Saturday, December 24, 2016

S. Frank Frazier Singing Christmas Carols Voice of Psalm Music Unknown Year

S. Frank Frazier Singing Christmas Carols Voice of Psalm Music Unknown Year CAT #D1026

I don't celebrate the Christmas holiday, but I can dig some soulful gospel renditions of holiday classics. S. Frank Frazier was a Kansas City native doing his thing at the Metropolitan Spiritual Church in KCK. By 1971, he started Voice of Psalm Music and  put out a number of Gospel LPs.

As this is a Christmas LP, I can't say I recommend it...but, there are some originals and again, the tunes here bring a lot of soul. Based on the back cover, you'd think this album is going to be amazing, but again, Christmas songs, no matter how many times you rearrange them, you gotta be one of those people that just loves the holiday to find a lot of value in it.

I have another S. Frank Frazier LP I'm hoping I can blow doors off with. Apparently in 1961, Frazier recorded a blues single that charted and sold well. So, the guy has some secular cred. Additionally, the players and his voice are top-notch on this record, So, I'm expecting big things from additional LPs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kansas Point of Know Return Half-Speed Mastered CBS 1977/1980

Kansas Point of Know Return Half-Speed Mastered CBS 1977/1980 CAT #HZ 44929

I've discussed this LP before, it's Kansas' masterpiece, there most well thought out LP and it's got the hits.

This version differs in that it's a CBS Half-Speed Remaster that came out in 1980. In the 70's, Mobil Fidelity Sound Lab began to remaster titles at half speed and make limited runs on high quality vinyl. Better known as MoFi, the records sound great and are considered audiophile releases, sold at a premium and still command a significant amount today. They started a trend and the majors attempted to latch onto audiophile trend. Obvisouly, someone thought enough of Kansas to press up some audiophile copies.

Problem is that while an album like 'Point of Know Return' deserves an audiophile pressing, CBS' process wasn't anywhere as good as the MoFi releases. There are some Half-Speed CBS records that aren't any better, possibly worst than the original pressing. This pressing isn't terrible, but it's not great either. It's really bright and thin, which brings out a lot of keyboards well, but other areas suffer. It's generally panned as a terrible audiophile press, but I would still argue it's listenable (there's a CBS Self-Titled Boston LP that is absolute garbage and this isn't on that level of suckitude).

Surprisingly, despite that most experts will say stay away from this and most other CBS Half-Speed pressings, a copy still demands a premium over a clean original. Apparently the thought of having something marked audiophile outweighs the quality to some people.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ozark Mountain Daredevils Men From Earth A&M Records 1976

Ozark Mountain Daredevils Men From Earth A&M Records 1976 CAT #SP-4601

Although they continued several more years past this release, this LP marks the end of a pretty good run for the Springfield, MO band that made a huge impression on Kansas City in their early days. This effort wasn't as consistent as their prior releases, but it's the same odd blend of old-time bluegrass, smooth pop, and country rock that sometimes goes song to song and other times within a single track.

There's a crazy story about founding member, Randle Chowning getting into a fight with his bandmates in Europe and quitting the band around the time of this LPs release. Apparently, a band sound mix pissed Chowning off, so he turned it to 11. After the show, he argued with band members and held a grudge all the way back home and ended up leaving the band. Despite that, he's listed as a sideman in the credits for 'Sideman From Earth', obviously appearing on some of the album tracks. Also interesting, the album was recorded EVERYWHERE. In Nashville, as well at the legendary Caribou Ranch in Colorado, and surprisingly at American Artist Studio in Springfield, Missouri, the same studio that drummed up business releasing a bunch of local custom and private press records in the area.

Again, 'Men from Earth' is a bit more uneven than the prior LPs, maybe due to the all the different recording locations. But, it's not a miss by any means, it has its share of enjoyable tracks, just lacking an obvious hit.

Fly Away Home

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Music Department of Shawnee Mission North in Concert 1966-67 Century Records 1967

Music Department of Shawnee Mission North in Concert 1966-67 Century Records 1967 CAT # CL 4-5600

Not much to this LP, not even the typical Beatles cover that was all the rage with high school choirs. Really only reason to pick it up is to archive it.

It's the Shawnee Mission North music program recorded in concert. The girl's choir is kind of entertaining, but yeah, nothing special. Typical selections for a high school program and it all ends up sounding like church music.

Greater Corinthian Nondenominational Church of Kansas City, Missouri Close to Thee HSE of America 1980

Greater Corinthian Nondenominational Church of Kansas City, Missouri Close to Thee HSE of America 1980 CAT #HSE 1543

This LP is hot fire. The title and opening track 'Close to Thee' starts funky with a rootsy choir, the lead male takes over taking a standard approach, then, I can't tell if it's the same guy or someone pairing with him, but this insane falsetto voice starts and owns the song. The next track, 'Sanctified, Justified, Glorified' is uptempo gospel, maybe a little too fast for the church's own sake as everyone has a hard time keeping up, but it makes the song real and live. It also continues for over 10 minutes. Third and final track on the 1st side, 'Plenty Good Room', slows things down considerably, but there's still plenty of fire pouring through it's grooves.

The second side starts hot with female led track, 'By and By'. After that, the album finishes with a winding gospel jam that is followed by an exit prayer, exploding in gospel music in the last minute.

As the title states, the church was located in Kansas City. The record was put out by the Nashville, TN gospel lable, HSE of America. Don't know much about the players, but they're great. Solid LP.

Sanctified, Justified, Glorified

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Linda Rich There's More to Living Than I Know So Far Inter-Varsity Records 1969

Linda Rich There's More to Living Than I Know So Far Inter-Varsity Records 1969 CAT #LPS-03498

The cover for Linda Rich's 'There's More to Living Than I Know So Far' catches your eye with it's 60's pop-art lettering and simplicity. You turn it over, and in the upper right there's a picture of Linda Rich and she looks motherly, old even. Then you read through the back notes and it's all about Jesus and religion, now she looks like a grandma in the photo.

If you search the LP online, though, you'll find that it's sold often as "folk-psych" as well as with the Christian abbreviation, Xian. Once you listen to it, the "folk psych" thing is just hype, it's folk, but as psych as the weakest Moody Blues song. It's certainly religious, but you can figure out why there's a demand for the LP. It's well-done femme folk from the late 60's. Linda Rich's back photo must just be a bad angle, because her voice doesn't sound like an older woman, she sounds youthful. The album is Linda Rich, her guitar, and backing musicians that do their best to bring about a hippie-inspired dream session. If you can get past all the Jesus, it's a pretty solid LP. The reissue label Numero Group even featured the track "Sunlight Shadow" on a recent compilation.

The back cover gives some clues to Linda Rich, she played around colleges for Christian youth groups throughout the Midwest and apparently an awful lot in Colorado. She was from Augusta, Kansas, which is a small town about 30 minutes East of Wichita. Other than that, she did another obscure LP and it appears she was a recent college grad or current student at the time of this release in 1969.

Sunlight, Shadow

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Anniversary Designing a Nervous Breakdown Vagrant/Heroes & Villians/BMG 2000/2016 Reissue

The Anniversary Designing a Nervous Breakdown Vagrant/Heroes & Villains/BMG 2000/2016 Reissue CAT #VR4401

Man, I remember being so excited for this record in 2000. I actually got an advance copy to promote through an indie-promotion company when I was doing "street team" work. The Anniversary was becoming a big deal, locally and nationally. They were touring with the Get Up Kids, the singles they had released up to their debut were frantic emo-pop sing-alongs.

