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Riverside Rendezvous: 12 Hits



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  • Lacquer cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
  • Newly illustrated artwork by Tokio Aoyama
  • Informative 4-page insert with rare photos
  • Old school style tip-on gatefold jacket


Kim Trio, a unit of siblings Kim Pa, Kim Dan, and Kim Seon, only released two albums during their short-lived music career of three years in Korea. Born into a family of prominent musicians, the trio soon moved to America where they honed their skills at local clubs. The pair of albums that capture the band's unique Korean rendition of funky groove sounds were a major milestone in Korean gayo history, and remain sought-after among today's gayo aficionados and DJ's. The Trio's original songs feature sleek melodies and funky disco grooves that come to life through well-crafted musicianship. This definitive compilation captures the essence of the Kim Trio sound: from the early hit 'The Waterfront' to the sophisticated slow jam that was way ahead of its time, 'Goodbye to You'.

The Kim Trio: So Much More than ‘The Waterfront’

The Kim Trio are three siblings: Kim Pa, Kim Dan, and Kim Seon. Their father was trumpeter Benny Kim (Kim Young-soon), well-known for his appearances on the 8th US Army show circuits. Their mother was Lee Hae-yeon, who had a hit with ‘Heartbreak at Miari’. The family had moved to America in 1973. In the state of Illinois, Kim Pa graduated from the College of DuPage while Dan and Seon graduated from Glenbard West and Glenbard East High Schools, respectively. Seon took piano lessons since she was in kindergarten. The three siblings would receive professional training in various instruments, including enrollment in drum school. Eventually, Pa would master the bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, piano, and various percussion, while Dan mastered the guitar, bass, drums, and trumpet. Seon specialized in the piano, organ, Moog synth, drums, flute, trumpet, and various percussion. On stage, Pa, Dan, and Seon would respectively be in charge of drums, guitar, and keyboards.

On March 30th, 1979, the trio would set foot in Korea for the first time in 7 years. They were accompanied by their father Benny Kim, who facilitated their signing up with Anta Productions due to his connections with Ahn Chi-haeng, who he knew from the 8th US Army days. It didn’t take long for the trio to ascend to the top tier of Anta’s roster, along the likes of Choi Heon, Yoon Soo-il, and the Hee Sisters. The members being the children of the illustrious Benny Kim, of the Benny Kim Show, was one factor. But more than anything, they already had scored a massive hit with ‘The Waterfront’. However, the success of this track would end up becoming a hindrance for the band. ‘The Waterfront’, which was produced according to Ahn Chi-haeng’s keen reading of music industry trends, differed from the rest of the tracks on the album which were closer to the style of music the Trio were hoping to achieve. Fans of ‘The Waterfront’ were looking forward to something similar, with little time to spare on appreciating the band’s core sound. However, the debut album is full of intense tracks that showcase not only rock-solid musicianship, but also just how forward-looking their vision was.

‘Graffiti’ is a gem of a track, opening with an intrepid intro, fast-paced stops, brisk guitars, and busy drum fills that showcased how much Korea’s music scene had matured. The track announced the arrival of a unit that could finally go toe to toe with Love and Peace, who were one of the most musically accomplished bands at the time. The ballad ‘To the Sky’s’, written and sung by keyboardist Kim Seon, is steeped in soul influences. Kim Pa-written ‘Tell You Softly’, while sharing the taryeong-based melodics of ‘The Waterfront’, effortlessly showcases the trio’s refreshing chops as a funk ensemble. This track would later be covered by Gil Ok-yoon’s recruit, Mi-ae, on her 1982 album after signing with Anta Productions. In her TV show appearances, Mi-ae would often sing ‘Not Lonely’ from the 2nd Kim Trio album, which was an adaptation of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’. ‘You in My Dreams’ is another standout that excels in both popular appeal and musical artistry. Written by Kim Ki-pyo, it is another one of the Trio’s songs driven by chunky slap bass playing.

The 2nd Album, which Had Been Planned as Kim Seon’s Solo Album

A year after the smash hit ‘The Waterfront’ made them one of the biggest bands in Korea, the Kim Trio began conceptualizing their follow-up album. In fact, this 2nd album was originally meant to be a solo album by Kim Seon, who was to take the monicker ‘Seoni’. In interviews at the time, she commented that “The three of us will keep playing nightclubs, but in broadcasts I’ll be working as a solo singer.” Another article claims that “Having been a vocalist in her older brothers’ band, Seoni always had a mind to go solo. She was hesitant at first, but friends and family managed to convince her to make the move.” This decision was made not only in consideration of launching her to join the ranks of other solo acts that were dominating the TV broadcasts – such as Hyeuni, Lee Eun-ha, and Yoon Shi-nae – but also had to do with the fact that Anta Productions specialized in singers with previous band experience. This is why the name ‘Seoni’ is printed alongside the title ‘Kim Trio Vol. 2’ on the 2nd album’s cover. ‘The Waterfront’ producer Ahn Chi-haeng created the title track ‘Young Girl’ by incorporating Latin influences to trot. Everything about this track, from the lyrics to the arrangements, indicate that it was meant to be a vehicle for Kim Seon’s solo career. This is also apparent across the rest of the album, with Seon singing lead vocals on more tracks than on the debut album.

‘Everlasting Love’ was written by Kim Pa with lyrics by Jang Duk. It would later lead to more collaboration between the two on Jang Duk’s 3rd album, which features the track ‘Hey He’. Another standout track besides the title track ‘Young Girl’ is ‘What Am I To Do?’, where the trio’s outstanding musicianship is on full display, in a sophisticated and forward-looking style. It shows how the Trio had mastered the funky vibes that drove ‘The Way You Look (Keep On Dancin’)’ from the debut album and made it into something that’s entirely and originally theirs. ‘Goodbye to You’, which drummer Kim Dan has said is his favorite out of all of their songs, emphasizes harmonized vocals. ‘Tick, Tock’ is a slap bass extravaganza that goes beyond ‘You in My Dreams’ from the debut, with the instrument dominating the solo, section, and fill ins.

But in the end, the Kim Trio, a frontrunner band that played music that was way ahead of their time, decided to go back to America after releasing 2 studio albums and a Christmas carol record with fellow Anta Production artists. Reportedly, they’ve retired from music and are now leading religious lives.

Preview Tracklist

  • 1 낙서
  • 2 연안부두
  • 3 꽃 띠 여자
  • 4 살짝이 말하겠어요
  • 5 그대 모습 (Keep On Dancing)
  • 6 사랑은 영원히
  • 7 꿈속의 님아
  • 8 저 하늘 끝까지
  • 9 외롭지 않아 (I Will Survive)
  • 10 똑딱똑딱
  • 11 난 어떡해
  • 12 그대여 안녕히