Bob Haworth
   Of The Kingston Trio



I was born at a very early age in Spokane, WA on October 9, 1946. My family was musical: my father's Uncle Carl played plectrum banjo and sang in Bing Crosby's band in Spokane before Bing hit the big time. Carl also recorded for Columbia Records in the mid-1920's and had about three 78RPM releases under his name - Carl Haworth. His brother, Uncle Wayne, played tenor banjo and worked for several years playing on cruise ships to the Orient in the 1920's.

I took piano lessons for a while in grade school, but was intent on learning to play the banjo and guitar. I studied with Dutch Groshoff in Spokane from the time I was about 9 until my family moved to Medord, Oregon in 1959. (An interesting side-note: one of Dutch's other students was Mark Pearson - see below ref: The Brothers Four.) During Junior High and High School in Medford I excelled in music, starring in school musical productions, singing in choir and playing bass fiddle in the orchestra. My buddy, John Eads, and I formed a folk-singing duo called "The Kinsmen" and we were the hit of the town, skipping school regularly to sing for Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club meetings, as well as various school functions. We also won a national talent search hosted by Will Rodgers, Jr.

Basically we aped The Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, Peter, Paul and Mary and various other "folk" legends of the time. After graduating from Medford High School in 1965, I attended UCLA, majoring in music composition. I sang in the UCLA choir under the direction of Roger Wagner. To help pay tuition I played banjo at area pizza parlors on weekends. I also did occasional studio work, playing banjo and guitar for movie scores and other projects. In 1968 I transferred to the University of Oregon to major in music education. During this time I performed as a solo act in various venues around the Eugene, Oregon area. In 1969 I dropped out of school and joined "The New Yorkers," a bubble-gum band based in Portland, OR. We were a regional phenomenon with several local hits on the Jerden label. We later signed with Decca and the group changed their name to "The Hudson Brothers," which was the real name of the other three members in the group. After receiving the revelation that I was just a sideman for Bill, Mark and Brett Hudson, I left the group prior to their flash in the pan as a Saturday morning kiddy phenomenon.

I went back to performing as a solo artist around the Pacific Northwest. Through my affiliation with The Hudson Brothers I was associated with a Seattle record mogul named Jerry Dennon (Jerden Records). He was a business partner of The Brothers Four (they co-owned a radio station in Seaside, OR). I did some studio work for Jerry from time to time and at one point he called and asked if I was interested in auditioning for The Brothers Four. I passed the audition and joined the group, replacing Mark Pearson, who had replaced original member Mike Kirkland, the previous year. (Another interesting side-note: the group also auditioned John Denver for the part, but he turned it down). I sang with The Brothers Four from 1970 to 1985, recording over a dozen albums and touring internationally. In 1972, my son Graham was born. He is now going on 28 and touring internationally as the drummer for his band, "The LaDonnas."

 

During the '70's and '80's, when The Brothers Four were not performing, I worked around the Seattle area in a duo called "Bo Mooney" with my partner, Gary Ballard. I developed a one-man band around the name, Bo Mooney, with Gary as a sideman. I played guitar and banjo as well as harmonica, foot-pedal bass with my right foot, various percussion instruments with my left foot and anything else that was readily available. This evolved into a mobile one-man band with a bass drum on my back, banjo, harmonicas, bells and whistles and cymbals between my knees. (I still perform with this rig when I'm not touring with the Trio).

Also during the '70's and '80's I started Crescent Entertainment, booking bands and managing a few acts. One of these was "The New Deal Rhythm Band," a campy swing band featuring singer Cheryl Bentyne. Cheryl later left the group to sing with the "The Manhattan Transfer." I also recorded two albums of banjo music for Jerry Dennon's production companies. Some of the cuts I recorded ended up on a compilation album of banjo music that included Earl Scruggs, among other banjo greats. In 1985, Bob Shane (whom I'd met many years previously through The Brothers Four) called to ask me to fill in for Roger Gambill, who had been hospitilized. Bob and George came to my home on Vashon Island in Puget Sound and we rehearsed for about an hour. The next day I performed my first concert with the group in Southern California. The day after that I sang in Seattle with The Brothers Four, the following day I was back with the Trio again! I was only intending to fill in until Roger recovered, but sadly he didn't and I was stuck with the gig.

I sang with the Trio from 1985 until 1988; then Nick Reynolds returned to the group. In 1987, I met my lovely wife, Meri, at a concert in Lakewood, Colorado. We saw each other off and on for the next year, and then in 1988, I moved to Colorado to live with her. We were married on Sept. 6, 1990, and we're living happily ever-after. Between 1988 and 1999, I performed as a solo and occasionally with my band around Colorado. I was also available on several occasions to fill in for Nick Reynolds when he was unable to perform with The Kingston Trio. I recorded a solo album of original music in 1993 and continue to write music on a regular basis.

I also continue to operate Crescent Entertainment, booking national acts and regional entertainers throughout the area. In May of 1999, Bob Shane called to say that Nick would be retiring later in the year and was drastically curtailing his performance schedule with the group. I performed regularly with The Trio during the summer and fall of 1999 until Nick retired officially in December. I am now back with the group full time. In addition to my strong vocal abilities - I sing tenor in the group - I also play many instruments, including: guitar (electric and acoustic), banjo (plectrum, tenor and 5-string), bass (up-right and electric), mandolin, tuba, harmonica, keyboards, mandolin, autoharp, percussion and musical saw. I'm featured in the Trio's shows with my saw, an old Disston hand saw that I inherited from my Great-Grandfather. Although this instrument has never been part of The Kingston Trio's line-up before, it seems to generate a lot of interest from the audiences.

I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to be part of this group. I know there are thousands of people who have emulated the Trio and know all the songs, but I just happened to be the one who got the job. I consider it my duty to carry on this great American tradition by bringing enjoyment to the many Trio fans that still enjoy this wonderful music.