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.

Music podcasts - Music podcasts - Pipeline

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,"

Free Music - Play Audio - Elijah Rock

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.

Play Music - Audio Hosting - Stealin' In The Name Of The ...

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."


  1. Wow, these guys were absolutely guilty of being too funky for prison! Great stuff!

  2. I am one of the guys in the choir and can name many of the choir members. My name is Phil Ireton and I live down in Florida. I am on Facebook if anyone should want to contact me