Monday, September 7, 2015

The Beginning Self-Titled Sound Research Production 1972

The Beginning Self-Titled Sound Research Production 1972 CAT#NR2049

This is incredible. From what can be gathered from the back liner notes, the players featured are members of the Garden City, KS High School Music program and the album was cut at some time around 1972.

While most albums of this ilk spend time covering church music, fight songs and an occasional Beatles song, this goes WAY beyond. Of course, they do a Beatles cover and other pop hits of the era (in fact, the Beginning takes their name from the Chicago track which they cover to open the album). But, there's an original here, with fuzzed out guitar solos and high school amateur charm. Despite that the teen garage scene was a memory by 1972, these kids from Garden City apparently didn't get the message.

The liners indicate also the selections found on the two LP set were arranged by some ringers. A music major from Drake University, Max Lyon. A music major at Wichita State, Cort McClaren. As well as a member of the Colorado Air Force band, John T. Lawson, Jr. However, everything is played by the students at the Garden City High School and was recorded in Liberal, Kansas at likely the only nearby studio.

The album should be worth $100's for the efforts of Bryan Larson, who the liners indicate was a Garden City High School Junior at the time of the record. His guitar cuts across all the fluff. Second, he arranged a portion of the album, which starts on Side 2 with Jimi Hendrix's "You've Got Me Floatin'," which for 1972 anywhere Kansas just had to be 'what the fuck.' He then leads the band through a garage-driven version of the James Gang's "Funk #49." And as cool as those two selections are, the orinigal tune credited to Larson is the highlight of the album. A 15 minute and 55 second track entitled "Rats Running through the Garbage" that takes up most Side 3 is amazing. First, simply because the band instructor allowed it. Second, it's 15 minutes of a kid just freaking out on his guitar. At times the track sounds straight evil. It does get lost a number of times, but it's forgiven just for the inspiration the kids are playing with on it.

As for the cover selections, they aren't all mind blowing, but there are some pretty incredible covers. The cover of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," is drug riddled, with interesting vocal harmonies and a trippy attempt at making a guitar sound like a sitar. Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" sounds tiny compared to the original, but the amateur quality is enduring and there's a big chunky bass line and nifty guitar lines.  Not all the cover selections hit, but it makes up for it with unexpected drum breaks and fuzz guitar solos you'd expect from 1967 teens, not 1970's teens from Western Kansas.

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