However, when I got the album I remember being completely let down. The album starts out promising with "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" followed by "All Things Ordinary", but after that, I remember thinking the band had run out of ideas. The Rentals formula was wearing thin and in bursts, it worked for the band, but for an entire album, it gets thin. When the album was officially released, I never bothered updating my promo copy which was just a disc in a plain white envelope with a hype-sticker across the back.

Years later, when nostalgia took over, I regretted never buying it on vinyl. When I started looking for it, I would have been lucky to find a copy for $50. Then, just recently, Vagrant started re-releasing a bunch of their back catalog for the label's 20 year anniversary and this was included. I waited too long apparently to get a standard black copy and settled for this blue colored version...and once again, I was disappointed when I first put it on. Not because I felt I bought a bad album, I can now validate the purchase for two great tracks and some solid filler, I got more money than I did in 2000. But, what I was upset about this time was slightly warped vinyl...WTF. Quality control on recent vinyl pressings leaves a lot to be desired, but that's to be expected when everyone is buying records again.

Either way, the album sounds better today than it did back then. Bonus, the warp doesn't affect playback, so it's cool. I'm picking up on all the moments when the Get Up Kids association rubbed off on these guys, the pick slides, the obvious emo infliction, it's nice. But, mostly it's the nostalgia that gets me.

Designing a Nervous Breakdown

Larry Good Movin' Country Lari-Jon Records Year Unknown

Larry Good Movin' Country Lari-Jon Records Year Unknown CAT #R-1179

Larry Good looks like a bad-ass in his fancy cowboy hat and turquoise jewelry. Truth is, the Kansas City born performer was. Looking at the cover, you'd think it's just some sap from the KC area trying on his country digs, and it is, but Larry Good had a name.

Prior to starting up in rockabilly and country music, Larry Good was Kansas City born baseball player who played in the Chicago Cubs minor league system as an infielder in the early to mid-50s, but he never made the Show. Following his baseball career, he put out a slew of 45s on the Kansas City labels, some of the early rockabilly stuff he did is well-regarded. He continued his music career for over 40 year and apparently, in the 80's he founded Lari-Jon Productions/Records that coincided with a country music television program that aired throughout Nebraska.

The album suffers from dated production, but overall, Larry isn't so bad. He picks out some ass-kicking country to cover, He sticks to traditional country honky-tonk, early country sounds. He jumps into his rockabilly groove on a cover of "White Lightnin'". There's two originals that conclude the LP, they're pretty simple attempts at sing-along bar chants or possibly something he had in mind for the closing of his television program.

Shawnee Mission West High School The West High Story HPC Records 1963

Shawnee Mission West High School The West High Story HPC Records 1963 CAT #SPB-623

This record commemorates the newly opened Shawnee Mission West High School, which opened it's doors to students in the Overland Park area for the 1962-1963 school year. So in that regard, given that it was a newly formed music program, I guess this is good.

However, apparently the West High Story is about religion. The first side is exclusively Christian. The second side only steps away momentarily, but gets back to it in the matter of a couple of songs. It's a pretty boring story and now that Shawnee Mission West has an actual history, there's probably better story to tell. One thing is for sure, when you see the Facebook post demanding G-d be put back in public schools, the who posts those types of rants has never heard this album, it's boring and there's no way you'd want Christianity back in school if it meant going back to this type of music program.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Reflections My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys American Artists

The Reflections My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys American Artists Unknown Year CAT #AAS-1500-LP

Not sure of the year on this, but it's gotta be sometime in the 80's judging by the scorching cover of 'Fame.'

Also, not exactly sure where The Reflections are actually from, but searching the large lists of names on the back cover would indicate most players resided around Pittsburgh, Kansas. The group is made up a large group of teenagers, some with guitars, a few with keyboards, even some horns, and a single drummer keeping the Reflections in place.

It's basically a high school style music review, but with songs the kids were actually interested in. Which for the area, is country...lots of country. 'Long Haired Country Boy' by Charlie Daniels is probably the highlight as it's way too adult for the kids performing it. Other than that, the attempts at pop songs are fun, the horns are usually heavy in those tracks and the cover of Olivia Newton-John's 'Totally Hot' gets pretty dirty.

The amateurishness of these types of LPs are endearing and The Reflections are strong in that regard.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kevin Morby Harlem River Woodsist Records 2013

Kevin Morby Harlem River Woodsist Records 2013 CAT #WOODSIST071

This is Morby's debut LP as a solo artist. Years spent with his other bands primaraly in New York brought about 8 tracks which Morby has said were influenced by the Big Apple, thus the title Harlem River.

Like New York City, Morby's debut is a big undertaking. It's easy to get around, but to get to everything is nearly impossible. Morby employs a Dylan-esque thin-mercury sound and there is are great moments, tons of highlights, and things you just don't expect. But, also like New York, there's a lot of messy bits and plenty of construction all around. He's finding his direction and building things up. The highlights of the LP make it a fantastic and outweigh Morby's sometimes lofty ambitions that weren't completely fleshed out.

Harlem River

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hipshot Killer All The Hell In The World B/W Sky Flying By Too Much Rock 2016

Hipshot Killer All The Hell In The World B/W Sky Flying By Too Much Rock 2016 CAT #No 005

Hipshot Killer is a three piece punk band drawing heavily from the dirtier side of late-70's power-pop. The band has been performing since 2009, but LONG before that band members Mike Alexander and Chris Wagner were in the The Revolvers together, In addition, Wagner and a one-time Hipshot Killer drummer were in The Breakups.  These guys are old now and probably have kids and stuff. Those bands were 20 years ago. But, to their credit, the years look good on them, they've gotten a wiser, they've grown out of simplicity of old Descendants records and stretched out musically. They still wear Chuck Taylors, though. Seriously, drop that, you'll be confused for a Kelly Clarkson fan.

Even in their Chucks, they're a bit tougher and got some power-pop hooks to go along with their punk rock chords. They've released a full length and this new 7" represents the 5th in a series of singles put out by Too Much Rock. As stated previously, Sid at Too Much Rock puts out the singles provided the band does a song of his choosing. The band gets all benefits and the records, Sid just helps out local music. For this release, Hipshot Killer was given the early 90's proto-emo song, Sky Flying By" by Samiam. For Hipshot Killer, it's an easy task and they remain true to the original track which was likely a song that influenced the Breakups way back when.

The original tune by the band, "All The Hell in the World," wins the award for best song title of the year. It's got 90's teenage angst, but finds adulthood in the end. The track builds up with guitars until it blows up into a singalong, but the lyrics have a lot more in common with a Bruce Springsteen song than the typical 'damn the man' punk-rock anthem.

The single will be released 10/21 at local record stores. The band will be performing live 10/22 at Mills Records and again on 10/25 at Davey's Uptown. A Lawrence show is in the works. If you search you can find a stream of "All The Hell in the World", but the B-side is off limits unless you happen upon on it on the radio or buy the single.
Check out the A-Side

Mouthbreathers Anxiety B/W The Creeper In the Red 2010

Mouthbreathers Anxiety B/W The Creeper In the Red 2010 CAT #ITR215

Previously, I discussed this Lawrence, Kansas' 7" record that was put out on Replay Records (here). I dug that record a lot, but seeing how I was discussing multiple releases all at once, kind of glossed over the band. However, when I saw this 7" on the cheap, I snagged it and have been sitting on it for year.

