Sunday, October 20, 2013
John Biggs The Roads We Travel Blue Valley Records 1979
Private press LP from Manhattan, Kansas. I got this by posting records on Instagram. There's an absurd amount of people that post, brag about, and talk about records on Instagram. I got into it just recently, started following @soundtracksunday. He posts a lot of soundtracks and his thing is he started the soundtracksunday hash-tag in which you listen, post, and hash tag a soundtrack on Sundays (obviously). I posted a copy of the Rockers soundtrack and mentioned I had a double, @soundtracksunday asked if I wanted to trade. I replied, sure, but sent it to him without committing to any sort of trade at the time. A few months later I got this out of it, cool right?
It is decent. John Biggs is a picker and falls a bit more on the country side of things than he does the bluegrass side. I wish there was a larger scene for stuff like this in Kansas. Many, many, years ago there was Big K Records out of Kansas City that did a lot of root driven country music. There's also the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. It's a large acoustic music festival catering to pickers, bluegrass and old time music. There's also an absurdly large scene that goes from Springfield to St. Louis, Missouri. Some of it incredibly good. Most of it a little too influenced by Jesus, the Ozarks, and Branson, Missouri. But, the good stuff is really good. Since the furthest I'm going to get away from Kansas is St. Joseph, Missouri, I wish there was more stuff like this available from Kansans.
Biggs is good when he keeps it on the country side. His originals aren't too bad. The traditional songs that make up the bulk of the album are the best moments. My biggest complaint is that his voice is in the higher registers. The arrangements are crisp and it tends to make his voice sound like a minstrel Renaissance fair singer. That, and he's from Manhattan, Kansas, but that goes without saying.