I take Bob Shane at his word. From his statement we can guess that he made a promise to Nick Reynolds: “It was Nick Reynolds’ and my fondest hope that Josh and Mike would carry on the Trio and family legacy.” – Bob Shane. Posted on Crossroads by Josh Reynolds on 8/7/2017, 4:07 pm.
The Shanes money problems answer the question, “Why now?”
We also know:
“…Bob initiated the process.” – excerpt from a post on Crossroads by Bert Williams on 11/17/2017, 3:32 pm, in reply to "Re: A Thought..."
I conclude that Bob did want Josh to take over and that’s not just a publicity comment. Otherwise, as others have suggested, he might have taken bids to lease the name and gotten more money.
Bob does take a % of the concert revenue. From Bert Williams we have pretty solid background on the deal:
“There were two conditions in the Agreement relative to how Bob and Bobbie were to create income: (1) A lump initial sum; (2) a percentage of all gig proceeds for the duration of the contract timeframe. Bob needed to provide for his family and getting both the lump sum initially plus the other gives them a way to create steady income going forward.” - Posted by Bert Williams on Crossroads 10/24/2017, 6:28 pm, in reply to "Re: Bob Shane's challenge in '88 or '89..."
Here’s my pure conjecture:
My guess is that Bob’s finances improved after the deal was struck and he wanted out. Bob thought he could get Josh to cancel the agreement. That explains why GBR were never told – Bob hoped to terminate the contract and continue with GBR. In the end Josh wouldn’t cancel the deal and sued to force the Shanes to honor the contract.
I don’t see a bad guy here. It’s unfortunate that GBR didn’t get more notice, but if I am guessing correctly, that’s just how it worked out. As others have pointed out, it would have been the Shanes responsibility to inform GBR up until the takeover.
I hold no animosity to Josh. The lawsuit was required to ensure the contract was followed. The stuff online about how great they are is just standard publicity. Many are deriding the use of one mike. I saw Tommy Emmanuel with David Grissman, Trey Hensley and Rob Ickes last week. They used one mike for all vocals and that included duo and (I think) trio performances in the encore.
Bottom line, if I had been in Josh’s shoes, and offered a chance to perform as the Kingston Trio, I might have done the same thing.
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