Those of you that are Kingston Trio die hards know that the Stewart Trio disbanded in July of 1967. You might know that Bob played a few gigs as a duo with both Travis Edmondson and then David Peel, but also recorded two Decca 45's in late 67/early 68 that were released in test markets only but never nationally--- and there was no solo LP ever released. By sometime in 1969 Bob had put together "The Shane Gang" which quickly morphed into what would become The New Kingston Trio. So up until now, most of us thought the only four songs ever recorded as solos by Bob between the end of the Stewart Trio and the start of The New Kingston Trio were those two 45's. For the record, those songs were "Honey" and "I Don't Think of You Anymore" (written by Bobby Russell)----"Weepin Annaleah (written by Mickey Newbury) and "Simple Gifts" (written by Rod McKuen.).
What we didn't know, and what Bob barely remembered himself, was that a number of other tracks were recorded during 1968 that were never released anywhere---------and these songs, to Bob and Bobbie's great surprise, were what surfaced on these two cassette tapes, interspersed with Bob's Trio work. Even more amazingly, most of the songs were pristine, having been recorded at Glaser Brothers studios in Nashville (Bob was in fact one of their first clients.). This studio became both famous and notorious a few years later in the early 70's when "the outlaw movement" shook things up in Nashville, and became known as "Hillbilly Central." Bob had always wanted to cut a country album, and that entire project, sounding remarkably good considering the source was a 50 year old cassette tape, was in tact on one of the two tapes. It featured songs by important song writers of the day like Shel Silverstein and even two of the Gibb brothers, and included three songs by Tim Hardin. Also recorded during these sessions were countrified versions of two of Bob's favorite Trio songs: Scotch & Soda and The Seine. Also here was a recording of one of Bob's favorite songs of all time: "The Dutchman"---five years before it became a folk standard on Steve Goodman's second album.
There were a handful of other songs found on the cassettes that are recorded with a full orchestra. Bob has no recollection of where they were recorded or what the end result was supposed to be. These tracks weren't in as good a shape: back in the day, the trend was to transfer music to cassettes very "hot"------and unfortunately that distorted some of the tracks.
But his performances and the arrangements are terrific, so when the Shane's entrusted these tapes to me, I knew we had to do our best to make them sound as good as they possibly could. These three songs with full orchestra: Both Sides Now, Don't Make Promises, and Lady Came From Baltimore, sound like something you might have seen Bob do with a full orchestra on a 60's variety show like Dean Martin, and they are a real treat. And with the help of modern technology, we were able to work a little magic to get them sounding pretty darn good indeed.
So now we had 18 songs: the four from the Decca 45's (which were also sadly fairly distorted on the cassette tapes), the whole album done in Nashville, and these three full orchestra tunes. Also on one of the tapes was a later addition: the original version of "Every Inch of the Way" complete with steel drums. It was similar to the cut that appeared on the "Born at the Right Time" Trio album yet with different instruments, so we decided to add this as a bonus track.
In early February I posted notice of the project here, and fortunately that resulted in Ron Furmanek stepping forward with a "stop the presses" surprise: he had a couple of more songs that had not been on these cassette tapes, plus far better mixes than what we could get off the cassettes of Simple Gifts and Weepin Annaleah, one of the original 45's. So literally as we were ready to send this project off we called a "time out" and were able to add Ron's pristine mixes from the original master tapes of those two songs, plus two more bonus tracks: " PuPu O'Ewa" (we all know this song as "Pearly Shells", but here it is presented in Hawaiian) and the "Less of Me" track (from the "Children of the Morning" album) but with just Bob; no harmony vocals from Nick, which he personally told me at camp were "just dreadful"---and a much better sound, courtesy of Ron. At the same time, Allan Shaw came to the rescue with the original 45 of "Honey" and "I Don't Think of You Anymore" that also allowed us much better fidelity than what had from the cassette tapes.
So------- in the end--------we wind up with a 21 song CD that we think will be an absolute joy for Bob Shane fans. It is Bob in great voice and with great musicians behind him, singing a terrific and very eclectic batch of both pop and country songs that are completely different than our beloved, familiar Trio sound. Bob and Bobbie have loved hearing all the iterations of these songs as we have worked on them at Sweetwater Studios over the past months, and we think you'll really enjoy this project. Jim Moran has written some awesome liner notes, and the cover is a cool photo of Bob from the era when the recordings were made. It was sent off to be pressed today, and Bobbie should have these ready to ship by sometime in late March. You can preorder them now at tomdooleysmercantile.com.