Saturday, June 18, 2016

Oasis "Sounds Alive"



In the world of private press records, more often than not "the weirder, the better" is the preferred mantra of die-hard collectors. Well, it doesn't get much weirder than the acoustic gospel duo "Oasis" out of Covina, California. 

Addie Cooke & Tamara Jean put forth their best Shaggs effort on this 1983 private label release entitled "Sounds Alive," and the result is lo-fi xian madness.


The ladies enlist help from a drummer and guitarist, but manage to keep things pretty primitive as evidenced by the title track and "Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday."


Very little information exists on the group, but two copies have sold online for decent money. You can check out more of their songs on my YouTube channel.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Traci Ann Nichols "Dancing In The Light"


Every once in a while, the record gods smile upon thee and bestow something so far out that you can't stop listening to it. In this case it's the totally bonkers track "Satisfaction Guaranteed" from Traci Ann Nichols' completely unknown 1980's rural Christian pop record "Dancing In The Light."


Recently found in a Christian radio station thrift dump, along with Harry Thomas' "Something To Quiet The Lion" (see previous post), Traci's music can only be described as the soundtrack to a lost "Saved By The Bell" episode, the one where the gang all become Christians at a revival somewhere in the deep South.

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Recorded at Huff Recording Studio on Route 2 in Forest, Mississippi and produced by David Huff, this LP features some pretty competent arrangements and instrumentation for a rural private release. David's brothers Rayborn and Clayborn get arrangement credits, and all three Huff bros. were the core of late 60's blue-eyed soul band David & The Giants.

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"In Or Out" is a pretty strong effort, but "Satisfaction Guaranteed" is definitely the jam, and for sure should have been the hit single from this amazing lost-to-history slab of private madness.

I love, love, love Traci's vocals and one day hope to see VHS footage of her performing these songs in a high school gymnasium or church talent show somewhere. Someone please find that and send it to me, please.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sandra Kaye & The New Breed "On The Road"


The Numero Group just released a pretty solid comp of 1970's private American country/bar band music entitled "Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music," and in my opinion Sandra Kaye & The New Breed would have fit perfectly somewhere on the 2xLP set.

I can find little on the group by way of the internet, but according to the semi-confusing liner notes on the back of the "On The Road" LP, Sandra is from Washington state and had been playing with The New Breed for nine years before this record was released sometime in the mid-late 70's.


Sandra's desperate, honey-sweet vocals are front and center on the opening track, a killer cover of Dave Loggins' 1974 hit "Please Come To Boston."

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If anything, this record is an exercise in polar opposite vocal stylings, with three SUPER PRIMAL covers featuring an uncredited male lead singer.

The Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Runnin,'" Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Let It Ride," and The Eagles' "Life In The Fast Lane" all get the proper bar band treatment, complete with searing lead guitar and heavy fuzzed-out bass.

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The production on this release clearly leaves a lot to be desired, but as with most amateur private records of the 60's, 70's, and 80's, only adds to the allure and personality of this wonderful piece of forgotten Americana.

As mentioned before, info on the group is scarce, but I was able to find two archived newspaper mentions of Sandra Kaye & The New Breed; one from The Times-News in Hendersonville, North Carolina announcing the group had signed to "Door Knob Records," and an advertisement in The Power County Press of American Falls, Idaho for a show they were booked to play at the Horseshu Hotel & Casino in Jackpot, Nevada.



Thank you to Alex Rodriguez at Glasshouse Record Store in Pomona, CA for helping me procure this record.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Rodd Keith's LSD Trip Gone Wrong


Rodney Keith Eskelin, aka Rodd Keith, aka Rod Rivers, aka probably a couple hundred other names, was the hardest working man/music virtuoso in the song poem business.

His musical prowess from the late 50's - mid '70's is unmatched, and If you're not familiar with his work, there is a great information resource here, curated by his son (and professional musician) Ellery Eskelin.

Unfortunately, this never-before-seen Keith 45 featuring a song about an LSD trip gone awry, is somewhat autobiographical.

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The B-side is an Elvis-style ballad about the state of America in the 70's, that features an extended spoken word intro.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Harry Thomas "Something To Quiet The Lion" ft. The Phoenix Sonshine



Corona Del Mar, California's seminal Jesus People label Destiny is best known for killer xian hippie releases like Harvest Flight and Lilly, but this virtually unknown 1978 LP from New Jersey evangelist Harry Thomas deserves a nod of appreciation too in my opinion.

Featuring backing from fellow Destiny artists The Phoenix Sonshine, Thomas' sublime delivery of songs ranging in style from lighter acoustic ballads to uptempo rock numbers, makes this a real people record a fun listen all the way through.




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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Overtones Get Freaky Funky


I'm really getting into looking for obscure gospel records at thrift stores and mining them for any remotely interesting tracks.

This release from a group calling themselves The Overtones contains said interesting track in the form of "I Wish You'd All Believe."

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Clocking in at just over four minutes, this ominous Judgement Day jam is chock-full of break beats, funky horns, haunting group vocals, and end time Biblical lyrical content.

According to the liner notes The Overtones were a "college-career choir and music department of the First Baptist Church of Pomona, California."



Found: Goodwill Pasadena, CA

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sounds From The Kansas State Penitentiary


Some interesting recordings from the Kansas State Penitentiary (now known as Lansing State Correctional Facility), located in Lansing, KS.

Up first is a 45 credited to the Stone Canyon Band (presumably not Rick Nelson's backing band from the late 60's). This Stone Canyon Band was probably an in-house prison band, and they deliver a solid take of The Chantays' "Pipeline" on this recording.

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The a-side is a competent enough attempt at Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee," but not really worth posting audio of, due to it's general flaccidity.

Presumably, at the same time inside the great walls of the KSP, The Beacon Of Hope Chapel Singers were prepping to record their first and only (?) LP at Cavern Studios in Independence, MO.



The Beacon Of Hope Chapel Singers were a vocal group started by inmate Robert L. Covington in 1966, and according to the liner notes of the record, were given permission by Warden R. J. Gaffney to travel and perform concerts "before civic, church, and school groups all over the state of Kansas," in order to help raise money to build a prison chapel.



Can you imagine being a fourth grader in the early 70's at William H. Taft Elementary School in Spitoon, KS and seeing a mixed-race group of convicts singing a gospel funk rendition of "Abraham, Martin, And John" on the same stage you played The Woodsman in last fall's production of Little Red Riding Hood?


The standout tracks on the "Over The Walls" LP (1971), are the traditional spiritual "Elijah Rock,"

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and the 1970 Paul Kelly composition "Stealing In The Name Of The Lord" - which so happens to fit perfectly with the Christian convict/convert theme.


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Also from the liner notes: 

"At nearly every performance, the choir was besieged with requests for an album. This is the result. All proceeds from the sales go toward building the chapel."