Had I known how this record came to be, I would've wrote about much earlier. The story is told in all it's glory here. But, to summarize, the band's demo CD was provided to a member In the Red band, Reigning Sound. In the Red has been putting out tons of noise for years and are kind of a big deal out in L.A.. They have a huge catalog and have released numerous Ty Segall records and that dude is all the rage every 3 months when he puts out 12 new songs. The CD they provided was just a blank CD with a picture of a dick on it (yeah, a penis). Eventually, the CD was lost, but, Kelly of the Love Garden was called by the former owner asking for another copy. CD was supplied and it eventually made it's way to In the Red label founder, Larry Hardy, who agreed to put out this single.

It's a solid 7", I brought up Ty Segall previously because like him, the Mouthbreathers are channeling a late-60's garage rock vibe. Mouthbreathers modernize the sound and make it their own, it's refreshing whereas most bands labeled garage punk (Ty Segall included) sound more revival to me.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jorge Arana Trio & Ambulants Split 7" Bridal Horse Records 2013

Jorge Arana Trio & Ambulants Split 7" Bridal Horse Records 2013 NO CAT #

Picked this up as it had Paul Malinowski's name on it, he did the mastering. Figured it'd may have that 90's Kansas City post-hardcore sound with his name being on it. In addition to Malinowski's name on the sleeve, the packaging is well done, almost too well done. Really thick cardboard 7" sleeve, that may keep things too tight as the record was pretty scuffed coming out, but it plays and everything looks great.

Jorge Arana Trio, for this release isn't really a trio as it's credited on the back to another player or two. Their one featured song, "Dagger", is a dark, moody, instrumental post-rock experiment with a violin playing way too much of a role. The intro makes it sound a lot like an obscure emo band called Sweep the Leg, Johnny, but the aggression tones down quickly and the band flirts around with jazz structures.

Ambulants provide the b-side with two songs, "Washed Ashore" and "Dweller". These tracks definitely borrow from 90's KC bands like Boy's Life and Shiner. Very choppy start and stop dynamics, but slow moving. To the point you think the mastering was off if wasn't for the vocalist's falsetto coming out on top so clear.

Overall, solid 7" and well worth the $5 it'll put someone back.

The Wizards From Kansas S/T Mercury 1970 (OG)

The Wizards From Kansas S/T Mercury 1970 (OG) CAT #SR61309

Previously discussed this here, but that copy is a cheap bootleg you can buy for $12 on eBay.

This copy isn't a bootleg, it's original. I never thought I'd see an original, let alone for the basement price of 49 cents at a local Vintage Stock. I could get into the ethics...maybe I should of told Vintage Stock about the album's value, but if they sold it for 49 cents, that means they gave someone even less to bring it into their store. So, if I should feel bad for anyone, it's the guy or girl who sold it to Vintage Stock.

Either way, I'm fine. I'm going to keep and cherish this LP. Sounds ten times better than the crummy bootleg and it's never leaving my collection.

Full Album

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Your Friend Gumption Domino 2016

Your Friend Gumption Domino 2016 CAT# WIGLP342

Taryn Miller, a Lawrence, KS resident originally from Winfield, Kansas, is Your Friend. Her first offering on Domino was the re-released EP Jekyll/Hyde which was filled with accessible experimentation and served as highlight for local artists. The EP's style is best summarized in a quote from a Kansas City paper Miller provided early this year at the eve of this album's release;  "I stopped overthinking it, I was like, 'Do it for your own sake. Just enjoy it'"

The quote speaks volumes to the Jekyll/Hyde release. Those songs explored soundscapes without getting pretentious. However, Gumption, her debut LP, seems to be reaching and indeed, overthinking things. It's 8 songs, with each track nearing the 5 minute mark. Its songs find space and never come back. Tracks get stuck with Miller's big voice surrounded by drowning electronic sounds and sparse drums, which is pleasant, but it doesn't always feel like a song. There's good bits to be sure and of course, she doesn't have to write songs, Miller can be as punk rock as she wants. She could be saying, fuck songs and go Glenn Branca on everyone, she'd still be cool, but it still won't mean the album is any good.

Hopefully, this release serves to calm Miller down and help her return with a more focused effort. And sure, people will like Gumption's constantly meandering song structures, the whole LP messes around as much as most a Deerhoof album does (and people love that shit). But, Deerhoof's saving grace is they give you at least a few obvious hits for every 30 minutes of noodling around.

Gumption Video

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Max Groove Center of Gravity Optimism Incorporated 1987

Max Groove Center of Gravity Optimism Incorporated 1987 CAT #OP-3108

Max Groove is a Kansas City jazz pianist/keyboard player, who over the years put out around dozen albums and is still active today. He has worked with a host of musicians locally and from around the US and started early on the smooth jazz scene, the claim being he is a pioneer in the genre.

Center of Gravity from 1987 is typical of what he is about. Highly polished jazz and an 80's smoothness that can sound dated today. However, back then, this was highly sophisticated production. It sounds a lot like elevator music, but some people are into that. Some of the robotic sounds are interesting, but nothing terribly off the wall. The players are all very talented and Max Groove pens much of his work, so its impressive in that regard.

Live Performance in St. Joe, MO

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sherry Jones Mike Ning Quintet Blame it on the Music Ning Dynasty 1988

Sherry Jones Mike Ning Quintet Blame it on the Music Ning Dynasty 1988 CAT # 003

This LP is more of the 80's KC jazz scene players trying to bring back a legitimate KC jazz scene instead of trying to hang onto a memory. There's a number of these LPs floating around all featuring a combination of many of the same players featured here.

Pulling this one out just recently, what struck me is that the longtime KU professor, Chuck Berg, played tenor on it. Berg just passed recently at the end of July, but he was a well known/loved film and music professor at KU. A good friend of mine took a Jazz in Cinema course from Berg. During one of the classes, Berg mentioned how he was once in a rock n' roll band to which my friend asked the name and was told Spider and the Traps. Constantly digging, my friend then asked if there were any Spider and the Traps records released, to which Berg advised him there were not. Undeterred, my buddy tracked down a 7" by Spider and the Traps (there were at least two released) and confronted him with it. Berg still held that he wasn't on it as he was unaware the band released anything. Maybe he wasn't on it, but, maybe he just didn't want to admit to recording with a juvenile frat rock band.

He never mentioned this record to my friend. He was a jazz snob, maybe he would've proudly proclaimed this LP as something he was part of. It's decent, although the Quintet's name, Sherry Jones Mike Ning Quintet, is a bit fractured. For 80's jazz, these players never sounded too 80's. It's still pretty slick, but it's not smothered by smooth jazz and quiet storm sounds, they try to keep a bit more traditional.

Ron Curtis Plays the Sounds of Love Private Unknown Year

Ron Curtis Plays the Sounds of Love Private Unknown Year CAT# VAR-110

This LP looked pretty promising, the caricature of Ron Curtis looks like a man who isn't messing around. However, it's pretty unexciting gospel numbers arranged and played by Ron Curtis at his piano.

