Thursday, September 18, 2014
Cavern Sound Local Customs Compilation Numero Group 2014
The Numero Group, despite their location in Chicago, is quickly becoming my favorite local record abel. First, the Eccentric Soul comp for the Forte Label, the Titan box set, several 45s (that I have yet to pick up), and now this amazing collection of fuzzed out, acid drenched, rockers from the Kansas City area all of which were recorded at the Cavern in Independence, Missouri. Granted, not all tracks are garage rockers, but of the 24 tracks, most are.
I've discussed the Cavern before, it's an actual cave in Independence that was turned into a recording studio. A number of regional labels used the facility to record their groups, Pearce being the main one featured here along with several other labels and few private press items. It's a cool story, no doubt, but reading Numero Groups extensive liners you'd think the thing was on legendary status. I think it's more of a fond memory here in KC, but, that's cool, let all the out of towners think our 60's weren't square, we were just a bunch of hippies and stoners recording shit in a cave.
It's an insanely well packaged set, an extensive booklet with notes on all the bands, heavyweight packaging with info on the Cavern on the inside, and two 180 gram discs to enjoy. As stated, mostly covers on what is now termed garage-rock, from the pop end to the acid psych end of it, but there's a few oddballs in there that don't fit any billing. Each selected track is worth paying attention to and I've gave my rundown below:
Pretty-Mustache in Your Face This band is rad enough to lead the set off and also have a double 7" released by Numero. The original 7" features a crazy label with the center hole as the mouth of a face drawn around it. It's a legend around town, but does show up from time to time. The group was highly psychedelic in the vein of 13th Floor Elevators, which given the vast array of teen bands in the 60's isn't surprising, but for dudes from Kansas City, pretty far out. The song is a scorcher.
Fraight-One Girl Hey, something from Manhattan, KS, how about that. Thinking about it, it would have been pretty long trek from Manhattan to Independence as the K7 highway didn't even exist at the time, you had to back road the trip until you reached KC. The band was probably hot-shit at K-State, but I would think that's like be being the best ice skater from Australia. Not that big of deal. Decent harmonies, but stuck in a swamp of 60s pop sounds.
American Sound Ltd.-Aunt Marie The founder of this band was from Granby, Missouri before gigging in KC, then getting shipped off to war. Upon his return to KC, he founded this band. This track is pumped full of blue-eyed soul and horns. It's a killer track, with a sweet vocal on the chorus. It's similar to the Chicago's and Blood, Sweat, and Tears of the world but this is such an undeniable dance track, it's a killer.
The Classmen-Doin' Me Right The drummer of this band looks like he's 12 years old in the photo, but the singer has some definite age to him. This was a family band of brothers from Independence, MO and dad controlled the show. It's a nice little blue-eyed, soul ballad. The singers baritone (or attempt at it) clashes well with the boys in the back shouting out a falsetto chorus.
Jaded-Lovin' You's Blues Folky-psych sounds from a group of Kansas City Insurance employees. It's got some tripped out effects on a flute and a dark subject matter, surprising that these guys thought people would be into something this dark around KC.
Larry Sands & The Sound Affair-You'll Know the Words Kansas City based band, this is a spaced out attempt at country rock, falling in the middle and leaning towards neither. That's not a bad thing as it just kind of floats in space with light whispered vocals and guitar effects floating all over.
Sheriff-I Don't Really Love You Cool, upbeat pop sounds. Singer has a nice Midwestern twang he brings to his vocals. This could have easily been a hit in any state, just a good pop song.
Tide-I Wish it Had Ended That Way Lawrence, KS band with a gritty rock sound and a very clumsy chorus. It's a decent track, but could have had a bigger bottom and maybe some more stoner rock tossed in.
Bulbous Creation-The End of the Page Extremely dark, psych folk from a Prairie Village,KS Vietnam vet. Numero Group is re-releasing the sole album by this band...it's so un-Prairie Village I'll have to save my breath and talk about it when I grab a copy. Very interesting story as the album wasn't released until the group's creative force, Paul Parkinson, was found dead in his home. His brother found the acetate of his Cavern recordings and was smart enough to let people hear it.
Mulligan-Think Before You Leave This band actually is from Tennessee, story indicates they were kicked out of their studio by Elvis Presley and told to drive to Missouri for a session? In actuality, not that far, but still, really? This can't be true. Not a bad rock sound soaked in Nashville country-soul.
Montaris-7 And 7 Is This was a Plattsburg, MO band that plow through Love's 7 And 7 Is. Considering Love wasn't a huge hit almost everywhere outside of San Francisco, CA, these dudes had to be the coolest guys in Plattsurg back in their day.
Stone Wall-Living Today Not to be confused with the obscure garage rockers from Indiana, these kids were from Shawnee Mission and the surrounding Kansas City area. Pretty fantastic track with huge high and lows. Great guitar work, pretty killer mid-tempo garage rock.
Morningstar-Little By Little Before becoming an unoriginal, major-label, pomp-rock band Morningstar could do some garage rave-ups. Female vocals with wound up sound, it's the best thing the band ever did. Granted, only one member from this line-up makes it to crap-Morningstar, but the band's history just got a million times cooler for me.
Baxters' Chat-Love's Other Other Side Great name for a band from Baxter Springs, KS, eh? The bands teenage dance garage was released on two singles by the Pearce label, this song isn't killer, but it's got a nice pop-psych sound.
Burlington Express-One Day Girl (Twenty Four) Decent garage pop out of Topeka, Kansas. The band photo shows some shaggy hair kids, but they were trying to go at the mod scene (they are dressed spiffy). Of note, the band once opened for the Who and featured Greg Gucker who later performed in a band called White Clover who later gave way Kansas. However, Gucker didn't make the cut and was never featured on a Kansas LP to my knowledge.
The Reaction-In My Grave This is pure garage rock greatness. Amateur-hour, stagnated guitar solos, organ riffs, and drum banging, it's perfect. Their band photo doesn't make them look half as cool as this song, but these were Jr. High kids from Rolla, MO, what do you expect?
21st Century Sound Movement-Feelin' Down Great band name for sure, these dudes were from the Hickman Mills area of KC. Pretty psychedlized scorcher with some nifty fuzz guitar thrown in.
The Dantes-Any Number Can Win There's a band photo in the extended liners to this comp and these guys look young...but, the liners also indicate some of the members had graduated from KU. The band was formed at Shawnee Mission High, so from the Kansas side and do some somewhat psychedelic raving, but nothing shocking.
Larry Sands & the Sound Affair-If I Didn't Want to See You Anymore Pretty wimpy folk-pysch with an out of place heavy bottom that includes a dark organ and some nice vocal harmonies.
Fraight-William Jones This is dark and moody, a bit boring, but interesting given the time period. It's slow, but not in a ballad style, just kind of a creepy tune with drawn out lyrics and harmonies.
The Classmen-Any Old Time It's decent enough garage pop, nothing that really jumps out on the tune. It's pleasant enough for pop radio and has a lo-fi aesthetic to it.
Jaded-The King Was Tons of effects and wah-wah guitar. Heavy into the pyschedelic scene as well. As with the other tune featured by the band, it was never released officially, only acetates were cut.
The Dantes-She's Part of Me Yawn, 60's ballad style stuff. The band's panty dropper and slow dance original. Does have a nice soul inspired moment though with some blue-eyed yearning.
A.J. Rowe-Smoke My Pipe (The Sign Ain't Right) Kind of mystery man, but this is pretty awesome. Sparse, lo-fi, funk work out with off-the-wall lyrics and attitude. The 7" it was featured on is out there, approximately 1000 exist and was funded and put out by Rowe himself.