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.