The backside will notify you that Curtis was born in Kansas City, Kansas way back in 1937. However, it makes pretty clear that he became a native Californian at some point as he became well-known in gospel music circles in the state. His bio also describes a guy who flirted around with non-secular music up until 1961, playing country music in night clubs. He then began a long career in gospel music, playing with numerous acts and as a solo pianist.

Again, nothing too exciting, just a guy running through some gospel tunes on a piano. There's a bit of accompaniment, but it's primaraly Curtis.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Shooting Star Self Titled Virgin Records 1979

Shooting Star Self Titled Virgin Records 1979 CAT #VA 13133

Been putting this one off for a while. When I started doing this blog, I was worried about all the Kansas LPs I'd be sifting through, but I've grown to like the band Kansas. What I should have been dreading is Shooting Star albums.

This is Shooting Star's first LP which was recorded in England (they were after all, the first American band to be signed by the Virgin label) by Gus Dudgeon who did more famous work with the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. The result is over the top pomp rock with heavy emphasis on good times, being awesome, and getting the girl back. I mean, they're competent players and while pomp-rock can be great (see the band Boston), Shooting Star is just too fucking happy. No matter what the circumstances are, Shooting Star is fucking winning and celebrating with guitars.

Just watch this video, these guys won 1979.

Don Mueller The Ballad of Black Jack Audio House 1970

Don Mueller The Ballad of Black Jack Audio House 1970 CAT# AHSPLA 12670

This LP is very 'Waiting for Guffman.' The Ballad of Black Jack was a musical written by former Baker University professor, Don Mueller, for Baldwin's centennial Maple Leaf celebration in 1970. Through musical theater, it attempts to tell the story of Baldwin, KS in the era of Bleeding Kansas. So, it's not as hokey as the musical from 'Waiting for Guffman,' the subject matter is serious, but the musical theater aspect is an acquired taste.

As evidenced by the many online obituaries for Mr. Mueller, who passed in 2013, the Ballad of Black Jack was obviously well-remembered and apparently performed multiple times after it's debut in 1970. Coincidentally, is a recording of the musical's debut as evidenced by the label.

My favorite part about this LP is that I found it in a plain white outer jacket with the title, 'The Ballad of Black Jack' written across the top in permanent marker. I'm not sure if there was ever a cover printed for it. Seemed pretty local when I found it, so I looked inside and found Don Mueller's 2013 Lawrence Journal World obituary placed inside. Figured, whoever took the time to do so, wanted to keep it for posterity...just assuming I'm carrying that on even though it ended up in a Goodwill 3 years later.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Berwanger Demonios High/Dive Records 2015

Berwanger Demonios High/Dive Records 2015 CAT# HDR016

Josh Berwanger is apparently just going with his last name least according to this 6 song EP put out by High/Dive Records.

Demonios is Berwanger growing fonder of the power pop treasure trove he discovered when making his self-titled debut. These six tracks find him trying to master his own brand of the genre. In addition to late-70's skinny tie sounds, he is attempting to mix the swagger of 80's hard rock and the groove of 70's jam bands. It's a decent mix, but he can't drop the influences of his work in the Anniversary, there's still a lot of Weezer and 90's alterno-rock hiding in the corners of his songs.

As catchy as his solo debut was, you could tell it owed a lot to others. Demonios finds the songwriter finding more of himself in his new power pop hooks. He's still the goofy character with a backward baseball cap and outlandish fashion, but his version of the american teenager culture starts to grow on you, motorcycles, heartache, and suburban punks start to make a lot of sense on these tracks.

Live Radio Performance

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kevin Morby Still Life Woodsist Records 2014

Kevin Morby Still Life Woodsist Records 2014 CAT# WOODSIST075

This was Kevin Morby's 2nd solo LP and is a collection of songs he wrote as part of his band the Woods as well as some after leaving the band as the inner indicates the songs were written between 2012 and 2014.

The title of the LP isn't clear as the inner states, "Still Life A Collection of songs Written between 2012 and 2014", the cover however states, "Still Live With Rejects From the Land of Misiftoys", yet, the spine and LP state the simple title, "Still Life". The titles seem to indicate what the album is; a collection of tracks Morby couldn't fit onto his prior LP, "Harlem River" and tracks he didn't see fitting onto his next album which became "Singing Saw". This was his second LP released in 2014 and the front cover states "Misifitoys" (yeah, it's misspelled) which would indicate this is just a collection of tunes Morby didn't know what to do with other than record them.

For the most part, "Still Life" feels like a collection or a compilation. There's incredible tracks, some of Morby's best, but there's no feel to the album. He jumps from aggressive Dylan-esque rockers, to sprawling alt. country experiments. Overall, it's an amazing mix-tape presented by Kevin Morby, the highlights being when he channels Dylan's thin-mercury sound as it's a step away from his other two albums.

Full Album

Dave Perryman Sincerely Yours Pearce Records Year Unknown

Dave Perryman Sincerely Yours Pearce Records Year Unknown CAT #7632

Dave Perryman looks like quite the honky tonker on his album cover and his LP starts out that way, although its the heartbroken kind of honky-tonk. Pretty typical of regional country that's removed from Nashville, the LP is all covers and depends on the school of Hank Williams.

However, Perryman blows the door off a traditional song, "Hookin' on Crawdad," that employs some sounds not found in country music. There's a fuzzed out blues guitar riff and a moog line that runs throughout. It's a highlight and in a sea of sappy covers, makes the album for a collector.

This album was put out on the Kansas City custom label, Pearce Records. It's was also produced by the "caveman" at Cavern studios in Independence, MO. It appears that Perryman is actually closer to Springfield, MO than he is Kansas City, though. The address to reach Perryman lists Niangua, MO which is south and in between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alice Weiss By Popular Demand Edelweiss Productions 1986

Alice Weiss By Popular Demand Edelweiss Productions 1986 CAT# CR-1086

Alice Weiss is a multi-faceted soprano, at least that's what the cover reads. As far as being a good one, I have no clue, it sounds operatic, so that's something. I assumed if she was great, this wouldn't be on a private label run by her dad or some other family member. The label name, Edelweiss and the back page lists Robert Weiss as the President of Edelweiss productions.

The backside does indicate she did gigs in Europe and throughout the States. There's a big deal made about a New York City performance and quotes from her NYC teacher. But, again, if she was really great opera singer, I think she'd be recording somewhere other than Chapman Studios in Kansas City.

The backside also indicates Alice Weiss grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Kansas before traveling elsewhere to focus on her craft. She has connections to the Lyric theater, but there's nothing out there anymore on Alice Weiss. I'd like to think she's still involved in the KC opera scene or someone's opera scene, but the name Alice Weiss doesn't get many returns. Maybe she got married.

Either way, I don't know, this sounds okay, but opera isn't my hobby.

Casket Lottery Survival is for Cowards Second Nature 2002

Casket Lottery Survival is for Cowards Second Nature 2002 CAT# SN031

Fantastic Casket Lottery LP, but, they're all great. So much aggression, screaming vocals, screaming guitars, and huge drums. It's strange how At The Drive-In became so popular while Casket Lottery had the same feel and in comparison, stayed only Zine-Famous.

This was the band's third album and until Real Fear showed up 10 years later, was thought to be their last. Had it remained their final LP, it would have been a good way to go. Classic emo, teenage angst turning into adult anger and frustration. One of the final golden era of emo albums, before it turned into a scene about trendy jeans, combed hair and suburban malls.

