A Kingston Trio, rather than The Kingston Trio, would be a better name for a band that's played "25 Years Non-Stop." This is the trio that has been tramping down Memory Lane in recent years, with Bob Shane the only original member. George Grove and Roger Gambil are the new faces, but they're not exactly fresh: It's sort of like Sha Na Na doing a folk-music revue.
The value of the record is that it collects many of the Trio's classics, from the silliness of "MTA" and "Zombie Jamboree" ("Back to back and belly to belly / But I don't give a damn 'cause I done dead already?") to the smoky solitude of "Scotch and Soda" to the instant nostalgia of "Tom Dooley," "Wreck of the John B" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." There's even Sheldon Harnick's "Merry Minuet" ("They're rioting in Africa . . ."), which gets quite a workout in Washington next week (it's also in Nacha Guevara's show at the Terrace).
Most of the material seems dreadfully dated and isn't helped by lackluster, metronomic renditions and tight-fisted but intrusive arrangements for electric bass, drums and fiddle. Shane's voice is well-worn, which gives some of the songs a desperately needed edge.
ON RECORD, ON STAGE
THE KINGSTON TRIO -- 25 Years Non-Stop (Xeres SCH 1-10001).
THE KINGSTON TRIO -- Tuesday through November 7 at Charlie's (Georgetown).