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."


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Bue-Cotts (Somewhat) Teach Us How To Do "The Wrench Dance"


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There are a countless number of novelty dance crazes that caught on with the teenage record buying demographic of the 1960's.

"The Twist," "The Watusi," "The Hully Gully," "The Mashed Potato," and even "The Hitchhike" were all household names, thanks in part to clever record label marketing and an all-around public willful suspension of musical disbelief.

But unfortunately for The Bue-Cotts - a painfully obscure frat-rock band, reportedly from somewhere in Kansas - "The Wrench Dance" never quite caught on.

The are many factors at play here as to why this record never had a chance.

The elementary composition/musicianship, presumably limited number of copies made, and private press label that couldn't have conceivably gotten this single 50 miles outside of whatever small town it was pressed in.

All of these scenarios are perfectly logical as to why this one-off organ driven garage sing-along failed to do anything but turn up in a junk shop last week, but it doesn't take a nuclear physicist astronaut to know that it probably also has something to do with not being able to understand the lyrics at all whatsoever - thus rendering the dance itself completely useless.

Just try and follow along.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

B. Brock & The Sultans Do The Beetle


Crown Records was a subsidiary and budget line label of Modern Records based in Los Angeles, CA.

In 1964, the label tried to capitalize off of Beatlemania with this LP release of "Do The Beetle" by B. Brock & The Sultans.

These dudes look like they traveled back in time after a switchblade fight, just to make an obscure LP aping the Fab Four filled with crazy surf instro burners!

I have no idea who B. Brock or The Sultans were - as no info on the group exists online - but they completely rip on this album, and the title track proves it.




I would guess that they were a studio band called in to do a rush release to piggyback off the insanity that ensued post February 9th, 1964, but the wild spirit of these original tracks make this otherwise throw-away release truly something special.

The moody, organ-and-reverb-drenched "Feed The Beetle" should have been released as a single in my opinion, and "30 FT. Beetle" continues the wild surf mayhem kicked off by the title track.



And what makes this record ever the more endearing, is the boys' horrifically bad take on "I Want To Hold Your Hand."  With off-key warbling, and unassured playing, the kitsch factor of this cover is truly off the charts.


If anyone has any info on this band, please contact me.

P.S. - there seems to be an instro called "Fright" by the boys on Grooveshark.com that can be found here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jim Burgett On ORO

"Live It Up"
"Scene Of The Crime"
"Pauline"
ORO Records 
#1502 #1505 #1506




When one thinks about great rockabilly records of the late 50's & early 60's, "Lake Tahoe" usually doesn't come to mind. But that's exactly where Jim Burgett & his band first set up shop at the American Legion Hall in 1957.

The boys gained enough notoriety on the scene that Columbia came calling, and in 1961 the label released Burgett's spooktastic minor key lament "The Living Dead" b/w "Let's Investigate."

After this, Burgett returned to cut two discs on the Modesto, California ORO label that released his first single "I Believe In You" b/w "Live It Up."


These recording sessions produced his most arguably well-known record "Scene Of The Crime" b/w "I Wouldn't Dare" in 1963. The same year saw the release of "Pauline" b/w "This Is The Night."



Burgett's only other major label 45rpm release was "Now I Taste The Tears" b/w "Innocence Is To Blame" on MGM in 1969.

Jim Burgett now lives in Las Vegas, where he still performs on a regular basis.






Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Soul Creole Combo On Sunshine

"Boogie Banana Pts. I & II"
Sunshine Records #470



From the Cleveland-by-way-of Jamaica file, comes "Boogie Banana Pts I & II" by The Soul Creole Combo.

This Caribbean instrumental funk band spent time in Ohio recording for Sunshine and Thomas Boddie's Caribi label.

Thanks to Dante Carfagna for information on the band, and be sure to check out his extensive website on Ohio Soul Recordings. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mighty Golden Bells On Lewis

"Something" b/w "So Many Are Falling"
Lewis Records #2813
1971


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Best known for their 1982 song "Rest Awhile," The Mighty Golden Bells were formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in the early 1960's.  

The group originally consisted of between 15-17 members, and was known as The Mighty Jubilees.

Brothers William & Everett Sanders eventually whittled the group down to four, and enjoyed a career as a quartet in the gospel music industry for over 40 years.

"Something" is a great example of late 60's - early 70's raw gospel, with only guitar, bass, & piano accompanying Brother Sanders' shouts of "C'mon Jesus!"

Listen to an archived interview with The Mighty Golden Bells here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Count Down & The Moonsters On Pocono

"Hindu On A Honda" b/w "Shimmy-Shimmy, Shake-Shake"
Pocono Records #801
1963 (?)


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In what can only be described as an attempted coattail ride of Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash" single, comes this not-exactly-PC, monster-themed record from Count Down & The Moonsters.

"Hindu On A Honda" has all the essential elements of a 60's Halloween party starter - brooding minor key chord progression, references to surfing & the protagonist's hag, other-worldly background vocals, and the story of a drag race gone bad.

This record has been comped numerous times, but the 45 seems to be scarce, with little-to-no record of sale on sites like popsike.com & collectorsfrenzy.com.

The Illustrated Sounds

"Italian Woman" b/w "I Walk Alone Without Her"
Illustrated Sounds #1001


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This international caucasian bachelor funk record is a complete mystery.

It's got a killer drum beat, organ groove, sax solo, and lyrical content. If you know anything about it please let me know!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Haynes Family

"I Don't Know Why Jesus Loved Me" b/w "I've Got Confidence"
The Haynes Family #15556
1973(?)




If The Jackson 5 had recorded a lo-fi, out-of-tune gospel/garage track, it would have sounded a lot like the Haynes Family.

"I Don't Know Why Jesus Loved Me" was written and recorded by Andre Crouch in 1972, so the release of this disc most likely dates to sometime after that.

Marty Davis Is Drivin' On MDE Records

"Drivin'" b/w "Midnight Jamboree"
MDE Records #1001
197?



Presented without commentary; one man's highway saga involving pep pills, harmonica solos, "Beer Can Ray," and of course, a lot of drivin'.

"Now I'm back to drivin'
Gonna boogie woogie
Drivin', drivin', drivin'
Boogie woogie woogie."

Baxters' Chat On Pearce

"Loves Other Side" b/w "You're Mine" 
Pearce # 5827
1967



Hailing from Baxter Springs, Kansas - a small town on the Kansas/Oklahoma border - brothers Dan & Mike Brewster (lead & rhythm guitar, respectively), John Green (bass), Norman Manning (vocals), and Elmotie Scroggins (drums), honed their musical chops playing school dances, roadside bars, teen clubs, wedding receptions, and anywhere else that would book them.

The boys cut two 45's for Independence, MO label Pearce, in the vaunted Cavern Studios where The Pretty, Trinikas, & Blue Things all recorded.

"Loves Other Side" is a heavy dose of psych-fuzz and break beats, a wild departure from their Association/Turtles influenced other cuts.

Aside from being one of only a handful of integrated acts in the 60's (drummer Elmotie Scroggins was African-American), Baxter's Chat was one of the most popular garage bands in Southern Kansas, and shared bills with future Lynrd Skynrd guitarist Steve Gaines' first band, the Ravens.