Survival Is For Cowards

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fullbloods Mild West High/Dive Records 2015

Fullbloods Mild West High/Dive Records 2015 CAT# HDR013

Millennial Dad Rock is my new favorite genre. Seriously, these Kansas City dudes are slick and weren't afraid to use the studio as an instrument. Which is nice to see in indie-rock, it's okay to layer up sounds and seek that clean Fleetwood Mac perfection, although, people got Pro Tools now, Fleetwood Mac just had tape and lots of cocaine to get things perfect. But, yeah, these kids in the Fullbloods evoke groups like Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, albeit, the lite version, but the clean sound is there.

And they don't go full yacht rock, the Fullbloods would rather flirt with all the smoothness, they still have their indie-rock moments. But man, the track "Anima Mundi" is so Steely Dan-ish, it's hard to think of anything else when you play this LP.

The whole album, even at Steely Dan-lite status, is great. Chill vibe, not as jazz heavy as the Dan, but the light blues rock guitar riffs and vocal gymnastics are what draw you in.

Anima Mundi

Pat Metheny Group First Circle ECM/Warner Brothers 1984

Pat Metheny Group First Circle ECM/Warner Brothers 1984 CAT# ECM1278

As easy as it is to get lost or bored of a Pat Metheny's Jazz Fusion (it's just an acquired taste), this album's opener, "Forward March," kind of gets you excited. It's an out of tune, abstract, march song that still sounds familiar. It gives you hope this album will give you more than the slick production and jazz fusion forays into rock and world music.

After that, it's like all most the other Metheny albums. Well done jazz fusion. Very intricate and impressive musically without being a challenging listen.

First March

Count Basie and His Orchestra Broadway Basie's...Way ABC/Command 1966

Count Basie and His Orchestra Broadway Basie's...Way ABC/Command 1972 CAT# RS905 SD

This is MOR Count Basie. He trudges through 12 show tune standards, thus the title, "Broadway Basie's...Way."

It's unimaginative, but that's not to say it's un-listenable. It'd be pleasant as background music if you don't have to pay attention to it. Of note, it was put out by ABC's Command label which was an early audiophile label founded by Enoch Light, who later to left to do Project 3 recordings. The label employed high tech recording techniques and material for the time which was aimed at getting the best recorded sound possible. So, in that regard, it's some high-quality background music that will sound crisp and clear pumping through a hi-fi system.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Comstock Records Various Artists 10th Anniversary Album 1988

Comstock Records Various Artists 10th Anniversary Album 1988 CAT# COM-986

If you dig through 45s in the KC area, you're almost guaranteed to come across one from Comstock Records listing a Shawnee address on the label. It would appear to be a regional country label focused on local talent. However, it's not. Comstock was and still is a small independent country label focusing on national talent.

The label's founders, Frank Fara and Patty Parker, are both from out west, Arizona and Neveda. Neither seem to have any ties to the Kansas City area, yet, for some time they put their Comstock Records home in Shawnee, KS. Other than having a central location, it's not really clear why they picked Kansas (now the label calls it's home Arizona).

They did scout and sign talent in the area. This 10th Anniversary compilation features three Kansas City area artists, Debbie Martin, Alla Dee Franklin, and the O'Roark Brothers. But, outside of a few locals and an address, Comstock releases are from artists all over. In fact, the label's biggest successes seemed to be finding Canadian country artists and getting them charted up North.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rajah That's What's Com'n Rajah Records 1990

Rajah That's What's Com'n Rajah Records 1990 NO CAT#

First look at this and you see the crudely drawn KC skyline so you know it's local, then it just becomes figuring out what it is. Given Rajah's front cover photo, I initially though modern soul, here's a lady trying to show off her pipes. But, review of the backside, she's wearing a hair-net and indicates that her EP features the Strickly Deaf Posse. Turn back over to the front-side and now it seems she may be trying to evoke the B-Girl style with that hat, so it might be hip-hop.

Either way, it's got the possibility of being really bad or really good. Taking out the record you'll see it's from 1990, which is late-era vinyl and a time when modern soul was basically done, it's got to be hip-hop still stuck in the 80's. Review of the backside you'll see that Rajah states, "This album is dedicated to My Heavenly Father for whom my life will reflect his greatness." Now it could be really bad religious hip-hop or stuck in a time loop modern soul and religious. It's also obvious that Rajah failed horribly if she intended this to be an album, it's 2 songs with an instrumental version added of the title track. Without actually listening to it, things are stating to sound horrible.

That's a hair net, right?
Listening to it, it's not religious, it's a hip-hop/soul hybrid sound that was trying to gain a foothold in the late-80s and early 90's. The title track is actually titled, "Good Lov'n That's What's Com'n", which apparently couldn't fit on the front cover finds Rajah switching between rapping and singing throughout. She's speaking to her targeted man talking about how she'll be the best woman for him. Yet to be mentioned is that her name, Rajah, is almost hidden on the front and the back. To get the artist name, you have to rely on the production and producer credits as the scribble signature on the front and the label are hard to decipher. As a lame trademark, Rajah, samples a terribly obvious Middle-Eastern chord progression, the same you hear in any movie soundtrack that has a Middle Eastern scene, whether that be Disney's Aladdin or Raiders of the Lost Ark, it's that hokey snake charmer theme.

The second side features an unneeded instrumental of "Good Lov'n That's What's Com'n", although it features the rap verses. The second track, "We Don't Know How It Happend", is lover's lament sappiness. The title is kind of clever though with the misspelling of Happened being Happend. But, the track is pretty much garbage, slow moving plastic beats with Rajah crying over a break-up.

Bloodbirds Psych Surgery Private 2013

Bloodbirds Psych Surgery Private 2013 CAT# BB001

I'm not hip and if I was, I'd probably have seen this band a dozen times and have a lot more to say. Instead, I have my lame-ass story of finally tracking down a copy of this LP.

Years ago I was at Zebedees (before it moved and became something else), I asked the owner if he was into anything local and he grabbed his last copy of this Bloodbirds' release and said, "These guys played the KC Psych Fest and blew everyone away." It did look cool, but the S/T Berwanger LP was sitting there as well and I weighed my options and thought Berwanger's release is going to disappear before this small KC psych band is.

Man, was I wrong. That was literally the only time I saw a copy of it. I did search for it, I was interested seeing if the gloating reviews from Zebedees were true. I just never saw it around town. The band did a limited run of the LPs, something to the number of 500 and I guess everyone is hanging onto theirs. Eventually, the LP showed up on Discogs from a guy in North Carolina and I grabbed it, just glad the band's popularity is still within KC because it was reasonably priced.

It's a solid LP. Psych rock isn't a bad term, garage rock would fit as well. They obviously have classic rock influences, but don't have the classic rock studios their heroes had. The Bloodbirds are three piece and to fill out their sound, guitarist Mike Tuley layers guitars throughout the recordings. It's a lot of guitar. His classic rock hooks and indie-rock production make it feel like an early Dinosaur Jr. LP. It's a solid LP and I can get why it's nowhere to be found currently.

Psychic Surgery

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Stan Kenton The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton Capitol 1958

Stan Kenton The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton Capitol 1958 CAT# T1068

This album is a nice set of slow-moving, romantic ballads Kenton arranged. It's nice and all, but I find it hard to believe anyone cares about this album anymore. Unless you're playing it a swanky dinner party, someone MIGHT say, "This music is nice," and that'd be your extent of anyone caring about Kenton, anymore.

