Bud Dashiell’s Solo LPs, Part 1: Bud and the Kinsmen
UPDATE (5/14/08): Great news for Bud Dashiell fans! This LP (and Bud’s solo LP “I Think it’s Gonna Rain Today” discussed in Part 3 of this post) is now available for preview and purchase on iTunes and Amazon.com. The live “Kinsmen” LP is not currently offered, but I’ll keep you posted.
Bud Dashiell and Travis Edmonson are best known as Bud & Travis, the popular folk duo whose superior musicianship and rapid-fire wit wowed live audiences in colleges, clubs and auditoriums from 1958-65. During that span they recorded eight original albums for Liberty Records (plus two “greatest hits” collections), appeared on compilation LP’s, and rounded out their discographies with solo work.
Dashiell’s final album with Travis Edmonson, the timeless Latin Album
The solo stuff came primarily during an 18-month hiatus from performing together. Edmonston produced two albums; Travis On Cue for Horizon Records (recorded live in 1962 at The Troubador) and Travis on His Own (1963) for Reprise. On Cue was later reissued (minus three cuts) by Tradition Records as Travelin’ With Travis.
[Note: Both are currently available on CD, along with the entire B&T and Gateway Singers catalogs (He recorded an LP with them prior to B&T), from travisedmonson.com.* Edmonson has been in poor health, and 100% of the profits from these sales help offset the costs for his care.]
Dashiell recorded two LPs in that same period, recruiting C. Carson Parks and Bernie Armstrong, Jr. for Bud Dashiell and the Kinsmen (1961), and Armstrong and Everit Herter for Bud Dashiell and The Kinsmen Sing Everybody’s Hits (recorded live in December 1961 at Glendale College). After he and Edmonston parted ways for good, he recorded a final solo LP for Warner, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (1968).
Unfortunately, Dashiell’s albums are not currently available in any format. So, with the presumed indulgence of the Warner Brothers Records legal team, I’d like to offer an overview of each as well as highlight a few sample cuts.
After splitting from Travis in 1961, Bud hired The Steeltown Two (Carson and Armstrong), whom he had seen perform at The Ice House in Pasadena. The “Two” had met at the University of Miami in the early 1950s, then were reunited in California near the start of the folk boom. Both had recording experience, having joined Terry Gilkyson for two Easy Riders studio albums for Kapp (Rollin’ in 1960 and Remember the Alamo in 1961) while continuing their duo act in the evenings. Their deal with Dashiell was similar. The Steeltown Two would continue to work as a duo, but would become Kinsmen when they joined Dashiell on stage.
The eponymous LP, released by Warner Brothers Records in 1961 as W/WS-1429. I love the “First Edition” designation in the upper left corner. The photo was probably taken in Bud’s den, with (from left) Bernie, Bud and Carson. Don’t know the name of the BIG dog.
The initial Kinsmen album wasn’t a big departure for Dashiell, as each of the twelve selections would have fit easily into a Bud & Travis set. In fact, one (“I Talk to the Trees”) had already been recorded and released as a single by B&T, and another (“Alma Llanera”) was recorded later by the duo for the Latin Album. Parks and Armstrong were clearly present — both instrumentally and vocally — and occasionally sang a few verses of lead, but this is clearly Dashiell’s album. Foreign language numbers dominate the list, and two are Dashiell solos, with Parks and Armstrong completely absent from both tracks.
- Pom Pa Lom
- Cafe Y Panella
- Far Side of the Hill
- Wars of Germany
- Alma Llanera
- I Talk to the Trees
- Meci Bon Dieu
- She Was Too Good to Me
- Jean and Dinah (Yankee Gone)
- Bold Mountain
- El Preso Numero Nueve
The album was actually the last LP released by Warner in 1961, and sported a testimonial in the form of a reproduced telegram from intellectual comedian Mort Sahl (who had worked a two week stint with the boys that September “for two wonderful weeks in the Tent House Theater in Chicago”).
Of course, it’s what is in the grooves that makes an album. And as promised, here are five full length tracks in glorious mono from Bud Dashiell and the Kinsmen. To listen, just click the arrow on each individual player.
First up, a Calypso…the lead track “Pom Pa Lom.”
Sounds quite a bit like a Bud & Travis arrangement with another vocal stacked in, doesn’t it? Here’s another…the jaunty “Cafe Y Panella.”
Here’s the Kinsmen’s arrangement of “Far Side of the Hill,” which is more up-tempo than the Glenn Yarborough/Limeliters version on their live Tonight: In Person album (RCA Victor LPM/LSP 2272).
To compare the trio with Bud & Travis, listen to both recordings of “Alma Llanero.” The B&T version may be found on Latin Album.
Finally — perhaps the strongest cut on the LP — the driving “Meci Bon Dieu.”
Next: We’ll take a look at — and listen to — Bud Dashiell and the Kinsmen Play Everybody’s Hits. Click HERE for Part 2. Or, click HERE to go straight to Dashiell’s final solo album, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, which I examine in Part 3.
*Three B&T CDs are more widely available on sites such as Amazon, Collector’s Choice and Rediscover Music, including The Best of Bud & Travis, fan-favorite Bud & Travis In Concert and their swan song, Latin Album. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Tom Straw’s lovingly thorough Bud & Travis website, which has a wealth of information on both performers.