Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WDAF Radio Presents KC Jazz with Count Basie WDAF RADIO 1965

WDAF Radio Presents Kansas City Jazz '65 With Count Basie & Renowned Jazz Stars Recorded Live from the 1965 Festival
WDAF Radio 1965
CAT# KC-610

This is some Kansas City pride on vinyl.  I've talked to guys that own this album and claimed it to be the Holy Grail of Kansas City Jazz.  It's not, in fact, I got it free at a yard sale.  It does have Count Basie on it and is still readily available and easy to find.  Further, a simple search on eBay shows that the LP was distributed well throughout the states.

It features two performances by Count Basie, who in the intro says, "It's good to be home," and renames 'April in Paris' to 'April in Kansas City'.  Truth be told, Mr. Basie is not from Kansas City.  However, his career starts here, his music developed with Charlie Parker in Kansas City, so he's ours, he's a local talent.  Other than Count Basie, then names on this LP aren't all that big, solid acts but not being a jazz snob myself, most appear to be on the second tier.  The fantastic thing about the LP is that many of the backing artist are local Kansas Citians sitting in.  There's even a track with Raytown South High School players.

As for KC Jazz as a scene, I think it's safe to say, it died with Charlie Parker.  True, the 1930's Kansas City is the birthplace of bebop and what has come to be known as Kansas City Jazz or the transition from Big Band era to improvisation and a more free flowing music.  In the 1930's through the 1940's, KC just had to be an incredible scene.  But, by 1965, the Jazz thing had become more a matter of pride than a true Kansas City art form.  And, this album does the pride thing well.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Marcy Tigner A.K.A. Little Marcy-Creepy Jesus Music

Marcy Tigner-Little Marcy LPS

Marcy Tigner, who sadly, passed away a year ago, was a native of Wichita, KS.  She ended up in the Northwest studying music.  Prior to her doll Little Marcy's success, there's supposedly two trombone albums she recorded as Marcy Tigner.

As an avid Christian and a failed musician, Marcy Tigner came up with Little Marcy to continue perfomring and playing music.  Little Marcy, as you can see in the 4 LPS I currently own, is a doll.  It's gospel stories and songs marketed for children, but before I dive too deep into that, Little Marcy is an actual doll and credited as a singer on these albums.  On early LPS, you see Marcy depicted as a cartoon or artwork, but later LPS are the actual doll.  Why are kids supposed to believe the doll is singing?  I suppose there was TV show to go along with it, but it just seems a bit absurd to use a ventriloquist doll to sell LPS.

Considering the amount of recorded material Marcy Tigner put out as Little Marcy, I believe it's safe to say, she is the most prolific Kansas born artist of all time.  They make for good gag gifts and they show up in thrift stores often.  Overall, they're creepy.  Marcy sings and speaks in a high pitch squeal, there's off key children chorus' floating throughout and the musicianship is amateur.  The subject matter, Jesus, makes it even creepier.

Nevertheless, if you see a Little Marcy album, pick it up.  They are bizarre and like I said, can usually make for a good laugh.  Second, there is a "market" for weird crap like this, people will actually buy it, not for much, but they will buy it.  But, please don't play them to your kids, they'll get nightmares.

Little Marcy - Devil, Devil, Go Away!
The TV Show

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reflector Recess Theory Split 7" Arise Records 1998

Reflector & Recess Theory Split 7"
In Spite Of  b/w A Small Town in Smalltown, KS
Arise Records
NO CAT# 1998

This first Reflector release I talk about is going to be talked about a lot.

Back when I was a scenster, I was introduced to Jake Cardwell of Reflector through Matt Rubin.  Matt was a highschooler that first put out a 7" split with the Anniversary & Proudentall.  I can't remember how I got in touch with Matt...I think it was because I was writing for an eZine called Signal Drench and we were at a show, he said he was putting out a record on his Paper Brigade Label, I said I'd review it or what have you.  Anyway, Matt's second release was a 5 song EP by Reflector.  So, as I was hanging out with Matt, he introduced me to Reflector and therefore, Jake Cardwell.

Jake Cardwell...if you're into the local scene in Kansas City, you know Jake Cardwell.  He friggin' knows everybody.  Part of it being this band, most of it being that he and has dad run C & C Drums.  At the time of this release, I believe C&C Drums was just a shop (don't quote me, I'm not a drummer).  Now, C&C Drums makes incredible custom drums for worldwide acts.  The list of drummers that use C&C is phenomenal.  Just go to the website and check it out, they are doing KC super-proud.

Anyway, this time period and group of friends--is the local scene I remember most fondly.  I wasn't at  KU at this point and I was trying desperately to find myself or at least a hobby while at community college in Overland Park.  The group of people surrounding Reflector were some of the best people I've ever met.  One guy, Nathan Reusch is doing big things right now with a local labal, The Record Machine.  They've released great local albums by Capybara, the Soft Reeds, and Cowboy, Indian, Bear among others.  Another person I ran into hanging with this crowd was Aaron Pillar of the Appleseed Cast because that band moved to Lawrence right around the same time and were friends with Reflector (I guess both Reflector and Appleseed Cast were in the Christian Rock scene previously before going "emo", I wasn't there for any of that Christian stuff).  Obviously, I met the rest of the Cast guys too, but there's a good story about Aaron when I get to them. There's just so many people to name, but the point is, great people surrounded Reflector.  It's impossible for me not to put on one of these records and not remember that period of my life.

