Go to The LINER NOTES homepage . . . From the "Hungry i"
Capitol T-1107
CD Reissue: Initially released by Capitol Records in 1992, KINGSTON TRIO / . . . FROM THE HUNGRY I was the first of four "Special Double Play" CD reissues of the eight Kingston Trio premiere LP releases of Guard era material (NOTE: The Trio's Christmas album, The Last Month of the Year," had been released as a solo-CD reissue in 1989.) With the exception of , KINGSTON TRIO / . . . FROM THE HUNGRY I, by the middle-late 90s all of these very desirable CDs had been withdrawn by Capitol, and disappeared from music store shelves.
In 1997, all of the tracks from THE KINGSTON TRIO were included in "
The Guard Years" 10-CD box set from Bear Family Records.
In June, 2001 Collector's Choice Records reissued
KINGSTON TRIO / . . . FROM THE HUNGRY I as a two-album CD.
LP Reissue: > > > FROM THE HUNGRY I remained in general release in various forms around the world for many years.

Recording Sessions: August 15 and 16, 1958
Original LP Record Release: January 5, 1959.
Confirmed Format(s): LP record (Capitol T-1107 (monaural only); Open-Reel Tape; 8-Track Tape Cartridge; CD (Capitol CDP 7 96748 2 & Collector's Choice .) This album has also probably been released in 4-Track Tape Cartridge and Tape Cassette formats.

Last revised:March 30, 2006.

 

. . . From the hungry i:

In a spirited performance recorded live at
San Francisco's famous "Hungry i"
The Kingston Trio sings these songs with the delightfully engaging quality heard in their famous hit, Tom Dooley -- included in their first album, "The Kingston Trio." All three -- Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds -- are heard on guitar; Dave and Bob double on banjo, and Nick on bongos and conga drums.

All the roars, handclapping, and cheers of the audience are heard in this recording, and, after playing it, you too may well join in with cries of "More!" Fortunately, you are in a position to repeat the performance.

SIDE ONE:
The Kingston Trio has chosen this material with an ear to wide variety. Starting with
Tic, Tic, Tic -- a sly bit of nonsense -- the group moves on into Gue', Gue', a French lullaby whose beauty leaves the audience hushed and hanging on every phrase.

There's the gypsy-tinged Dorie, and the well-known South Coast, with its haunting darkness: the romping Zombie Jamboree that won a contest for calypsonian, Lord Invader; and an untempo Zulu hunting chant, Wimoweh.

SIDE TWO:
The other side leads off with the amusingly philosophical
New York Girls, followed by one of the album's highlights, They Call the Wind Maria. The Trio's new dress for this standard includes counter rhythms, shifting keys, and varied tempos which, combined with the vocal solo, build the number into an expression of great feeling.

Listening to The Merry Minuet, you'll discover that the astute ex-collegians have used Space Age as the basis for a wry comment on current civilization. The Appalachian Mountains are the source of Shady Grove, and Lonesome Traveler -- which are sung as a medley. Then, all too soon, comes the final song, When the Saints Go Marching In. It is sung in a driving style that provides an exciting finale for the performance.

Produced by Voyle Gilmore


The Kingston Trio was organized in 1956, by Dave Guard, a graduate student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and Menlo College pals, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds. Guard and Shane were reared in Hawaii, and became interested in music when they were seven. Besides the native songs of the islands, they learned music of other Polynesian areas from visiting yachtsmen and travelers. Reynolds, who was born in Coronado, California, was taught a variety of folk songs by his father, a Navy captain.

The Trio's first professional engagement was in May, 1957, at a Stanford campus hangout. Frank Werber, now their personal manager, heard them there, and got them a tryout booking in San Francisco's Purple Onion club. They soon became headliners, and remained 10 months, leaving to fulfill engagements at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago, and the Village Vanguard, and Blue Angel in New York. A few television appearances were sandwiched in, and the Trio also played the Surf Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu. During the following summer, the group came into the "Hungry i" for a run that continued into the fall. Their repertoire included the songs that have made them famous, and are heard in this album.


Newcomers to the "Hungry i" are always curious about the name. It originated seven years ago when Enrico Banducci launched the predecessor of the present club. Himself a violinist, and baritone singer, Banducci was well aware of the economic problems confronting many of the city's struggling musicians, writers, and painters. Determined to create a haven for the hungry intellectual (whence the "Hungry i"), Banducci fixed the door charge for his basement bistro at 25 cents, and made it a rule that free sandwiches and bean salad were set out on an accessible table each evening. Meals, beer, and wine were available for the affluent patrons! Both the prosperous and financially embarrassed could watch the stage show, which in the beginning consisted only of a young and unknown ballad singer, Stan Wilson.

The public response finally became so great that the club had to seek larger quarters. In 1953, it moved around the corner to its present site, a basement that previously housed an elaborate Chinese restaurant. The Boys' manager, Frank Werber (also "Hungry i" publicist), maintains it took weeks of work on the new room to establish the bohemian appearance that distinguished the original spa.

There was plenty of space for Banducci to create the sort of club he long had envisioned. When he was through arranging the underground rectangle (the word "square" is never mentioned in connection with the "Hungry i"!) he had four spots in one. The dining room is on one side, the bar and cocktail lounge on another. The third side is "The Other Room," where usually a singer or silversmith or pianist or painter vies with the current display of contemporary art for patrons' attention. It is not unusual, however, to find the customers more interested in chitchat and their aperitifs than aught else.

The heart of the club is the Showroom, which nestles in the center of the rectangle and is designed as an intimate theater. The audience sits in canvas director's chairs, arranged so the focus of attention is the performer's platform that projects from the bare brick wall at the room's end. The lighting and sound systems are excellent, and the waiters, who operate from a service bar, move quietly.

Rising costs of operation and talent have made the two-bit door charge of the old "i" a fond memory. Mink and diamonds, evening dresses and expensive suits are no longer a novelty among the throngs that stream into the establishment. And they see such "names" as Mort Sahl, Stan Wilson, Tom Leher, Annette Warren, Shelly Berman, Kaye Ballard, Josh White, The Gateway Singers, and -- The Kingston Trio.

RUSS WILSON
(Mr. Wilson writes the Oakland Tribune's "World of Jazz" and "Needle Talk" columns

 

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Last revised:March 30, 2006.