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George Bill and Rick "G/B/R"

Rick Dougherty, George Grove, Bill Zorn


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George Grove

I was born on October 9, 1947 in Hickory NC to George Sr. and Retta. As a newborn, I was short and bald, and I have managed to remain true to that ideal, altering my personage only by the addition of a perfectly coifed beard, a paradigm shift in philosophy after two divorces, a successful career as a banjo player (heretofore mutually exclusive concepts: "success" and "banjo"), and a fabric of life with The Kingston Trio woven throughout.

When I was nine years old, my sister Joanie brought home a record which I immediately appropriated as my own; Live at the Hungry i. I was instantly swept up in Triomania, teaching myself the exact parts vocally and instrumentally of every song the Trio recorded. I formed folk groups in high school & college, was drafted into the army after matriculation from Wake Forest University, and played trumpet and piano in the Army band. After spending several years in Nashville playing at Opryland and doing studio work, I answered the call of the wild (Bob) to audition for the Trio. Two weeks later, around the end of October 1976, I joined the group in Chicago and the rest, as they say, is a resume.

In May of 1983 The Kingston Trio performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall. This stands out as one of my proudest moments with the Trio since Carnegie is the ultimate performance venue in the U.S. As a child I had heard of all the great pianists having given their preeminent performances in Carnegie Hall, and I wanted to be one of them. On this date, with The Kingston Trio, I was to have my opportunity. When performance time came, I walked out on to a stage that had held the greatest talents in the world, hearing the creaking floorboards that had also creaked under their feet. As I was introduced by Bob to sing my solo, from the box seats in the back of the hall I heard my Mom's voice, "That's my boy!!" In a split second there flashed all of the hours that she had sat listening to me practice piano, guitar and banjo, and all was right with the world.

My life was a bachelor's dream in Southern California from '88-'96. But in 1996 I moved to Las Vegas to share my life with Cindy, a career schoolteacher whose abilities to encourage children to do their best is exceeded only by her education, her honest Midwestern values and her extraordinary patience with my itinerant lifestyle. With her encouragement I finally crawled out of my banjo case, went back to graduate school (at UNLV), and earned a Master of Music degree in jazz composition, graduating in December, 2001.

In October 2013 I began my 38th year with The Kingston Trio, longer than any other member with the exception of Bob Shane. I have spent these years on the road because of my love of performance, my respect for the music and my admiration of the group that fomented it. Personally, the Trio has seen me throughout an enormous amount of growth. Professionaly, it has permitted me to become involved and stay involved with music and musicians of considerable ablilty. For me, the singing of Tom Dooley every night is not just the repetition of a song, but a devotion to a concept known as The Kingston Trio.



Bill ZOrn

I was born in Bridgeport, CT - the third of four sons - to Lillian and Edward in May 1948. My father was a sales representative and his work took us from Connecticut to rural Pennsylvania, to Ohio and finally to Phoenix, Arizona in 1961. I had gotten my first guitar in 1958 (not a Martin), and was already performing folk music in the early sixties.

During high school I was interested and involved with drama, performance and music-both in and out of school-and at eighteen won a national television award as a  host of ‘'The Indispensables,' a teenage variety show.

My first band, The Win'jammers, included my brother Pete and great friend Gaylan Taylor - both future New Christy Minstrels. We performed around Arizona and across the country from the mid-sixties and were featured at Expo67 in Montreal. USO tours to South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Libya, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean followed.    In February 1970 both Pete and I became New Christy Minstrels after auditioning on the telephone for Sid Garris; I became musical director in May 1970 and leader later that year. We toured in the USA and internationally-virtually non-stop for four years. When I left, I had been the group's longest serving leader and had done the longest non-stop stretch of any member.

Along the way I had met and spent time with Bob Shane on various occasions. When he heard I had left The Christies, Bob asked me to join him and Roger Gambill in The New Kingston Trio in 1973. We started rehearsals in November and began playing in December and it seems like we just played for about three years - it was the most fun.    The Trio's repertoire includes most of the best American folk music and more, and we had a great time with it. I told Bob when I joined that I would only stay a few years, because eventually I planned to go to England and work with my brother Pete for awhile.    In 1976, I visited Pete in England during the hottest summer for a hundred years and decided I would move there - no one had told me that kind of weather was unusual. This was surprising, as British people talk about the weather a lot. I soon realized they have a strange sense of humor. I moved there in 1977 and stayed in bed for a year. We started doing the rounds of the record companies in London and got lucky with a top-ten hit, ‘'Car 67,' in 1979.

