There's A Rock 'N' Roll Heaven, You Know They Have A Hell Of A Band"
"Travis Edmonson was my idol"
Folk Music Pioneer Travis Edmonson Dies At 76
5/12/2009, 2:47 a.m. EDT The Associated Press
(AP) — PHOENIX
- Travis Edmonson, a folk music singer and songwriter of the
1950s and '60s who was considered a pioneer by artists such
as the Kingston Trio, died Saturday. He was 76.
Edmonson died at a Mesa, Arizona, hospital, said longtime friend
Mike Bartlett. Although Bartlett did not know the cause of death,
he said Edmonson, who had a stroke in 1982, had been suffering
numerous health problems.
Bob Shane, founding member of the Kingston Trio, was in college
when he first saw Edmonson perform in San Francisco. Edmonson
became his idol after that.
"He was probably the finest solo entertainer I'd ever seen," Shane
told The Associated Press from his Phoenix home. "He had
a command of the stage that was just unbelievable."
Shane said he and fellow member, Nick Reynolds, were inspired
watching Edmonson, who at the time was a member of the Gateway
Born in Long Beach, California, Edmonson spent his childhood
in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. His family's proximity
to Mexico helped to shape his passion for Latin music.
Some of Edmonson's signature songs included "I'm a Drifter" and "Malaguena
In the 1970s, Edmonson moved back to Tucson where he continued
to perform and advise younger musicians such as Linda Ronstadt.
© 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Nick's Obituary, lovingly written by Bill Bush:
| Nick Reynolds, one of
the founders of The Kingston Trio and one its most beloved members,
passed away in San Diego on October 1, 2008. He was 75 years old.
At the height of their popularity, The Kingston Trio (comprised of
Reynolds, Bob Shane, Dave Guard, and later John Stewart) was arguably
the number one vocal group in the world, single-handedly ushering
in the folk music boom of the late 50s and early 60s that spawned
the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary
and many others. Their release of “Tom Dooley” in the fall of 1958
changed popular music forever, inspiring legions of young people to pick up guitars
and banjos and sing folk music. “We got America up and singing,” Reynolds
once modestly reflected.
Known affectionately within group as the “Budgie” and “The
Runt Of The Litter,” Nick Reynolds embodied the best of the Trio’s
wide and diverse talents. “He was clearly the best entertainer in the Trio,” said
John Stewart, “and one of the best natural musicians I have ever worked
with.” Bob Shane added, “Nobody could nail a harmony part like Nick.
He could hit it immediately, exactly where it needed to be, absolutely note perfect – all
on the natch. Pure genius.” Reynolds was also a gifted lead
singer whose smooth tenor voice was featured on many Trio tunes.
Nicholas Wells Reynolds was born in San Diego and raised in nearby Coronado,
the son of Navy Captain Stewart Shirley Reynolds and Jane Keck Reynolds. He was
the youngest of three children. His training for the Kingston Trio, he said,
came from learning complex harmony arrangements in family singalongs with his
sisters Barbara and Jane, led by Captain Reynolds who was an accomplished guitarist
and singer in his own right.
Upon graduation from Coronado High School in 1951, Nick attended the University
of Arizona, and later San Diego State. He graduated from Menlo Business College
in Palo Alto, California in 1956. While at Menlo he met Bob Shane who introduced
him to Dave Guard, a graduate student at nearby Stanford. The group was later
discovered by San Francisco publicist Frank Werber and signed to Capitol Records.
Nick would remain in the Trio until the original group disbanded
in 1967. After a brief time building and racing cars, Nick and his
family moved to Port Orford, Oregon where he lived for the next 17
years as a rancher, antique dealer and owner of the Star Theatre,
Port Orford’s only movie theatre.
In 1983, he rejoined former Trio member John Stewart for one album,
Revenge of The Budgie; in 1988, he rejoined Bob Shane in The Kingston
Trio and remained with the group until retiring in 1999. In recent
years, Nick and John Stewart hosted an annual “Trio Fantasy Camp” in
While music was always an important part of Nick Reynolds life, he was
also an avid photographer, skeet shooter, tennis player, passionate
Formula B race car builder and driver, antique collector, restauranteur
(he co-owned The Trident in Sausalito, California), astute businessman,
dedicated community volunteer, and, above all, a deeply loving father,
husband, brother and friend.
To those who knew Nick personally, he will be remembered as a gentle,
incredibly perceptive individual with a wry wit and a generous heart.
His greatest accomplishment, he felt, was inspiring so many people to pick up
the guitar. His greatest hope was for world peace.
Nick is survived by his wife, Leslie; sons, Joshua Stewart Reynolds, Portland,
Oregon and John Pike Reynolds, Coronado; daughters, Annie Clancy Reynolds Moore
and Jennifer Kristie Reynolds, Oregon; and sisters, Jane Reynolds Meade and Barbara
Reynolds Haines, Coronado.
In lieu of flowers,
Nick’s family suggests memorial contributions be made to
the Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org/joinGive/
We miss you, Johnny
to John Stewart by Tom
Delisle...No one says it any better than this ~ Bob Shane
John Stewart died this morning [January 19th, 2008] in San Diego,
California ... in the hospital he was born in on September 5th,
1939 ... 68 years ago.
John suffered a massive stroke or brain aneurysm early Friday morning
in San Diego. Doctors had determined that any difficult surgical
remedies that might have been employed to save his life-- even if
successful -- would had left John immobile and unable to speak. It
wasn't generally known, but doctors had told John in recent years
that he had apparently experienced various minor strokes, likely
in his sleep.
In the early 1970s, Stewart wrote "Cooler Water, Higher Ground," one
of his many highly personalized songs, in which he sang "I was
born in the heat of September, and I died in the cool of the fall
... borning and dying we do all the time, it don't mean much of nothing
at all." But his passing will mean so much, to so many, around
John's all-time companion and wife Buffy, and his children -- Mikael,
Jeremy, Amy, and Luke -- were at his side when he passed peacefully
around 7:30 a.m. Pacific time. John never regained consciousness
after collapsing in his hotel room late Thursday/early Friday, and
was not in pain during his time at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San
John Stewart leaves a compilation of musical excellence unparalleled
in his time. He recorded over 45 solo albums following his seven
years in the Kingston Trio, 1961-67. He worked all the way up to
the time of his death, having recently completed his latest as-yet
untitled album. It is estimated that he wrote more than 600 unique
and highly personal songs, many of them constituting a modern musical
history of his beloved America.
He leaves behind a wide-ranging group of fans who have felt a passion
for him and his music that bordered on fanaticism. Chief among them
are the Bloodliners, a hard-core legion of supporters who communicated
via computer everyday in discussing John and his career.
It can now be said that John was told last summer, shortly before
Trio Fantasy Camp 8, that he was suffering from the initial stages
of Alzheimer's disease. That news was kept from the public in the
hope that his condition would stabilize and allow him to work in
the following years until the disease took its eventual toll. Indeed
he had stabilized in the time since Camp, and was able to bravely
perform several concert shows and do the studio work on his new album.
If there is a blessing in his passing, it is that he will now be
spared the true ravages of that awful disease. He will not suffer
the gradual personal mental reductions caused by Alzheimer's, though
he had already lost his ability to drive, owing to California law.
In fact, one of the new songs on the upcoming album is "I Can't
Drive Anymore," a typically honest and emotional personal reaction
to his situation.
Speaking personally, losing John creates a hole in my soul. I had
agonized for months over the Alzheimer's prognosis. But after talking
with many of his friends and family yesterday, I can see that --
facing a debilitating future -- it was -- and this is so hard to
say --the right time for him to go. This is what he would have wanted,
in light of what he ultimately faced.
Johnny always drew a crowd, and there was a gathering of friends
at the hospital in San Diego over the past two days. Starting with
Nick Reynolds from John's Trio days and his wife Leslie, John's entire
family had been joined at his bedside by longtime sidekick Dave "Dave" Batti,
John Hoke, Chuck McDermott, Greg Jorgenson, John's boyhood best friend
George Yanok, who flew in from Nashville upon hearing the news, and
other family, friends, and acquaintances. A kind of "Irish wake" was
held throughout Friday and into early Saturday, with the friends
and old bandmates sharing many of the limitless John Stewart stories.
I'm so sorry to have to write this, to have to tell you this. Outside
my closest family members, John was the brightest light of my life.
This creates an emptiness that can never be filled. If you are tempted
to mourn to great lengths today, as so many of us surely are, we
have to remind ourselves of what a gift he was for all of us. And
how lucky we all were to have had the opportunity to have shared
in his amazing music and stage artistry. We might, each of us, have
missed him, you know. But--lucky for us--we didn't.
He hated moping around, and looked for the bright side, and laughter,
in everything. He wouldn't even allow me to be 'down' about having
cancer. He even berated me at one point about it. He had amazing
drive, and a creative force within him that was stunning in its intensity
and breadth. And some day his amazing personal songs will be discovered
by a mass audience, and the world at large, and he will receive the
wide-ranging accolades he was denied in his time.
Trust me. Think about him today, listen to that incredible body of
his work, think about the electric personality we experienced in
EVERY show he did .. in the literally thousands and thousands of
performances in which he gave us everything he had, stretching from
venues big and small, from coast to coast, from 1957 to 2007.
You will smile when you do; and eventually laugh when recalling the
magic of his art and personality. We will not see his like again,
but we have been so lucky to have shared him across the decades --
and found each other through him, because of him. It does not feel
like it, but we are the lucky ones today. That will become evident
in the time to come.
Because, like you ... I loved him too.
