By Barry Gilbert
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


September 29, 2005

8 p.m. Sept. 30, 2005, at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard. $40-$45. 314-533-9900 or

Before Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, before Peter, Paul and Mary, before the folk boom of the early '60s, there was the Kingston Trio. These three young, clean-cut guys in striped shirts played guitars, banjos and bongos, and sang in three-part harmony, convincing mainstream America that it liked folk music. They also inspired a horde of similar squeaky-clean acts, among them the Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, the Brothers Four and the New Christy Minstrels. In 1957, Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard injected a sense of humor and pop sensibility into their folk covers and originals, scoring huge hits with songs such as "Scotch and Soda," "A Worried Man," "Tom Dooley" and "M.T.A." When the great John Stewart ("Daydream Believer") replaced Guard in 1961, the Trio kept rolling for six more years, recording enduring hits such as "Greenback Dollar." Changing musical and cultural trends in 1967 led to the demise of the Trio, but Shane reformed the group several years later. Today, since Shane retired after a heart attack last year, the trio is composed of George Grove, a member since 1976, and ex-Limeliters Bill Zorn and Rick Dougherty. Folk music is now scrambled with singer-songwriter, alt-country and Americana, but Charlie is still riding on that M.T.A.