The first-ever compilation of the Kingston Trio's work, issued as part of Capitol's Starline series, was also one of the better of numerous assemblies of their hits and notable songs that have appeared across the decades. Originally a 12-song LP (but reissued as a ten-song platter in 1980), the content ranges across the group's history, not in strict chronological order but encompassing the highlights of both the original trio (Dave Guard/Nick Reynolds/Bob Shane) and the second lineup (with John Stewart replacing Guard). Starting with "Tom Dooley," the material takes us right up to "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" -- which was sort of a re-establishing hit for the group early in 1962 -- and even finds room for the group original "Take Her Out of Pity." The latter wasn't a hit single, but was an immensely popular song among younger listeners at summer camps, and its presence here demonstrates just how thoroughly the trio had woven itself into American popular culture -- and how prepared Capitol Records was to embrace this side of their appeal -- by 1962. What's here may not be as loud as some of the rock & roll that more people remember from the years 1958-1962, but it tells us just as much about what was on the mind of white, middle-class America in that era. And it's still great listening and a fine introduction to the group, beautifully understated where it needs to be and boisterous and fun at the right moments. And it wouldn't have made a bad CD, either.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder