Kingston Trio’s Nick Reynolds, folk singer dies 75

Nick Reynolds is the father of folk songs, paved the way for Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

Nick Reynolds (July 27, 1933 San Diego, California – October 1, 2008 San Diego, California) American folk musician and recording artist. One of the founding members of The Kingston Trio group, whose largely folk-based material captured international attention during the late fifties and early sixties.

Death of Nick Reynolds
Nick Reynolds died on October 1, 2008, in San Diego, CA
Nick Reynoldswas 75 years old at the time of his death

Nick Reynolds lived the last years of his life comfortably and well in Coronado, California with his wife Leslie. For eight years, Nick joined John Stewart to do a “Trio” fantasy camp in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition to a dinner with a question and answer session, fantasy campers joined Reynolds and Stewart on stage to perform a song, becoming for that one moment a member of a "Kingston Trio," the group whose contributions to folk, pop, and world music constitute Nick Reynolds’ musical legacy.

Nick Reynolds’ biography continues next page

The man who never returned

Growing up in Coronado Island, California, his passions as a kid growing up were tennis, skin-diving and singing with his family. His father, a Navy captain, was an avid guitar player who brought back songs from his travels around the world. He taught Nick the guitar and ukulele, and the family spent many nights singing and harmonizing for pure enjoyment. Nick enrolled in Menlo College in 1954 as a business major, and met Bob Shane in an accounting class. They soon started hanging out, drinking, and chasing women together, and this, in turn, led to playing music, initially as a way of being popular at parties — Shane’s guitar and Reynolds’ bongos became a fixture at local frat gatherings, and after a few weeks of this, Shane introduced Reynolds to Dave Guard.

Shane returned to Hawaii for a time to work for his father’s sporting goods company. Guard and Reynolds began playing with Joe Gannon on bass and singer Barbara Bogue, and became Dave Guard & the Calypsonians. Reynolds then left for a time following his graduation and was replaced by Don McArthur in a group that was known as the Kingston Quartet, and in a resulting shuffle, Reynolds and Shane (back all the way from Hawaii) were brought back into the group, now rechristened the Kingston Trio. Their initial approach to music was determined by the skills that each member brought or, more accurately, didn’t bring to the trio — Nick Reynolds sang a third above the melody, swapped his ukulele for a tenor guitar, and his bongos for a conga drum. Reynolds provided the group with an ebullient vocal style, superb harmonizing, and an ability to convey tender lyrics with a touching intimacy. The trio disbanded in 1967 but was revived in the seventies under the direction of original member Bob Shane, and continues to the present although Shane retired from performing in 2004. When the Trio disbanded, Nick moved to Oregon where he spent twenty years ranching and raising 4 children.

In 1981 the Trio reunited, featuring Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, Dave Guard, John Stewart, George Grove, Roger Gambill. A PBS Reunion Special DVD was recorded, hosted by Tommy Smothers and featuring special guest Mary Travers. In 1983, Nick Reynolds collaborated with John Stewart and Lindsey Buckingham on a new album/CD "Revenge of The Budgie" with seven new recordings.

In the mid-eighties Reynolds moved back to California and rejoined the Trio in 1987/1988. He sang and played with them happily for another 11 years, then retired for the second time in December, 1999. Folk Music Archives interviewed the Trio in San Antonio and New York City when Nick Reynolds, a founding 1958 member performed his last full-time performance with the group during a concert with the San Antonio Symphony.