Bob Shane And Tom Drake In
Tom Drake died Friday,
August 8, 2008 after battling cancer. Tom wrote six songs with
Bob Shane during the Guard years, including the classic "White Snows Of Winter." During the Stewart
years he co-wrote another classic, "Olly Olly Oxen Free" with
Rod McKuen, specifically for the Trio.
Tom and Bob met in the
spring of l958, before Tom Dooley hit the charts. They became
instant friends. Tom always said "Knowing
Bob Shane changed my life." When Tom Dooley hit Tom was living
in Sausalito. He and Bob had became great friends and had a lot
of fun hanging out together. Besides writing songs they spent time
speeding in Bob's newest fast car to the nearest race track among
other adventures. They remained close friends for over fifty years.
Tom's son Steven is Bob's Godson. One of Tom's other sons is named
Robert after Bob.
Because of Bob's influence, Tom formed The Good Time Singers folk
group and starred on The Andy Williams Show for 3 seasons and recorded
two albums for Capitol Records before hanging up the guitar and
becoming an awarding winning Screenwriter. He wrote for many successful
TV series, was a staff writer for Gene Roddenbury and wrote the
cult favorite horror film,Terror Train, which was a top five box
office hit for over 8 weeks and is still shown in horror film festivals
all over the world.
Tom was a man of many talents who managed to do every thing he
wanted in life with great enthusiasm and humor. He was married
to his wife Sally for over 50 years, had four sons and 6 grandchildren.
Tom's wit and charm and giving good nature will be sorely missed.
We are sad to announce
that Enrico Banducci, 85, died October 9th, 2007.
Enrico was the founder of the famous Hungry i nightclub in
San Francisco and was a pioneer in live show business.
He gave many people their first boost in the business, including
Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Professor Irwin Corey, TheGateway
Singers, Bud & Travis,
Woody Allen and of course The Kingston Trio.He was a great man,
a wonderful character and an inspiration to us all.
Mike Solner, a Superior
Court Judge in Los Angeles, has written a screen play on the Hungry
i Nightclub, and we really hope it becomes a movie. The world
should be aware of Enrico's contributions to live entertainment.
Werber made pop music history as the savvy manager of the
Kingston Trio, turning three clean-cut college boys into superstars,
the biggest singing group in the world in the early '60s, igniters
of the folk music boom.
He was the charismatic creator of the Trident, a jazz club that
he transformed into a legendary Sausalito fern bar and organic
restaurant, a "Hooters for hippies," as one former employee
describes it, where the braless waitresses wore see-through blouses,
a young Robin Williams worked as a bus boy, the Rolling Stones
celebrated Mick Jagger's birthday, Janis Joplin had a special table
by an arched window overlooking the bay and Woody Allen shot a
scene for his 1972 movie, "Play It Again, Sam."
Even as a child, Werber's life was extraordinary. Born in Cologne,
Germany, he arrived in the United States in 1941 with his father.
The story goes that they escaped from a concentration camp after
the elder Werber was spared execution - along with his son -
because he was such a good cook that the Nazi commander didn't
want to lose him.
In San Francisco, Werber developed a talent for show business,
managing Enrico Banducci's famed North Beach nightclub, the Hungry
i. During that time, he went to see an unknown collegiate singing
group, the Kingston Trio, discovering them at a little club in
Redwood City, the Crack Pot.
"Somebody had told him about us and he loved what he saw," remembers
the Kingston Trio's Bob Shane, now retired and living in Phoenix. "We
made up a contract with him on a paper napkin."
Werber with coming up with the Trio's button-downed image and
squeaky-clean persona. "As much as we were, he was responsible
for getting us started," he
said. "He helped mold us, got us rehearsing on a regular
basis, got us working on a show, helped us get our outfits together
so that we'd be a visual act, too. We went to Stanford, so they
had us billed as America's clean-cut college kids, but I don't
think any of us even knew one."
Werber may have been a wild flower child, but Nick Reynolds,
another original member of the Kingston Trio, thanked him for
keeping the group's phenomenal success in perspective, encouraging
them to invest their fortune - in the Trident, in a number of
homes and properties in Marin and San Francisco, including the
Columbus Tower, now owned by Francis Ford Coppola.
"We were the biggest group in the world for four or five
years," Reynolds said from his home on San Diego's Coronado
Island. "We had five albums in the top 10 at one time. The
main thing I can say about Frank is that he kept us safe. We
stayed in San Francisco, we didn't move to L.A. We never had
any mob scenes around us. We all kept our sanity. I know I did.
He kept us together. He was like a second father to me."
When he died of heart failure at home last month, he had his
four children around him - Chala, Mishka, Aari, Bodhi - and a
number of others who were close to him.
"We all gave him parting gifts of water from the spring,
crystals, beads, Buddhas, cologne, good drink and good smoke," Chala
said in an e-mail. "He had the ashes of his dog, Jet, at
his feet. He was the center of everybody's universe. He was very
much himself to the end."