The Cumberland Trio: Lost & Found-The 1964 New York Sessions

The Cumberland Trio: Lost & Found-The 1964 New York Sessions
Title: Lost & Found-The 1964 New York Sessions
Label: CD Baby

In May, 1964 Chet Atkins & RCA Nashville sent The Cumberland Trio to New York City for a week of recording, appearances & interviews. These 12 songs were recorded at historic Gotham Studios over a four day period and represent the CT's best work of the '60's Folk Era. The album was never released because of the Beatles & the British invasion wiping out the Folk Era boom almost overnight when they hit the US on their first tour in the fall of 1964. For 49 years it appeared that the tape of the session was lost. But in this the Trio's 50th year it was dramatically discovered & then brilliantly restored & digitally remastered by Andy Laird of Spare Time Music, Carlsbad, CA. Folk historian Nick Noble has called this album 'One of the very best of the Folk Era- bar none.' The Cumberland Trio- Lost & Found- The 1964 New York Sessions Startling Discovery After 49 Years Of Futile Search The Cumberland Trio is now in it's 50th year of existence. Recently an old reel-to-reel tape copy of it's May, 1964 New York City recording sessions at storied Gotham Studios was discovered after a 49 year search. This album was digitally remastered to CD and represents the Trio's best studio work of the 1960's Folk Era. Credit must go to Bradley Reeves, Executive Director of the Tennessee Motion Picture & Sound Archives, Knoxville, TN for the discovery of the tape and to Andy Laird of Spare Time Music, Carlsbad, CA for brilliantly restoring and digitally remastering the tape to CD. This is the story of the last leg of the Trio's brief but magical 1960's Folk Era musical journey. After releasing digitally remastered CD's of their 1964 RCA sessions in 2000 and live reunion concerts in 2001 and 2004, their 50 year music circle is now complete with the release of this landmark album. This chapter of the story of The Cumberland Trio begins one year after it's formation. From Music City to the Big Apple In April, 1964 The Cumberland Trio recorded 15 songs in one day at RCA Nashville's famed Studio B, produced by the legendary Chet Atkins. Recording live in studio there were no overdubs or retakes which really surprised and pleased the # 1 record producer in Music City. In less than a year of existence the Trio had moved from the unknown "outhouse" to the proverbial "penthouse" of folk music. They won first prize in the National Collegiate Folk Festival in Jacksonville, FL over 14 other talented collegiate folk acts from all over the nation. A month later they made their national television debut on ABC-TV's prime time Saturday night series, Hootenanny, receiving a standing ovation following their rousing performance of Ride Up. Over 11 million people watched the show, which also featured the national television debuts of Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys and Doc Watson. The morning after the Nashville session Atkins and RCA offered the students from the University of Tennessee a standard one album contract. He told the Trio and it's manager Bob Newsome that RCA would send them to New York City to record the same songs at Gotham Studios fearing that if the album were to be released from Nashville it would be viewed as country music. So armed with confidence and an RCA contract, on a Sunday in late May the Trio drove a station wagon from their home base in Knoxville to the Big Apple! None of the boys had ever visited New York. So with instruments in hand the one week journey to the big city began. Four Days at Gotham The Trio came into Gotham Studios having honed their skills even more since recording at RCA, altering some of the arrangements, polishing vocal dynamics and adding 12 string guitar to several songs. They arrived late on a Sunday evening and had to appear at the studio ready to record on Monday morning. Upon arrival at Gotham to their surprise the producer assigned to the project was a 26 year old rock 'n' roller, Larry Finnegan, who was aloof, cocky, abrupt and demanding unlike the friendly, father-like Atkins. The engineer was also very condescending and that was a culture shock to the young guys from Tennessee. Nevertheless they managed to record 12 songs over a grueling four day period with countless stops and starts. There were 33 takes on John Henry alone. Unlike the omnidirectional vocal and instrument mics at RCA Nashville, under Finnegan's direction the Trio utilized individual vocal and instrument mics, sitting on stools for the ballads and standing for the up tempo songs. At the end of each day's session the Trio and it's bass player were exhausted. It was a grueling experience but the mission was accomplished, the young men gaining more and more confidence as the sessions progressed. Late on Thursday night the album was finally finished. Relief was the best word to describe their feelings, but they felt confident about the quality of the recordings. Little did they know but a startling twist was about to be presented in the form of an offer from a competing record label. The RIC Friday Surprise On Friday morning manager Bob Newsome informed the Trio that another record label, Recording Industries Corporation (RIC) headquartered in New York City with offices in Nashville and Los Angeles, had approached him about buying out RCA and offering the group a recording contract at five times the album royalty rate as that of the established industry leader. Newsome subsequently talked with Chet Atkins who knew the executives at RIC and spoke very highly of them, especially the president and CEO, Joe Csida, who had previously served in the same position at industry giant Capitol Records. Atkins told the Trio and manager via telephone that they should seriously consider RIC's offer since he would have no further involvement in the project once the sessions were finished, mixed and mastered and that RIC would likely promote the album much more than RCA. RIC was a new label having been capitalized with $10 million from a private placement sale to principals and investors. It was an immediate major player in the music business with great fanfare in the industry. Bobby Darin, Brenda Lee & The Cumberland Trio RIC had made a huge splash a few weeks earlier by signing the # 1 male pop star in the USA, Bobby Darin, as well as the teenage pop/country phenom Brenda Lee. The young men, two of whom were still teenagers, were extremely reluctant to make the switch because of their comfort with Atkins, but the money and hard sell prevailed. RIC bought RCA out of the project including the tape of the Gotham Studios sessions and would officially sign the Trio the following week in Nashville. On Friday afternoon the Trio was photographed at Columbia Records' photography studios and also met with executives at the two largest talent agencies in the world, William Morris and Ashley-Steiner, auditioning with songs for both. Newsome was told that the group would have to develop a professional act, meaning they would have to learn how to entertain a live audience. The Trio understood the task ahead of them as they were very familiar with the performances of the big time folk groups, including The Kingston Trio, then the highest paid concert act in the music business. They knew what must be done and were prepared to focus on developing a really entertaining show over the coming summer in order to be ready for the album release and touring on college campuses and elsewhere in the fall. Fun Weekend In The Big City After an exhausting five days of recording, interviews and contract negotiations The Cumberland Trio remained in New York over the weekend, attending shows at many of the famous Greenwich Village clubs, including the Bitter End, Gerde's Folk City and the Gaslight Café, where they sat at a front row table to see the great Doc Watson perform. Doc had been on the same ABC-TV Hootenanny TV show as the Trio in Knoxville and the young men had bonded with him. They also took in some of the city's most famous sites, including the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Then it was

1.1 Ride Up
1.2 Rambler Gambler
1.3 John Henry
1.4 Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
1.5 Old Blue
1.6 I Wish I Were a Babe
1.7 The Hallandale Jail
1.8 A Lion Named Sam
1.9 South Australia
1.10 Song for a Drifter
1.11 Make Me a Pallet
1.12 Babylon

The Cumberland Trio: Lost & Found-The 1964 New York Sessions

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