Truth is, I only bought it because Kenton is a Wichita, KS, native and the price. Check that out, 49 cents and buy one get one free. I got it for a quarter. For a quarter, I'm cool with having some square Wichita jazzman's LP that only listen for the sole purpose of this blog, then shelve it and never pull it out again.

The Night We Called It a Day

Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls ECM 1981

Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls ECM 1981 CAT# ECM 1-1190

Lee's Summit native Pat Metheny made a lot of albums, with a lot of different people. This one is supposed to be pretty good. Listening to it, it sounds dreamy, there's elements of prog-rock mixed in, but I'd rather talk about something else.

My dad gave me this album. Not because he's a Metheny fan or anything, just because he hordes records and came across this one. Years ago, my dad was decorating his garage with vintage things. Just random stuff he'd come across on Craigslist. For Father's Day or his birthday (can't remember which) I gave him a stack of LPs and an old Fisher Studio Standard turntable I had lying around, just to fit the vintage motif in his garage and because I didn't want to go anywhere I try to buy a present.

My father grew up in a time when vinyl was king. I remember growing up with my parents playing albums pulled from there Peaches wood crate that set next to a Sony stereo system. However, as my parents got older and moved from place to place, the stereo stopped being a part of household and my dad started tuning into talk radio instead of the local classic rock station. Point is, giving him a record player and some albums wasn't introducing him to anything new. Rather, it was giving him back something from his past.

I didn't really think giving him a turntable would be any sort of problem. I just thought he'd play the old albums he still had, maybe buy a few that he lost along the years, but mostly, I thought the turntable would just be a conversation starter in his garage/man-cave. What happened is that my dad went full tilt on records. He moved his man-cave to the basement and it became nothing but records and turntables. Every time I came over, more records would be there, another receiver or another turntable. He started trying make it a lifestyle, buying tee shirts related to vinyl and turntables. Texting me about finds and "digs". He got to know other area collectors by going to Estate sales and stores.

At first, I didn't mind, I'd thumb through his new stuff, he'd grab local stuff for me when he saw it. But anymore, it's a bit too much, I can't keep up. There's also the annoyance of him thinking it's "cool." Similar to a millennial bragging about a bullshit Ryan Adams LP sounding great on a Crosley turntable, he began to think of the hobby as cool, something unique to him. Vinyl isn't inherently cool. And, collecting vinyl is anything but cool. It's a nerdy hobby. It used to be filled with weird old guys it sweatpants that loved to talk about Elvis Presley, which is anything but cool. Sure, there's a revival. However, despite the revival, it doesn't make an obsessive vinyl collector with a Rush t-shirt anymore attractive or cool.

Regardless of hipness, one thing that is true for most new collectors is that he or she gets a bit value-obsessed. The question, "What's it worth?", becomes a huge part of the vocabulary. This was most certainly true of my dad, although, I think he's slowed down on that aspect. This record came to me at his height of what's-it-worth-syndrome. At his job, he has access to some sort of cellophane wrapper and he was using it to re-seal old LPs. When I first asked, he described it as an easy way to preserve albums. To which I'd reply, shrink wrap isn't a good way to store records, it's a only a good way to warp them as the shrink does what the name implies, it shrinks over time and puts pressure on the record eventually warping it if you don't break the seal. However, it became apparent that it wasn't really about preserving them, it was an attempt to elevate the value.

The first time he showed me this record, he bragged about it's sealed condition. And if that were correct, yeah, it's true, mint condition Pat Metheny albums do hold some value to nerdy audiophiles. However, when I looked at it, it was painfully obvious it wasn't an original seal. The wrap it was thin and not typical. But, the dead giveaway was the water-stains along the spine. I didn't have the heart to call him out, just said, "Yeah, that's cool."

He probably tried to trade this off and couldn't and that's probably good because I don't see a bunch of re-sealed LPs at his house anymore. It's a shady practice and most people see through it. Eventually, he gave this LP to me, still re-sealed. I opened it up, thinking maybe it is legit, but no. It's got scuffs, it's got signs of usage, it's not mint. It still plays nice and all, I'm just saying, the weird re-sealing thing could have really pissed someone off if he sold it on eBay. And, it's weird, right?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Kevin Morby Singing Saw Dead Oceans 2016

Kevin Morby Singing Saw Dead Oceans 2016 CAT #DOC111

Kevin Morby is this kid from Kansas who's creating his own Dylan mythology. Yeah, big words, but that's what he's done up to this point. Apparently, with very few people taking notice he grew up in Overland Park, KS and dropped out of Blue Valley Northwest High School. He obtained his GED and left for New York.

In New York worked in restaurants and being a bike courier. He helped create the experimental folk group, the Woods, as the bassist. He also created his own side project with Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls called the Babies, putting out two albums. By 2013, he began his career as a solo artist releasing Harlem River. He's since moved to Los Angeles.

Singing Saw is his most recent and third release. Between it and Harlem River was the album Still Life released in 2014. His first two albums are satisfying experimental folk and brought him critical attention, but both are a bit wobbly, close, but not quite realized. Singing Saw nails things down.

Morby's voice draws a lot Dylan comparisons, he mumbles and groans over his melodies. However, he's not a complete folkie, he likes to try a lot of everything. Best comparison to an area artist would be Gene Clark. Morby's music is a melting pot of American music, with heavy nods to Dylan, but stepping so far out into space that it's best called American Cosmic. Singing Saw is filled with amazing moments and no tracks you'd want to skip. It's surprising this kid has anything to do with Overland Park.

Dorothy (Video)

Monday, May 30, 2016

John Bayley Minstrel of the Morning... Lifetime Records 1976

John Bayley Minstrel of the Morning... Lifetime Records 1976 CAT# 2001

When I first found this I sent a photo to a friend who stated, "That cover is a constant source of conversation and inspiration." The same LP sits among some other framed LPs my friend has displayed. Looking at it, how could it not want to start a conversation? There's just so much going on in this cover. Where to even start? Is that a living room? Where'd you get that sweet tiger? What's up with the white lady and her kid? Is that John Bayley's girlfriend/wife? And dude, where did you score the killer threads?

The backside notes indicate Bayley was heavily influenced by the Jesus Music scene of the 70s, or trying to fit into it. However, the tunes are fairly secular, unless you group songs about "love" into a religious setting. Even when Bayley tries to be religious, it's a bit off. The song "It's Good To See You," states, "I've laid a thousand women, but come back to see you." So he tries to find the Jesus scene, but you can tell, the dude just likes to write tunes.

And, his tunes are a bit all over the place. If it had to be labeled, outsider folk would be the best term. However, there's elements of Indian music, jazz, singer/songwriter, rock, and a lot of reggae floating throughout. It's an interesting work and far better than most "outsider folk" private albums you'd come across. There's a fair amount of experimentation throughout the LP. Also clever, Bayley filled out the sound remarkably well with only a few players. He plays a host of guitars and does his own lead and background vocals. There's limited synth, but he found some guys to do some violins and wind instruments in addition to recording with a drummer.

The LP was also recorded in the Cavern in Independence, Missouri. Lifetime Records (Bayley's private label) shows an Independence as well, but could just as easily be a Kansas City guy. If you YouTube him, you'll find he's channeling George Clinton's fashion sense and playing experimental gospel music over in Colorado now-a-days.

