Wednesday, August 31, 2016
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.
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.