Monday, August 24, 2015

The Dillards Tribute to the American Duck Poppy 1973

The Dillards Tribute to the American Duck Poppy 1973 CAT# PP-LA175-F

Looking at the back of this LP, the first thing you'll notice is that there is really only one Dilllard in the Dillards on this LP. However, Independence, Missouri native, Dean Webb was still going strong with the band.

It's not a very strong LP, but, it's not terrible. The band was continuing to try come up with a nice mixture of pop/rock and bluegrass, like a more homespun version of the country-rock genre. They win some, they lose some, but their harmonies remained great.

In addition to the band minus a Dillard, there are quite a few guest spots throughout the album, most noticeably, John Hartford on fiddle. Outside of some decent players, the band goes down some odd paths here in there, the experimentation can be interesting.

Music is Music (ignore the incorrect album cover)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Giants Chair Hot Boy Caulfied Records 1993

Giants Chair Hot Boy Caulfied Records 1993 NO CAT#

This, in the history of obscure KC related 45s, is up there at the top of the list. At the time of it's release in 1993, Giants Chair was still holding fort in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They hadn't come down to the Kansas City Art Institute and weren't well, art-damaged yet. This 7" is just some kids trying to make a record.

The songs featured here, "Commoncold" and "Weed Roses" aren't as filled with left turns and all the indie-rock tendencies bands draw themselves into. It's not better or worse for it, it's just a little more simple than what they'd go onto to do later. It's still aggressive, still has start-stop dynamics, but it's a clearer where they were taking you on the tunes. Also, on a side note, Giant's Chair was never an "emo" band, they came before it, but man, this sounds super-emo, especially "Weed Roses."

Hot Boy 7"

Season To Risk Mine Eyes B/W Why See Straight Columbia/Red Decibel 1993

Season To Risk Mine Eyes B/W Why See Straight Columbia/Red Decibel 1993 CAT# CS7 74888

Somewhere in the late-70's 45s became terribly boring and featured songs that were available on a full-length LP. Both tracks featured here were on Season To Risk's self-titled debut. While a 45 is cool for the completest, this isn't that necessary.

Both songs sound angry and dated today. There's that Jesus Lizard megaphone singing, which in 93' was still kind of cool, now it just sounds cliche. Letting "Why See Straight" stand by itself is kind of fun, though. There's some cool moments and ideas, the band gets a little lighter on the chorus harmony, showing they weren't always so metal about everything. "Mine Eyes" was an attempt at a single, it played around here. Sure it got love in other spots, but again, sounds dated now-a-days.

Mine Eyes

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Soft Reeds W/ Minden Split 7” Magic B/W Get Clean The Record Machine 2011

Soft Reeds W/ Minden Split 7” Magic B/W Get Clean The Record Machine 2011 CAT# TRM 038

I can’t get into the Soft Reeds…the song, “Magic,” is no different. It’s catchy and all, it’s just got too much flashy tricks, it sounds way too Republic Tigers, which to me, isn’t that Kansas City. But yeah, I'd spin it at a bar or something.

Minden is on the flip side and also a Kansas City band. They do, at least on this 7”, take a more lo-fi approach than the Soft Reeds, but it’s in the same vein of the atmospheric indie-rock.

Either way, it’s a nice 7” by the Record Machine, apparently limited and like anything limited, on colored vinyl.

Rodney Lay Coffeyville at 100 B/W The Ballad of Dalton Raid Layork Publishing 1969

Rodney Lay Coffeyville at 100 B/W The Ballad of the Dalton Raid Layork Publishing 1969 CAT# CS 196

This is an odd 7” celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Coffeyville, KS. Which, despite Coffeyville’s near nowhere status, has a fairly substantial history…whether a souvenir 7” was needed is up for debate, but there are some interesting stories to tell.

Rodney Lay, a Coffeyville native, attempts to tell a few of those stories. Lay was Coffeyville native who became a regional hit as a DJ. That led him to a tour with the famed Wanda Jackson in the 60’s. He also landed a small role in the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid which starred Kris Kristofferson. From there, he began working as the band director for country artist, Roy Clark, and fronting his own band. He did help to pen a few country tunes scattered throughout the Nashville scene and score some minor hits of his own throughout the 80s.

His tribute to Coffeyville is a bit amateur, though. “Coffeyville at 100,” could have talked about the town’s rich history, but rather, it’s just Lay rattling off what happened at the centennial celebration week. The flip side, “The Ballad of the Dalton Raid”, is cowboy-style, story song singing the history of how the Dalton’s were stopped in Coffeyville by the authorities. The same story is discussed in an Eagles song, “Doolin’ Dalton.” No matter what song you select, great story with legend advising it wasn't just the authorities that stopped the Daltons, but the settlers of Coffeyville took the matter into their own hands, laying 4 of the Dalton’s down, but miraculously, with  23 gunshot wounds, Emmett Dalton survived and was charged for his crimes.

The Mitchells to God, the Glory (In Honor of Our Parents 50th Wedding Anniversary) Unknown Year

The Mitchells to God, the Glory (In Honor of Our Parents 50th Wedding Anniversary) Unknown Year Cat# AHSPLS 17272

This is pretty much the definition of a custom press. I was done to honor a 50th Wedding anniversary for Mrs. & Mr. Mitchell. Pressed by Lawrence’s Audio House custom label.

Couldn't have been an insane amount pressed, possibly only 50, possibly up to 100 to be shared with the family. Which questions why this copy was found in an Arkansas thrift store, you’d think you’d hold onto such a nifty family heirloom. It does feature a nice photo of the couple in front of their old-timey car on the cover. Also, just for fun, it was pressed on blue vinyl.

