The history of the tapes from which the 11 songs on this CD were drawn is fairly convoluted. In 1969, after trying to make it as a solo following the break-up of the Kingston Trio, Bob Shane put together a new group with Jim Connor and Pat Horine and tried to make a go of the New Kingston Trio, as they billed themselves. The effort only lasted three years, and Shane eventually bought out the Kingston Trio name and eventually assembled a new group with Roger Gambill and George Grove.
The New Kingston Trio did record about 30 songs, which somehow got lost in the shuffle amid the concert dates and uncertain commercial prospects. Only 12 of the songs were ever issued, in a variety of obscure locales including a Longines collection of old Kingston Trio songs. Some of the tapes turned up in a box in Pat Horine's house, and the best 11 of the songs have been assembled here.
This is a better set of songs, as a Kingston Trio-type album, than the old Trio's last official album for Decca. The music has a lingering early-1960's folk earnestness, but it also displays a good sense of modern production and aesthetic sensibilities. The songs are more personal, and more topical than the old Trio's work, and some passages here sound more like the work of such younger contemporaries as Poco than they do the work of musical descendants of Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds. Some of the earnestness wears thin -- the anti-gun song "Peace Loving Gentleman" has a nice melody and some good lyrics, but it tends to pound its message home; the same problem afflicts "Oldest Living Son," a good anti-war song that's just a little over-the-top, as though the new group is trying to show that it can compete with songs like CSNY's "Ohio." But it's followed by the comical "Rubber Car," which recalls Michael Nesmith's zanier solo numbers, and eerily enough, "Sold American" has a message that's maybe more relevant today than it was in 1970, about jobs and people. It's a good collection, and a worthy addition to any serious collections of the Kingston Trio.