Sunday, March 15, 2015
Col. Saunders All Star Hotlick Amipholean Conservatory Stationary Marching Band The Levee Presents RIM Music 1967
Kansas City's The Levee is still around, going strong and featuring live music. The bar opened in 1965 and apparently, in the early days was popular enough to feature this house band and put out an album 1968. Or maybe the band just played there occasionally and wanted to put this out on their own. Either way, the 1968 date is questionable, from the album appearance, Col. Saunders All Star Hotlick band is a bunch of jokesters. The back liner notes are attributed to the Billy Shears, as in the "One and only..." The name and the idea of a stationary marching band, all jokes. Also questionable is the photo which shows a menu featuring a pitcher of beer costing $1.75, which would seem more 1970's.
However, a couple of the players were releasing music in the late 1960's, it's documented that George Winn the tuba player released a 7" in the mid-60's, so maybe the date isn't that off. The All Star Hotlick band would have been rather hip for 1968. You'd costumes and jazz wouldn't be cool, but it became an vogue thing in the 1970's to dress in attire and do an old-time style show. This KC group of players had a pretty hip idea for the late-60's. In fact, they're so hip, they put a jab in at white English blues players with a one minute yelp of screaming, "Blues get off my face!" So yeah, these guys were hipsters, too cool for even the cool English stuff.
The music is interesting, it's an updated take on dixieland jazz, done up to sing-a-long within a smokey bar. The banjo player and vocalist, Bobby Schad, has the affliction of the old time down pat. The band never leaves character and there are genuine highlights despite that no one needs another version of "The Lonely Bull" that was made famous by Herb Albert. The tune, "Georgy Girl," is pleasant, upbeat and worth a couple spins, the rockus intro of "Robert E. Lee (Down on the Levee)" gets your attention. "Dixie Yankee Doodle" is actually a rendtion of "Dixieland," which isn't needed, but it's easy to forget as Northern of a city Kansas City can be, it's still in the 'Southern' state of Missouri, but the song does actually morph into it's namesake which is fun. Finally, the band does "Havah Nagilah", which if you're Jewish is pretty great and if you're not Jewish, you probably heard it and like it.