 12/2/2013

To be honest, the legacy of the KIngston Trio is mixed, depending on to whom you talk. Folkies and soft rock enthusiasts revered them, along with Pete Seeger, Doc Watson, Cisco Houston, Merle Travis, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, New Lost City Ramblers, Peter Paul & Mary, Ian& Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot and yes, Bob Dylan, and so many others; more traditional enthusiasts of country music, disliked them for the popularization and "trivialization," a watering down of that rural culture. Yet so many of us cut our eye teeth on people like Tony Saletan, Bob Gibson, Roscoe Holcomb, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe, all of whom opened our eyes, ears and hearts to a musical tradition that spoke to our souls. So, God bless you Bob Shane, for how you brought so many of us to love that sort of music. Who we'll anoint for carrying that legacy forward 30 years from only God knows, but there will be some one.

Edited by - flyingsquirrelinlay on 01/27/2020 10:49:14

Jan 27, 2020 - 11:23:43 AM
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Lew H


2530 posts since 3/10/2008

RIP, Bob! I started into folk/oldtime because of the Kingston Trio. I later figured out that they were not "real folk," and plunged into researching traditional folk songs and learning some of them from friends and acquaintances. Still I have to be thankful to the Kingston Trio. And I have to be thankful that my brother brought home from his army stint those reel-to-reel tapes of KT LPs. I played them every day for a year.

Jan 27, 2020 - 12:09:09 PM



495 posts since 5/29/2018

Dad had an old spare-parts computer set up in the shop so he could escape the sound of the TV when Mom's programs came on. When Dad passed Mom asked me to clear out the shop. I booted up the computer and was surprised to find a Kingston Trio disk in the CD drive.

When LP's replaced 78's one of the first albums my parents bought to play on the new hifi was KT's first album. It was the first music I learned to sing and play. It was the last music my Dad ever listened to.

Jan 27, 2020 - 12:16:52 PM
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50672 posts since 10/5/2013

RIP Bob Shane. His opening notes on the banjo on Tom Dooley got me interested in banjo,, as did Dave Guard’s playing. My older brother had a bunch of KT albums. “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss”.....I remember it like yesteryear

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/27/2020 12:19:22

Jan 27, 2020 - 12:42:33 PM

3961 posts since 11/29/2005

That's a shame.

I still have most (I think) of their early LP's, and am planning on burning them to my iTunes file. TKT, along with PP&M were my introduction to folk music and the guitar when I was in High School.

Jan 27, 2020 - 1:17:05 PM
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Paul R


12927 posts since 1/28/2010

RIP Bob Shane and condolences to his family and friends. The KT did inspire people to go further, but they were under no illusion that they were hardcore folkies. They saw themselves as entertainers first, and that's a good perspective on their part. Bob kept the KT franchise going and eventually stepped out of the spotlight. The KT had many personnel changes over the years.

Jan 27, 2020 - 1:48:35 PM
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1316 posts since 11/15/2010

We all owe Bob and his bandmates a debt of gratitude because a lot of us would have never discovered the banjo or acoustic music if we hadn't heard the Trio.  They made the music accessible. Pick up a guitar or banjo, and give it a try. Of course, one of the Trio's gifts was making the music sound easier than it was, but it was - and still is - a helluva lot of fun to play that music.  

Bob's voice was the male voice of the folk era. Such versatility. He could go from an Appalachian murder ballad, to a Broadway show tune, to a sea shanty, to a Tahitian ditty without missing a beat. His rhythm guitar playing was rock solid, but his rhythm playing on the plectrum banjo (Chicago tuning) is often overlooked. For those who got a chance to meet Bob, he was a class act. He was always available to fans before and after concerts and always ready to answer whatever questions they had.  Very funny guy, too. 

He was the last surviving member of the original (1957-67) Kingston Trio. Dave Guard died in 1991, and Nick Reynolds and John Stewart died in 2008.

Paul is on the money. The Trio never claimed to be authentic folkies. Therefore, it made no sense for anyone to vilify them for not being something they never claimed to be. One of the great ironies is that a lot of the hard-core folkies who castigated the Trio the most made an awful lot of money off the folk boom that the Trio started with "Tom Dooley."

Watch this video of the Trio performing "M.T.A." No lip-synching for them. Notice the energy and stage presence.  Look at how young they are. Damn, where did the years ago?


Edited by - Joe Connor on 01/27/2020 13:59:24

Jan 27, 2020 - 2:55:42 PM
Players Union Member



12079 posts since 6/30/2015

RIP Bob. The KT was my introduction to the music, and to entertainment. They were about the audience, and that has been my goal in whatever entertainment venue I perform in.

Jan 27, 2020 - 3:24:35 PM

2534 posts since 4/16/2003

So long, Bob.
You had a great life.

The Kingston Trio was the primary reason I got interested in the banjo back around 1964. I got to see Bob with Nick Reynolds and John Stewart a few times. So long ago...

Jan 27, 2020 - 5:07:30 PM

300 posts since 2/27/2004

I was introduced to the KT back in 1960 when my brother came home from his first year at Univ of Texas, trying to learn to play his Ode longneck. I was hooked on the Trio. And I still am. I have many of their songs on my iPhone, listening to them when I walk. Playing along with them on my guitar or banjo. I’m not very good at it but enjoy trying. My first Martin was a new, 1967 D28 that I bought in Austin for $245.00! It’s what Bob played. Love the old folk music days of the late ‘50’s and ‘60’s.

RIP Bob Shane
RIP Nick Reynolds
RIP Dave Guard
And John Stewart

Great music that I sorely miss.

Jan 28, 2020 - 1:47:17 PM
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2208 posts since 11/29/2005

One of the finest voices ever. Smooth and rich.

Jan 28, 2020 - 1:53:53 PM

55002 posts since 12/14/2005

First heard them when I was 14, and that's who I wanted to be when I grew up.

Haven't grown up, yet, but did grow significantly older, and learned most of their songs.

Played their version of "When I'm On My Journey" for the funeral of the uncle who gave me his old Slingerland banjo.

I'll play it at home, alone, for Bob.

Jan 28, 2020 - 3:00:55 PM

2534 posts since 4/16/2003

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