: Dear Xroads friends -
: Those of you who have been around for a while may recall that in years past I posted
: extensive reports and lots of pictures from previous KTFCs, at least until 2 or 3
: years ago.
: Well, the pictures are gone for good unless and until I can find a photo-sharing
: site that doesn't charge an arm and a leg for the ability to embed photos, as I
: mentioned in a post below from maybe 2 months ago (and henry, I will get back to you
: about your excellent comments).
: My reports tailed off because a) they involved a lot of work (with time that I could
: have spent with the friends I've made here over fifteen years) and b) they didn't
: seem to generate much interest. I do understand that; loving the KT does not
: necessitate loving FC - but the opposite is equally true. Loving FC - originally a
: project of John Stewart and his most devoted followers - does not necessarily
: require a similar reaction to the KT.
: Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of the attendees here do in fact love both,
: though I am constantly bemused when (and it happens every year) some KT fan does not
: recognize the name of or a line from a really beloved post-1967 Stewart song, or a
: JS fan has only the dimmest understanding of the KT because they came to John's
: splendid solo work only in the 1970s or 80s.
: Now I'd like to give you a picture of what is and is not happening here this week,
: but I have to start by underscoring a point that Paul Rybolt - a close friend of
: Stewart's and the man entrusted with the overall camp design and schedule for many
: years - made somewhere below.
: As far as the trademark, license, and personnel matters go - no one except the
: principals and their lawyers know anything at all whatsoever.
: I know everyone involved in this, some of them very well and for many years, and I
: know nothing definite any more than any of you do - about the dispute, at least,
: and it is in the process of being resolved.
: Moreover, I have read every single post and reply below, and I welcome the
: participation of everyone who has posted reactions, opinions, and ideas, especially
: folks who haven't posted much in a long time or people just getting involved on this
: board now.
: But friends, I have to say that virtually every speculation posted below that is not
: in the realm of fact or expression of preference is wrong, in whole or in part, and
: most of them completely erroneous. I'll give some examples below and the specific
: sources of my information that refute some of what has been guessed at below.
: But my main purpose here now, as it has always been, is to communicate as well as I
: can the overwhelmingly positive feelings generated here this year, as usual. Paul
: Rybolt and program director Art Faller have said that they wanted to make this
: year's camp the best one ever - and I have been at the last 15 of them and this one
: is most assuredly far and away the best. The quality of the musical performances -
: by camper trios, fantasy trios, and the Kingston Trio - has been astonishing , and I
: am not one inclined toward hyperbole.
: Musical highlights abound - and many of them are posted on FaceBook but cannot be
: embedded here - but specifics about those I'll save for later, except for reference
: to one and one only. I believe that this will give you some of the flavor of the
: Now of course people here are talking about all the changes, often late into the
: night, and often with some asperity. But to dispel one baseless rumor, allow me to
: describe something that happened on Wednesday night, the evening of the first camp
: The camper performances, including my trio with my long time friend Pete Bentley -
: one of the best musicians ever at this camp - and 3 or 4 time camper Albert Barker,
: a younger guy with as sweet and emotive a tenor voice as you will hear [we did
: "Everglades"] - were at least very good and most excellent. The program
: for "Trio Fantasy Camp" lists the concluding act as "A Special
: Performance By George Grove, Bill Zorn, and Rick Dougherty." The name
: "Kingston" has not been used for what I can only GUESS has something to
: do with the legalities.
: So Tom Lamb, emcee the last couple of years and one of John Stewart's best friends,
: takes center stage and announces the performance by "Our friends George, Bill,
: and Rick..." - here Tom paused and half turned from the mic, moved back to it,
: and said in that full captain's voice that is strong but neither strident nor
: shouting - "...THE KINGSTON TRIO!"
: What happened next is a memory that will last me several lifetimes. The audience
: included perhaps 150 to 200 people. Their response - EVERYONE IN THE ROOM - could
: only be described as volcanic, a Mt. St Helen's in Scottsdale. The entire crowd
: LEAPT to its feet, clapped and cheered for two full minutes as the trio took the
: stage (I timed it), and kept cheering and cheering and cheering. My throat is
: clutching as I type this. I am 67 and have never but never seen such an opening
: greeting for a performer - not the Bolshoi, not Tommy Emmanuel, not the Eagles or
: John Denver or the Beach Boys in their prime, or anyone else. It was not an act of
: defiance or anger or anything other than the overwhelming love that these folks
: here, quite possibly the longest running and fiercest of KT fans anywhere, felt for
: these three musicians and what they have done to continue, enhance, and - this is a
: very carefully chosen word - ennoble the tradition of the Kingston Trio.
: When the applause subsided, Bill Zorn - whom I first met 47 years ago and who is the
: main onstage spokesman for the group in concerts - took the mic and said in his rich
: baritone, "I would just like to correct something you may have heard that is
: not true... (pause)...WE ARE NOT 'RETIRING'."
: ...followed by another minute of standing ovation.
: The trio then immediately began a heartrendingly beautiful performance of John
: Stewart's last great song, "Jasmine."
: Thunderous applause.
: Then very uncharacteristically but with an easy confidence, George asked if there
: were any requests. Ten or fifteen song titles were shouted out, and the group
: quickly settled on "Rolling River," a song for which no video exists that
: demonstrates the absolute power of the live rendition that GBR bring to this song,
: and which (IM-notH-O) is a song that GBR absolutely own.
: Standing O #3
: They close with "Road To Freedom," a song that they do as it should have
: been done 50 years ago.
: Standing O #4, end of program.
: And that was just the first night. The next two evenings generated even more impact.
: Tales for another time.
: In sum - the camp is its usual wonderful self. We have more rumors running rampant
: here in Scottsdale than even on Xroads. Most all of them are founded on
: misinformation, half information, speculation - often ignorant speculation - and
: even desperate hopefulness. I do believe that since camp ends tonight we will have
: more clarity on some issues by tomorrow morning - and quite possibly even more next
: Over and out for now.