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Kingston Trio Release Cisco Single!

String Along

Probably the most heard Cisco compostion performed by another singer or group was "Bad Man's Blunder." (A Dollar Down was recorded by The Limeliters but was not a hue success.) When Cisco lay dying, it was released on String Along by the Kingston Trio. Here is some content I "borrowed" from somewhere.

String Along has the most unusual sound of any Kingston Trio album, mostly by virtue of the crisp mixing and voicing of the instruments -- guitars and banjo all appear in very high relief, matching the attention usually reserved for the voices on the Kingston Trio's records. The result is a somewhat quieter record, without much presence of the familiar unified group sound, as the individual members are relied upon more than the ensemble singing on many of the songs. One of the few exceptions is "Buddy Better Got On Down the Line," which has the sound that one associates with past Trio recordings. But it's a true exception on an album that has other highlights such as oddities like the Trio's surprisingly strong rendition of Ray Charles' "Leave My Woman Alone." Though no one could have realized it at the time, String Along was very close to the tail end of the original Kingston Trio's history -- Dave Guard was losing interest in arguing over the direction of the group; and although their albums were still selling well and steadily, String Along (which hit number one) would yield the original group's last two charting singles. Bad Man's Blunder, which also opens this album, became the original Kingston Trio's final Top 40 single. It was cut by the Trio and issued as a single as a favor to composer Cisco Houston who was in the hospital and terminally ill. Other songs were done for more mundane reasons -- according to Benjamin Blake, Jack Rubek, and Allan Shaw in their book The Kingston Trio on Record, the English folk-style "The Escape of Old John Webb" was featured on the album in the hope of helping to persuade EMI Records in England to promote the Trio's albums more vigorously.

From Jerry Kergan, whose The Kingston Trio LINER NOTES web site seems to have disappeared.

The Kingston Trio recorded Houston's "Bad Man Blunder" in 1960, at the high-point of their career. The song was released as a single (5-30-1960) with "Escape of Old John Webb" on the "B" side. This single charted at #37. "Bad Man Blunder" was subsequently issued on the Trio's next LP, "String Along" (7-25-1960.) The LP was certified "Gold" by the RIAA on 6-27-62. The choice to record this Houston song in the manner here-described was motivated by Houston's poor health at the time. The Trio wanted to do something for this artist who had contributed so much to the folk movement, but had somehow failed to receive the commercial recognition one would expect for a talent of his magnitude. Houston received significant royalties from the success of this song at a time when the money was much needed.

The Reuben JamesFrom James Moran:

There is one interesting KT connection especially with Cisco - their decision to include "Badman Ballad" (which they called "Badman's Blunder") on their 1960 "String Along" album -- when they were at their unprecedented peak of popularity, with four albums in the top ten at the same time, the first NINE albums going gold -- resulted in part from Cisco's illness. I had this first hand from Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio, who died Oct.1 and whom I got to spend time with over the last six years. Cisco and Lee Hays shared copyright for the song, and since Trio albums were selling around half a million units per album -- the royalties to songwriters were really substantial. Reynolds told me that (as I had heard) they intended on including "Badman" on a later album (they did three or four per year!) but rushed it onto "String Along" so that the royalties would help Houston with his costly medical expenses.

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