Monday, April 6, 2015
Merrill Staton Choir Kansas' First 100 Years in Song Columbia 1961
The only real attraction to this LP is the cover. The iconic John Brown painting right there on the front. Talk all you want about Kansas' Old West history, but John Brown would kill you for the right reason. He was a bad-ass and not be crossed.
As for the music and the Merrill Staton Choir, it's okay. Vocal renditions of songs that are historically linked to Kansas. The state song, "Home on the Range", is obviously here. The rest is a little less known. It's all vocal choral work. It gets a bit Broadway at times, there is some instrumentation here and there, but there's probably very few that are interested in this type of thing anymore.
It's hard to place the actual choir. Initially, it appeared as this was a Columbia Records Special release and the Merrill Staton Choir was a canned group of studio singers pumping out these type of albums for all state centennials. A quick major-label cash grab type of thing. However, the Merrill Staton Choir has a discography, often covering Western music. It does appear there is some connection to Kansas here. The choir recorded for Epic and Columbia and apparently was based somewhere in the state.