Going Home Alone

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gene Clark White Light A&M 1971

Gene Clark White Light A&M 1971 CAT# SP4292

The Bonner Springs graduate, Gene Clark, put out this, which is simply, one of the best American singer/songwriter efforts ever put out.

If Clark was only architect of the Byrds' sound and quit after creating highly influential country rock with Missouri natives, the Dillards, he'd have a pretty substantial legacy. But, White Light's blend of sparse country and cosmic folk put him into place. Masterwork type stuff.

The album jacket and the actual record never state that the album is called White Light, but it was released under the title. It's fitting as the album sold poorly and is rather hard to track down now, the title just kind of screams that it should be obscure. It was recorded while Clark was still trying to find himself in L.A. almost 5 years after he left the Byrds. There is an impressive list of players featured on the LP, all of which play as if they shared Clark's vision, the album should have been a bigger deal upon it's original release.

White Light

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Outpost Family Band How About You? Privately Released Unknown Year

The Outpost Family Band How About You? Privately Released 1982 CAT# OP-74

This appears to be the first LP by the Outpost Family Band as it gives a lengthy introduction to the band on the backside, written by Donna Wise, wife to founder of the band, Don Wise. Wasn't aware when listening to the other LP I have from the group, but Don Wise is paralyzed from the waist down due to an apparent diving accident

Although the year is unlisted, the follow up LP indicates the prior album (which I'm almost positive is this) was recorded in 1982. It's a pleasant mixture of religious, traditional and some bluegrass reworkings of old rock n' roll. Don Wise contributes a few of his own songs and they aren't half bad. It's sounds homespun and was put out by the band privately.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Amos Chase and His Old Time Fiddle Privately Released March 1st, 1974

Amos Chase and His Old Time Fiddle Privately Released March 1st, 1974 CAT# CO 6480

First, there is so much to love about the homemade aspect of this LP. It's the definition of a private press. There is no label credited to the release. Mr. Chase likely just had them pressed at the closest plant. He bought plain white sleeves to house them and glued on his own cover. You can tell because this cover was is peeling off and the glue resin is visible. He also dated the exact date the record was either recorded or released in the top right hand corner as it states, March 1st, 1974. Finally, there was a mistake on Mr. Chase's PO BOX listed in the bottom right, his zip code should have read 66429 rather than 66249, instead of reprinting the covers, he just used a pen, crossed the print out and hand wrote the correct zip code in it's place. His address is a PO BOX in his hometown of Grantville, Kansas, which is near Topeka.

As for his music, you can tell by the cover, he was an accomplished fiddle player in his day. He's accompanied by Eldon Ray and Glenn Woolaway, who were local Kansans as well. All three players were members of the Kansas Oldtime Fiddlers Association, seeing how this was Amos' own release, I assume he was the most accomplished. The music is strictly old time bluegrass. Just Ray's fiddle and the others providing support on guitar. No vocals, no frills, just a guy showing off his fiddling skills.

Sadly, all players have since passed. Reading Mr. Chase's obituary from 2000, he passed while judging a fiddle competition in South Dakota. As sad as death can be, this guy got to go with something he enjoyed, the fiddle...there's a lot of comfort knowing that some people get to go out doing something they love.

Appleseed Cast Peregrine Graveface 2006/2016

Appleseed Cast Peregrine Graveface 2006/2016 CAT# GRAVE115

Record Store Day happened again and it was lamer than the year before. Despite that, there was a couple of prominent local releases, this reissue of Appleseed Cast's Peregrine album and a live recording of current KC darlings, Madison Ward and Mama Bear. I picked this up. Nothing against Madison Ward & Mama Bear, it's just that group is too available. I have to wait until the band's releases are impossible to find before I show interest. That said, I probably need to pick up a Madison Ward release at some point.

Moving on, Peregrine was released by the Militia Group in 2006. It does have a vinyl pressing, but seeing how the label stopped releasing stuff in 2012, like many of Appleseed Cast's LPs it's become hard to find. Graveface, Appleseed Cast's home since 2013, has the other Militia Group LP Sagarmatha in print and available. For whatever reason, unlike Sagarmatha, Peregrine got the limited release. 2000 copies were pressed, some of which are a colored variant for Record Store Day, others are Graveface Record Club hand-poured vinyl variants, there was a Kickstarter version, and there is standard black vinyl available through Graveface mailorder.

Aside from all that nonsense, it's a good album and was the band's sixth release. It sounds a little more humble than their ambitious Low Level Owl albums, but the experimentation does run rampant throughout the LP, it's just not as obvious. There's a lot of groove and hooks throughout Peregrine and the band doesn't waste their time with beeps and glitches getting to those moments. It also serves as a concept album as it attempts to tell the story of a child, her name being Peregrine, who is murdered by her father and comes back to haunt him for it.

Appleseed Cast Peregrine

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Whitten & Tod Self-Titled Sold Sound Inc. Year Unknown

So much going on with hair here.

Nice Canadian tuxedos.
Whitten & Tod Self-Titled Sold Sound Inc. Year Unknown CAT# W&T 701

First time I saw this LP was at the Olathe Savers. Turned it over, saw that it was made in KCMO and was ready to pull the trigger. Then I checked the condition and it was tore up; unplayable. The second time I saw it was across the street at the Olathe Goodwill. Which would indicate to me that the band gigged in and around Olathe or had multiple players from Olathe.

Nevertheless, the band's private label, Solid Sound Inc., indicates the home base is Kansas City, MO. Whitten & Tod have three releases out there. This, a 45 and another LP both from 1975 per Discogs. Appears the 1975 releases are more of a folk-rock affair. This album appears to come out in the late-70's or possibly early-80's and is a clear attempt to get the folks around town dancing.

The LP consists of entirely cover songs. It's not a terrible thing, some of their covers are easy disco and if you heard it played at wedding in Kansas City by Whitten & Todd, you'd be like, "That's a great fucking wedding band." The album becomes awful though when they step off the disco covers...Like dreadfully bad.

And, I say that in the nicest way, the group Whitten & Tod put together is pretty capable. Benny Whitten, the handsome fellow on the back cover with a mustache, arranged and produced the LP and it has a few highlights. The cover of "Bread's "Lost Without Your Love" is disco-fied with a highlight being some psych guitar work thrown in. Kiki Dee Band's "I Got the Music In Me" gets a hard-rock disco groove. And the covers like "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", "Car Wash", and "Superstrut" are pleasant enough (although, you'd take the originals over Whitten & Tod). At it's best, it's a disco LP, but don't let anybody tell you it's funk, it's way too white for that.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Orphann Dan't Say No Omi Records 1980

Orphann Dan't Say No Omi Records 1980 CAT# OMI M 00032

Orphann was a Kansas City area hard rock group in the late-70's into the early 80's. Their first LP, Up For Adoption, is a bit more desirable, as it's bit heavier and possibly a bit more obscure than this.

Don't Say No is a potpourri of late-70's rock posturing. Easy categorization for the band is AOR. They're heavy on big guitars and solos, so big on the pomp rock. They do try to get creative from time to time, keyboards show up here and they try to sound a little less good time rock n' roll and more robotic, so there is also a slight prog influence, especially evident on the last two tracks of the LP, "Late Night Neighbors" and "In A Dream". Looking at this LP, it's looks like it should be an attempt at capturing the Tom Scholz's Boston sound and be an awful in the process. (Up For Adoption just looks like it should be amazing prog, tho). To an extent, Orphann was trying to capture some of that big time arena rock feel, but it doesn't turn out bad. Outside of dopey lyrical content, it's a pretty solid LP in terms of early 80's hard rock.