I then fell in with an exceptionally talented group of folk musicians, and The Arizona Smoke Revue was born in 1980. We released three albums and toured in the UK, The Republic of Ireland, Europe, Hong Kong and Bermuda. The Smoke Revue still continues to perform whenever we can make it happen.

I also worked in a comedy/folk duo, Bill and Benns. We appeared on a weekly chat show on Anglia television in 1988/89, writing a song a week for whatever topic was under discussion. We also released an album and performed around the UK and abroad. While in England, I also acted in dramas and comedies on British television, did voice-overs for cartoons and documentaries, produced a CD for Glenn Yarbrough and published dozens of my own songs.

At the end of 1980 I met my love Jo and we married in 1986. In 1996, we had the opportunity to move back to Phoenix, which we did in December that year. I joined The Limeliters in September 1996 and performed with them until the end of 2003. During this time I also produced two CDs for the Kingston Trio.

One of nice things about being back in Phoenix is that I have been able to renew my friendship with Bob Shane. I had left The Limeliters when Bob had his health scare in March 2004 and was delighted to fill in for him when he asked me. I've known George Grove for over 40 years now, and Rick Dougherty for at least fifteen, so this really is old friends playing the music they love.



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Our family lived in La Grange, Illinois, a little town about twenty miles SW of the Loop, where I was born in 1948. I’m told that as a baby my mother would hum lullabies to me in the cradle and that I would hum along with her (probably because I didn’t know the lyrics). We left there when I was five, so my main memories are of digging tunnels through the waist-high snow and listening to my mother play piano. She was very accomplished and I loved listening to her playing Chopin, Beethoven and Bach while I lay under the piano watching her feet on the pedals.

In 1953 we moved to Altadena, California, where I grew up with my older brother and two younger sisters. My parents and sister Pat loved to sing, and so we would harmonize during long drives and stage full productions of the popular musicals at home. At school I was enlisted in the choir a year earlier than usually permitted as I was heard singing on the playground. I also held the school detention record for singing in class, singing in the halls, singing in detention….

By the time I reached high school, folk music was in full swing and I devoured every record I could get my hands on. I learned the guitar and started singing at open mikes, jam sessions, parties; anywhere I could get a moment. On New Year’s Eve, before the big Rose Bowl parade, the churches would turn every vacant storefront along Colorado Boulevard into a coffee house and we would bring our guitars and sing all night long for coffee and doughnuts and watch the parade in the morning.

In 1971 our family moved north to San Francisco and I began playing small clubs in the area. When a friend said that there was a great music scene happening in Denver, I began what would become my life as a traveling folk singer for the next twelve years. I played all over Western states, refining my solo guitar style and learning new material and styles. But by the early 80s the small clubs began closing and the first of the electronic gadgets made its appearance (remember the Roland Rhythm Machine?). I had been thrown out of the only rock band I had ever joined after wearing ear plugs to a rehearsal, and realized that I simply couldn’t go along with this. I decided to return to California to finish my degree in math and computers and to my music for myself.

But for all my good intentions I couldn’t help but sign up for one music theory course. By the end of the first semester I was signed up with the music department and had become assistant stage director for the opera program. After graduation I started directing for the many small opera companies in the area and over the next 15 years I directed almost 40 operas.

Now, the truth is that the only difference between a folk singer and an opera director is that opera directors starve with dignity, so by 1990 I was facing some very grim prospects when I got a call from Alex Hassilev of the Limeliters. Red Grammer, their tenor, was leaving the group, they remembered me from when we had met in Santa Rosa, and asked if I would like to join. So I was on the road again doing the music I loved, only now it was for a national audience on the big stages. These times were full of wonderful experiences, both when the group included Lou Gottlieb and after his death in 1996 when it included Bill Zorn.

Then things got a little hectic. In 2002 both Bill Zorn and I left the Limeliters. Bob Shane asked Bill to rejoin The Kingston Trio - the group Bill had sung with in the mid-70s. I joined Glenn Yarbrough and Dick Foley in The Folk Reunion to go on the “This Land is Your Land” tour with The Brothers Four and The Kingston Trio. 

When the tour ended, Glenn decided to go back on his own and I was once again a free agent. Then I got another call, this time from Bob Shane, asking if I too would like to join The Kingston Trio. The rest of the story has yet to be written, but I can only see a very bright future ahead; bringing the music I have always loved to yet a new generation of listeners.