Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beth Scalet It's A Living... Wakarusa Records 1981

Beth Scalet It's A Living... Wakarusa Records 1981 CAT# WR 5181

Two things that are great about this LP that don't have much to do with the actual tunes: First, love the label, Wakarusa Records, can't be much more Lawrence, KS than that. By all indications, Wakarusa is a private label for Scalet. Second, the LP is pressed on virgin vinyl and was mastered at half-speed, nice on the audiophile aspect.

As far as the tunes, Beth Scalet is a good songwriter. There isn't anything that jumps out and screams put me on mix tape, but she's got a bluesy voice, she's a proficient musician and grabs from a wide range of influences to base her folk tunes. You hear a lot of 70's blues and country rock making their influence heard on the LP. This was her first collection of songs and would serve as a promising debut.

She played locally throughout the 70's in Kansas City and Lawrence. Her bio indicates she's originally from Ottawa, KS, but not a lot going on there if you want to get yourself heard. Her folk-based originals gathered her local attention and did allow her to open for some major artists in the area.

It is a bit surprising that all that came out of Beth's performances was this private-press release and a cassette release years later. After hearing it, you'd think a major label would have loved to a give a strong female songwriter a chance, albeit her folk based tunes were a bit out of season by 1981. Honestly, Scalet's sound is very similar to Melissa Etheridge and came out 7 years prior to Etheridge's debut. It makes you wonder if Etheridge was one of the spectators at one of Beth Scalet's early coffeehouse or big-time opening act shows.

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