As for the music, Reflector was a decent 3 piece band.  I loved singer/guitarist Jared Scholz's voice on these records.  Jared is currently a preacher at a church in Olathe, KS.  Jake and bassist Harry Anderson backed Jared nicely, but always felt a little heavy when compared to Jared's high register voice.  The music, this song included, is angular indie-rock.  'In Spite Of' is one of their better outings.  Live it was a great number because it's easier to mask the short-comings, studio version feels a bit weighted and lacks energy, perhaps a bit too adventurous for it's own good with all the start-stop dynamics.

The flip side by Recess Theory deserves mention for it's subject matter--Kansas.  But, it should be noted the band was from Florida.  I did meet the band, the singer actually has ties to Kansas, I believe his grandparents lived in the state.  It's a play on Kansas weather, talks the joys of small towns, then just screams, "It's 20 degrees out, 20 below!  I hope it snows!"  I love the idea, and it's a good little indie-rock gem, just wish someone from Kansas had actually wrote it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Zoom Ernst & Son b/w Planet Pinball 7" Louts Pool Records 1992

Zoom Ernst & Son b/w Planet Pinball
Lotus Pool Records
CAT# 7 (?) 1992

Zoom is a great band.  Obscure, but great.  This band is so obscure that I remember playing one of their full length CDs on Plow the Fields on KJHK 90.7 and reading the description/review of the CD.  If memory serves, it says something to the effect, "Not sure who these guys are, but they are local and it's really good."  That's pretty obscure to be unknown by all the hipster douchebags at the college radio station.  Needless to say, they did gain notoriety around town during their day.  I was previously only aware of the self released (I think) CD and the Helium Octipede CD which came out on the Tim Kerr label until I stopped in at Zebedee's RPM.  Every time I go in that store, I find the coolest shit.

Zoom is a Lawrence band, but much more rooted in the KC thing that was going around at the same time.  Far more comparable to the likes of Giant's Chair, Boy's Life than they are Kill Creek or Vitreous Humor.  Complex, nerdy indie rock, y'know, Slint dynamics, all that.  The Ernst & Son song starts with the slow building guitar line until layering up and the speak sing vocals come then some screaming.  I love this stuff.  Just tons of crunchy guitar layered on top of each other, big drums just crashing down, why doesn't anybody make post-hardcore like this anymore?  Unfortunately, the B-side is just that.  Something they seemed to hammer out quickly to fill a side, same style, just not much thought given.  It just screams "Planet Pinball" over and over, which is great if it's about the Replay Lounge.  I can't confirm that.

Members of the band did do some other stuff, Mark Henning the singer was in the Bells, after that I stopped being hip.  The bassist gigged in Panel Donor which was a solid band as well.

So Obscure you only find a 2010 Reunion Gig on YouTube, but it's f'n great.
Ernst & Son from the same show
And Plant Pinball

***Afterthought, reviewed information on the first CD that was put out by ZOOM.  Both songs are featured on the CD so Planet Pinball isn't a B-Side, its the second to last song on their full length CD.  However, there is some confusion as All Music doesn't list the same CD as Discogs.com does.  Feel free to comment.

Ghosty S/T More Famouser Records 2012

Ghosty S/T 12" LP
More Famouser Records
CAT # MF004 2012

I got to talk about some new stuff sooner or later.  I picked this up in a trade at Vinyl Renaissance.  This gem is self-released, at least I'm pretty sure.

I had the opportunity to work Andrew Connor who, for the most part, is the sole songwriter.  At the time, he was a freshman or sophmore in college.  The drummer, Richard Gintowt, was part of my music staff at the mighty KJHK 90.7 FM, thus the connection.  Richard is no longer is in the band, he does all sorts of local goodness in the Hidden Pitcures among other local endeavors.  I got to record them for Plow the Fields, it sounds awful, but you could probably ask the band, I was so proud of myself...I wanted to put the recording out for consumption.  Listening back on it, yeah, pretty scratchy, too many mics.

Going back to this LP, now and then, I've always thought Andrew Connor is a great songwriter.  His songs are well thought out, the lyrics are clever and witty, everything is soaked in melody.  My problem has always been it's too pleasant, to the point it becomes kind of predictable.  It reminds me of later Matthew Sweet after Richard Lloyd stopped laying down guitar tracks.  There's nothing that's going to punch you in the face.  To it's benefit, there's nothing that's going to make you hate the record either, it's pleasant.  If Andrew Connor can find the Mick Ronson to his David Bowie, it's going to be amazing.  Just someone, a prodcuer, a lead guitar that splashes his songs with something unexpected.  Until then, sweet power pop sounds.

Of note on the LP, 'You Saved Me,' 'Let Me In,' and 'You Shut Me Out' are freakin' hits, they passed the mix tape test and people should here them.

Ghosty You Shut Me live at the Replay
Free songs and stuff on the web from Ghosty the Website