Tribute and Inspiration

Husband used to work with Roy Connors, a former member of The Highwaymen. The Highwaymen are a folk group formed in the sixties, and we have them to thank for recording “Michael (Row Your Boat Ashore)” and other hits.

Yesterday Roy sent this e-mail to us, and it was so lovely I asked him if I could share it with you. “I think a lot of people out there were touched one way or the other by The Kingston Trio, he said, “so if you think this will bring back some fond memories of times past, I’d be honored to have you put it on your blog.”

Here it is.

Today, Nick Reynolds died. Not a big name in show business until you know he was one of The Kingston Trio. The Trio was the reason I got into show business. I remember in high school meeting them at a department store in downtown Miami where they were signing autographs. “Tom Dooley” had become a hit record many years before.

The Trio gave the big push for folk music popularity in the 60s with their commercial “college” style. Before them, there was no such thing as a college concert. They invented it. They created the huge venue later followed by comedians, other folk singers, and rock ’n ’rollers playing in front of thousands of people.

After I met them, I went out and bought my first banjo. Prior to that, I didn’t even know what a banjo was. Shortly thereafter, I bought my first guitar – for $25, from my still best friend, Steve Tobin. It’s the only guitar I’ve ever owned, the only guitar I played on stage, and the only guitar I still have today. I taught myself how to play both instruments because then – as now – I never learned how to read or write music – even though I’ve written hundreds of songs, had them published, and am still a member of ASCAP. Back then, every song I learned was a Kingston Trio song – that’s how much influence they had. It made me popular in high school and college, but after three semesters at “The U,” I dropped out and joined a folk singing group whose banjo player was leaving to join the Army. That’s when I became a real folk singer, playing and singing and making music and a good living for many years, entertaining in the style of The Trio.

If it weren’t for The Kingston Trio, there’s no question that there would never have been The Highwaymen, and I probably would have ended up working in my father’s furniture store.

Without The Highwaymen, I never would have played Carnegie Hall four times. I never would have appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson three times. Or gave concerts at over 400 colleges and universities or appeared on virtually every variety show on television. Or toured the country with Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and countless others. I never would have met Elvis Presley on the set of “Jailhouse Rock.” Or met The Beatles.

The Trio’s music and enthusiasm gave me countless hours of fun and many years of a fabulous professional life. Only one of the original Kingston Trio members is still alive and he’s very sick.

That era was the most exciting and most wonderful time of my life.

Nick Reynolds was a good guy and made a great contribution to the world with his life, music and energy. Thank you, Nick. And thank you, The Kingston Trio. Those were the days.

Roy Connors


Thanks, Roy. It’s a lovely tribute to Nick, The Kingston Trio and inspiration – no matter where you find it.

Today I found it in you.


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