As far as what’s on the album, well, pretty boring Christian stuff. However, apparently the Mitchells did have some pull/clout. The album is introduced by former Senator Arden Booth who along with serving as senator founded Lawrence radio station KLWN/KLZR and served as a radio personality. His story draws the Mitchells into the Lawrence, KS where they made their home. But, he gives a substantial history of the extended family.

Other than that, it’s just Christian church music. Not even creepy white gospel music…just vocal hymns.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Kathlyn Conroy Jessica and Nathan Reusch Wedding Flexi-disc May 24th, 2014

Kathlyn Conroy Jessica and Nathan Reusch Wedding Flexi-disc May 24th, 2014 NO CAT#

While I should probably discuss Cowboy, Indian, Bear before I jump into this, it's great and I due to the hassle of playing a flexidisc, I'm jumping in on this.

Kathlyn Conroy is a member of Cowboy, Indian, Bear and fronts her solo-project, La Guerra. Both of which are great, however, La Guerra isn't on vinyl, just CD. Nathan Reusch is an old friend and founder of The Record Machine . His label threw out a 5 LP bundle at a site called, Sound Supply and I wanted in on it, but had a couple of the featured records. I asked Nathan if rather than sending me dupes he could throw a few 45s I didn't have, and he threw this at me.

It was done as a party favor for his wedding. Kathlyn Conroy does an amazing rendition of the Christian hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It was penned in 1757 and typically centered around a folk backdrop. Conroy throws atmospheric keyboard sounds and her echoed distant voice on top, it's beautiful. The second track, Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You in the End" has been covered many times. Most of the covers help to showcase what a remarkable songwriter Johnston is, Conroy's is no different. She drops a single guitar line, more atmospheric synth sounds and her distant voice, it's very clever.

Count Basie and the Kansas City 7 MCA/Impulse! 1986/1962

Count Basie and the Kansas City 7 MCA/Impulse! 1986/1962 (repress) CAT# MCA-5656

Pretty clever album with Count Basie and smaller ensemble...7 as the title implies. It was originally released on the legendary Impulse! label in 1962 and is typically referred to as one of Basie's best outings from the 60s.

This is a MCA Impulse! reissue from the 80's, I guess when Blue Note, Impulse!, and Jazz saw a brief form of coolness in again in the mid-80's. It's a nice pressing, remastered, but it's easy to pick up clean and sounds just fine, although, any snob would tell you an original is the only way to go.

As for the Kansas City 7, it's mostly a namesake and a nod to where Count Basie got his cool from. However, flutist Frank Wess was a native Kansas Citian. Further, most the players did spend time with Basie at his peak in the 50's and throughout the time Basie called KC his home.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Appleseed Cast Mare Vitalis Graveface/Deep Elm 2015

Appleseed Cast Mare Vitalis Graveface/Deep Elm 2015 CAT# GRAVE032

Been on the hunt for this for a long time. There’s an original, then a reissue, both put out in limited pressing and both of which typically cost near the $100 mark. They’re available, I just don’t want to front that kind of change.

Initially, I was pretty stoked to hear about this Graveface 20 year anniversary repress, then it turns out they only put out 150 on black vinyl and an additional 150 on some goofy splatter vinyl. Second, it was like the thing was never on sale. I tried going to the Graveface website on the supposed release date and it was nowhere to be found. I believe it was sold out through pre-order and Graveface subscriptions. Next thing I knew, it’s on the internets for $75. Luckily, I was able to grab one without being to ripped-off, I was willing to spend the $50 someone asked for the copy I know have.
Fortunately, I got straight black vinyl, because splatter, colored or picture discs don’t really excite me like they do some people. In fact, they kind of piss me off. There’s people that spend upwards of $100 on a single album to own all variants? Why? What good does it do anyone to have 5 copies of the same album regardless of what it looks like?

Anyway, I’m glad to have a single copy of this LP. The second track, “Fishing the Sky” is the best thing the band ever did. I’d pay $50 for just that song. However, the whole album is 10 steps ahead of their debut, The End of Ring Wars.

For one, the band added Kansas Native, Josh Baruth, a.k.a. “Cobra”, on drums. His work took the band to another level. He’s a surgeon back on the set. He practically own the album. I’d give him all the credit for the LP, but the band’s songs were also improved.
The tracks put together are still heavy on the emo-side, paying homage to Sunny Day Real Estate and the band’s personal favorite, Mineral. However, there’s experimentation going on, noodling, and feedback throughout. The band was nearing their sound. But, they almost perfected the emo-version of themselves here. No one would have been upset if they decided to stay.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kerry Livgren Seeds of Change Kirshner 1980

Kerry Livgren Seeds of Change Kirshner 1980 CAT# NJZ 36567

Kerry Livgren was a founder of Topeka's finest, Kansas. He was a fundamental part of the band and behind their biggest successes. So, apparently, that meant make a solo-album, in 1980, when people stopped caring about Kansas. Coincidentally, in 1980, Livgren was still an active member of the band, this LP even features the likes of Steve Walsh and Phil Ehart just to prove things were still on the up and up.

It's ambitious, but that doesn't make it good. There's all sorts of synth and prog-rock moves, but honestly, the best parts of Kansas weren't about the prog-rock. It's also got some 80's pomp-rock metal moves, but who has time for that.

It features a pretty impressive cast of fill-ins as well, Ronnie James Dio sings a couple tracks (they sound super metal, bro), there's a member of Jethro Tull, and some dudes from Ambrosia as well. So not your A-Team by any means, but for Topeka, that's pretty solid.

Apparently, there's also a book Livgren wrote surrounding the concepts found within the album. If it's about the cover, which shows a fetus being extracted from a diamond with a razor blade... it's probably the best book in the history of the world, who doesn't want to read about that, right?

Kerry Livgren with Ronnie James Dio