I was saddened to read today that Nick Reynolds, one of the co-founders of The Kingston Trio, passed away this week.
I spent countless hours growing up listening to the group, playing my parents' version of Live from the Hungry I over and over.
Their cover of Terry Jacks's "Seasons in the Sun" always puts a not in my throat, and I learned the months of the year from listening to their Christmas album. ("What month was my Jesus born in? Last month of the year...") I used to love how that album had non-traditional Christmas carols from around the world.
The Trio's best known hit was, of course, "Tom Dooley," an elegiac little narrative that probably paved my way to becoming a Johnny Cash fan in the way that it left unexplained the darker impulses of human nature and saw the true conflict being the conflict within, with ourselves.
There was even something cathartic about the "damn" in "Greenback Dollar."
I don't suppose Nick Reynolds's passing will get the attention of, say, Paul Newman's. I make no claim to the notion that The Kingston Trio revolutionized music or changed the industry. But they didn't brighten my life with their music, and that's not a bad legacy.
Postscript: Here's a YouTube of Reynolds and company singing "MTA" (kudos to Beth Rambo for the link):