Saturday, July 12, 2014
Three Businessmen Laughing at the Face of Danger Terminal Squat Records 1988
Three Businessmen Laughing at the Face of Danger Terminal Squat Records 1988 CAT# Squat 001
Ron Rooks was interesting dude. For 26 years, he ran the premiere record store in Kansas City, The Music Exchange. By the time I started shopping there in the 90's, he had amassed an absurd amount of vinyl. There were rumors that hidden from the customer's view, both in a warehouse and above the store he was sitting on even more. When he passed in 2006, the rumors virtually became confirmed (can't totally be true, the legend of hidden vinyl got a bit absurd) as thousands upon thousands of LPS, 78s, and 45s were unloaded in the West Bottoms. It was insane. Store owners that purchased from the collection still have untouched boxes sitting in various spots throughout Kansas City. However, it should be noted Rooks' best stuff was donated to the UMKC music archives, which is run by Chuck Haddock (local radio host who does a great job on a program called the Fish Fry).
Besides being the operator of the Music Exchange, Rooks was documented as quite the prankster in Westport. Google his name, you'll find some of his antics with The Pitch and the KC Star. He's no different on his self produced and released album. There's jokes all over this thing. The large green bar over the top meant to mimic the Mobility Fidelity label stating, "Original Three Quarter Master." The grotesque cover art meant to make you think you're holding something fascinating, rare and artistic, but upon further look, more jokes. The backside states, "Acousticly Enhanced for Two-Channel Mono," and, "Pressed on Vinyl Virgins." Rooks also gave a rundown of all his songs, comical little notes on his thought process.
Unfortunately, his legacy in KC wasn't for his ability as a songwriter. The jokes keep coming, but in song they become childish and weak. Furthermore, he jumped all over the place on the LP, country, funk, new wave, etc. and with all the cheap jokes, he just seems to be poking fun at music in general. The production is pure 80's and awfully watered down. I'm sure he wasn't working with much of budget, but you would have thought he'd let some musicians run free on his LP, y'know? He knew people. Overall, the music is kind of goofy and nonsensical. We're better off remembering Mr. Rooks for his Westport antics and his enduring love of vinyl.