Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The Rainmakers S/T Polygram 1986
1980's production sucks. Disco may have died, but the uber-slick production never went away. In the 80's the slick production style dominated, wet drums, vocal effects, synthesized horns, and guitars that sometimes don't sound real.
This album suffers from that, a lot. It's unfortunate, the songs, the lyrics, it's all there. You sense the roots rock and you can tell what the Rainmakers sounded like live, but that part of the band gets lost in the production.
When starting this project, I was excited to explore this band further. They are an 80's KCMO band that just recently released a new album. Their lyrics were featured in Stephen King novels, they had moderate chart success in the states, they were featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and always well reviewed. They were also absurdly big in Scandinavian countries, having the equivalent of gold records in Norway.
Having never heard the band, I was excited to find this at a good price ($5.99 at Half Price Books). All the reviews talk about the roots rock appeal of the band and Bob Walkenhorst's literate lyrics. The lyrical aspect of the band isn't lost in the production, even a dumb title like "Big Fat Blonde" drops J.D. Salinger into the mix. However, I cannot stress how much the production lessens this LP's appeal. You can tell the twang, jangle, and boogie rhythms were originally intended. But, in the 1980's it was apparently only going to make it on the radio if you made things sound plastic. The guitars don't rumble, they pierce. The drums don't bang, they splash. Good luck picking up on the bass, it's there, but as vanilla as possible.
Let My People Go-Go
Steve, Bob & Rich Pre-Rainmakers Live in 83 Big Fat Blonde