The licensing and reissue gurus at Collectors' Choice Music wisely picked up this Kingston Trio two-fer, which Capitol Records originally released in 1992 before deleting it from their catalog several years later. As the Kingston Trio at Large (1959) and Here We Go Again! (1959) collectively occupied the top spot on the 1959 LP chart for half the year, it goes without saying that Bob Shane (guitar/banjo/vocals), Nick Reynolds (guitar/vocals) and Dave Guard (guitar/vocals) are heard at the peak of their popularity. While remarkable by modern standards, Kingston Trio at Large was actually the combo's third long player of the year. And it was only June! A few of the Trio's all-time classics can be found here, beginning with the jaunty politically incorrect opener "M.T.A.." The chorus' singalong-ability factor ("Oh, did he ever return...No, he never returned...") was no doubt key in making it a Top 15 pop hit (b/w "All My Sorrows"). The platter also includes a host of other staples, such as Shane's arrangement of the calypso-flavored favorite "I Bawled" and the first appearance of "Scarlet Ribbons" on a Kingston Trio LP. By comparison, the single version sounds totally different and had been created specifically for use in CBS-TV's Playhouse 90 presentation of Rumors of Evening. The overwhelming success of the Kingston Trio at Large was sealed when it scored the band their third gold platter and second Grammy for Best Folk Performance of 1959. Less than four months after the release of At Large, they sent the aptly monikered Here We Go Again! to the uppermost of the album survey for an impressive eight weeks. Plus, "A Worried Man" (b/w "San Miguel") soared into the Top 20 with its Appalachian and gospel-infused melody. As always, the collection covered a wide spectrum, from the achingly lovely rendition of "Across the Wide Missouri," to the dramatic license incorporated into the "Unforgettable Miss Bailey," or the more than slightly silly "Goober Peas." The Kingston Trio at Large and Here We Go Again! two-fer has three bonus tracks: an alternate of "A Worried Man" and the non-LP single "The Tijuana Jail" b/w "Oh Cindy."
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer