Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Missouri S/T Panama Records 1977
Missouri was a Kansas City band led by Ron West. In the late 60's, West fronted a fairly cool garage band called the Chessman. He and his brothers played the local scene relying on British Invasion covers and a few originals. After the garage scene ended, Ron couldn't quite the music business. Like many former garage rockers, when AOR gained favor, West went in the same direction. His brother, Gary West, actually did the same helping to form the band Shooting Star.
The album Ron West created is a nice little success story. It was put out by Panama Records in Kansas City. It doesn't appear Panama Records did much outside a handful of local releases, however, despite being independent in a time where major labels dominated, the song "Movin' On" became a modest hit on AOR stations in the late 70's. While most the success was regionally based, it got the band onto Polydor records for the second album and on national tours as a supporting artist.
Another thing the lack of major label money did was create an enjoyable album from start to finish. In an era of progressive rock and overly produced studio rock, Missouri sounds like roots rockers. The recording sounds organic and live. Gives the LP a timeless feel and wins over the likes of other KC bands like Shooting Star and Morningstar. The band would get a slicker sound on their major label LP, however, the didn't completely lose touch with the sound on this album.
What I can't stand about the album is the cover. I get that the Arch is a Missouri landmark, but the Kansans and Missourians in Kansas City can usually agree on two things and two things only; Kansas City is great and St. Louis sucks. Missouri is a Kansas City band, not cool to try to sell yourself as a St. Louis act. And, where the hell are those mountains from? Oh wait, they're from fucking Arizona. I suppose, I could make the connection as the last in the lower 48 to become a state, Arizona represents Manifest Destiny better than any other state, but that's a lot of explaining for an album cover and probably isn't right.
I'm Still Tryin'