What is confusing is that the band recorded and played in KC. Yet, for this release, Omi is located in Los Angeles. The first LP shows Omi Records as a Kansas City based operation. Assuming then that this was Orphann's private label they must have packed up for California at some point after going as far as they could in KC.

Don't Say No

Butterglory Are You Building a Temple in Heaven? Merge 1996

Butterglory Are You Building a Temple in Heaven? Merge 1996 CAT# MRG098LP

Throughout Butterglory's lifespan, it was focused around the duo of Matt Suggs and Debby Vander Wall, Californians who transplanted to Lawrence, KS after this album was recorded. They've had different players, but their sloppy lo-fi pop songs are primarily due to those members.

This LP represents the California version of the band when they were at their best. Like all their work, it sounds an awful lot like Pavement, but unlike the following album, Rat Tat Tat, it's much more obvious that Butterglory's sound developed independently of Pavement, the end result just happens to be similar, but, since Pavement got more popular, Butterglory gets dubbed a sound-alike.

Pavement took a lot of cues from Sonic Youth whereas Butterglory had a lot more Velvet Underground worship and if you listen hard enough, they even had jazz moves. Listening to this album, you sense that if given the chance, Butterglory would have made a huge sounding rock record, they just didn't have the budget to do so. The big riffs on "On Button On", make it pretty obvious, this band dreamed of a bigger sound, but without the means, you get the plaintive vocals and simple production. You end up with a lot of lo-fi cuteness, but still a great album.

On Button On

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Deryl Barnett The Gospel Soul of the Saxophone and the Evangelist Temple Inspirational Youth Choir Savoy 1977

Deryl Barnett The Gospel Soul of the Saxophone and the Evangelist Temple Inspirational Youth Choir Savoy 1977 CAT# Savy 14428

Deryl Barnett is a native Kansas City saxophone player who grew up in the church as his father was a Reverend. This album was recorded live in KC and put out by the Savoy record label. Savoy is a rather diverse label and put out numerous quality gospel LPs as well as a host of jazz releases.

This album is centered around Barnett's soulful saxophone. It flirts with jazz, but he basically runs soulful lines throughout numerous gospel songs. The Evangelist Temple Inspirational Youth Choir takes a back seat to Barnett throughout the LP, but when they're featured, it's in the best parts of the album.

Appears this is really the only thing Barnett released. Although, who knows, maybe there are some locally pressed 45s and the like, but it does appear this LP is about it. Which is odd. You'd think releasing a saxophone LP on the Savoy label would lead to some other recordings, whether it be as a front man are part of a group, but the dude just dropped this LP and must have went onto to concentrate on God's work.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pat Metheny Group S/T ECM 1978

Pat Metheny Group S/T ECM 1978 CAT #ECM 1-1114

This is the first album released by Lee's Summit native Pat Metheny under the name the Pat Metheny Group. Don't really need to go into the group members, because they're listed rather stylishly on the cover, This group created a string of well regarded release up through the 80's.

The music is very technical and sophisticated. It's on ECM, which is kind of a big deal for 70's and 80's jazz. The players are all great. The music kind of floats and noodles around a lot. Like, you'll leave the room for 5 minutes thinking you'll come back to another song and Lyle Mays is still slowly pounding out the same chord progression on his keyboard while Metheny just kind of splashes his guitar around. It's heavy in electronic instruments, but still sounds organic. Listening to it, even if it's not your thing, you can understand why it might be someone else's.

Also, below is a link of this guy on YouTube getting all sorts of pumped for a reissue of this LP. It's called an "Unboxing" video, which is these record collectors on YouTube just opening up packages of records they received in the mail, which is an actual thing that other people like to watch. They don't play the records due to copyright laws, which begs the question why are people so into watching these videos. I guess there's writing a blog on records nerdy, then there's next level YouTube nerdy.

This Fucking Guy and YouTube Unboxing Videos...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tim O'Reagan S/T Lost Highway 2006

Tim O'Reagan S/T Lost Highway 2006 CAT #B0006401-01

Tim O'Reagan was part of the Lawrence-Legendary duo the Leatherwoods that was primarily known as a vehicle for Todd Newman. The two were from Topeka, went to KU and played around. To get in touch with a bigger scene, they moved to Minneapolis and created a well-received album that went relatively unnoticed nationally. After the break-up, Newman stayed active putting out his high-quality power-pop now and again. O'Reagan kept playing drums and caught the attention of Joe Henry. He did work for Henry and later, became a full-time member of the Minneapolis alt-country band, The Jayhawks. As a multi-instrumentalist, he wrote a number of songs for the Jayhawks so a solo-LP shouldn't come as surprise.

Once the Jayhawks took a hiatus in 2005, O'Reagan started working his first, and so far only, solo LP. It doesn't stray far from where O'Reagan has always been. It's a heavy dose of alternative country with numerous nods to power-pop and heavy on British Invasion influences. Much of this LP wouldn't be out of place on any of the big alt country acts, be it the Jayhawks or even Wilco, it's quality. His voice is a bit hushed and gentle making his albums feel a lot like a Josh Rouse album if you're familiar with his work.

Also interesting, the hype sticker in the top right advises you the vinyl album features two cuts that weren't featured on the CD. Which, yeah, people were doing in 2006 and may still do. Which is funny, because in the late-90's when records were being killed off, you got the bonus tracks on the CDs.

Anybody's Only

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Orange Doe-Nuts Back at the Ranch Fresh Sounds, Inc./Fresh Doughnut Records 1984

Orange Doe-Nuts Back at the Ranch Fresh Sounds, Inc./Fresh Doughnut Records 1984 CAT #O.D.-001/F.S.-208

The Orange Doe-Nuts or O.D.'s, were a hardcore band from Kansas City who likely found enough shows in Lawrence, KS for the Fresh Sounds, Inc. to put out their only release. They gigged around and as with most obscure hardcore bands from the 80's you can find old show flyers posted around the internet showing they played opening spots for some of the biggest acts in the scene, Minutemen and Husker Du, etc. And, like a lot of obscure 80's punk, this LP has become a pricey artifact to buy online. I first found a copy a copy at a local Goodwill, but upon getting it home I found the thing was warped so extensively it wouldn't play (it was on ultra-thin, ultra-cheap vinyl). This copy was found at a local record store in a dollar bin, probably worth more, but it's in nowhere near perfect shape.

The O.D.'s (can't be hardcore without an abbreviation) were able to find a distinctive sound in a scene that can become monotonous. This band didn't try to catch you with the Minor Threat speed attack of their hardcore, they slowed things down just a bit and sound a bit more Midwestern. Outside of being punk rock, they also don't appear to have a super-political, anti-Reagan agenda like many of the HC bands from 80s. That agenda was valuable in the 80s, but hasn't aged well. By keeping it just anti-establishment, the O.D.'s still sound relevant. They also weren't afraid to stray from the hardcore guidelines, as evident in the funk riffs found in the song, "Disco."

While KC and Lawrence didn't have the hardcore footprint of cities like D.C., Minneapolis, and numeroua California cities, it's nice to have quality floating around.