Despite the Kingston Trio's nearly unprecedented success in record sales, by early 1961 a rift developed and deepened between Guard on one side and Shane and Reynolds on the other. Guard had been referred to in the press and on the albums' liner notes as the "acknowledged leader" of the group, a description never wholly endorsed by Shane and Reynolds, who felt themselves equal contributors to the group's repertoire and success. Guard wanted Shane and Reynolds to follow his lead and learn more of the technical aspects of music and to redirect the group's song selections, in part because of the withering criticism that the group had been getting from more traditional folk performers for the Trio's smoother and more commercial versions of folk songs and for the money-making copyrights that the Kingston group had secured for their arrangements of public domain songs. Shane and Reynolds felt that the formula for song selection and performance that they had painstakingly developed and rehearsed still served them well.Such an obvious business model: take someone else's freely-given effort and spin it into cash. It's like they invented the internet.
Furthermore, over $100,000 appeared to be missing from the Trio's publishing royalties (an accounting error eventually rectified) and that created an additional irritant to both sides: to Guard because he regarded it as inexcusable carelessness and to Shane and Reynolds because it highlighted what they perceived as Guard's propensity to claim individual copyright for some of the group's songs, including "Tom Dooley" (though Guard eventually lost a suit over copyright for that number to Alan Lomax, Frank Warner, and Frank Proffitt) and "Scotch and Soda".