Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brownstone

Take a listen to this record ("Coming Together" and the flip "Surrender").


Any guesses on the year? Go ahead, guess.
If you were like me, I was thinking late 1960s, with the Byrdsy guitar and the folky psych vibe.

I was so wrong.

The group Brownstone recorded this ridiculously catchy albeit head scratcher in (wait for it) 1987.

Yeah, I know.  Crazy, huh?


I'm sure someone will enlighten me on the history of this single.  Recorded at Reel Art, I contacted the folks at Aardvark, where it was mastered, and nary a word.  Only other hints are J. Casados and R. Valdez.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Hustlers - Ski Country



November has me in a snow mood, so thought I would spotlight another ski LP from the stash (you may remember this one from last year).



Formed in 1962, the Hustlers (Adrian Anderson, Mel Anderson, Jan Camp, and Mike Wuergler) started out as a University of Colorado, Boulder folk quartet. During the ski season the group would perform at resorts "entertaining standing room only crowds from Aspen to Sun Valley"(liner notes).

In 1966 the group recorded two LPs on the Morey Bernstein Finer Arts label, The Hustlers Live in Action at the Red Onion (FA 104), and Ski Country (FA 103).  That same year the label released two accompanying singles, "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" / "Julianne" (FA 2011), and "Ski Country" / "The Times I've Had" (FA 2014).

(I did find a notation of another single with the same FA 2011 label number, “I Came Home” / “Lowlands of the Sea.")

Drummer Rod Jenkins also appears on the album (former member of Sunshineward, Nu-Sett, The Contrasts, and The Astronauts).

For the purpose of this blog entry, Ski Country features the "clean cut and energetic" sound (as per the liner notes) of the Hustlers.  Lots of ski-related offerings, a few covers, and some original ditties thrown in.


Side One:
Ski Country (Mel Anderson)
In This White World (Bob Gibson)
Watch Out for That Lift Tower (Ray Conrad/Mel Anderson)
Highlands Where We Ski (Morey Bernstein)
Ski the Rocky Mountains (Mel Anderson)
Somewhere My Love (Lara's Theme - P.F. Webster)

Side Two:
Aspen Ski Blues (Judy Henske, S. Silverstein)
Edelweiss (Rogers and Hammerstein)
Super Skier (Bob Gibson)
Four Strong Winds (M. Witmark)
Cremation of Sam Magee (Robert Service/Mel Anderson)
Lovers of Snow (Adrian Anderson/Mel Anderson)

Mel Anderson (who also produced the LP) moved to Idaho and became the president of the Idaho Potato Commission, where he helped create the popular "Spuddy Buddy" character.  Mike Wuergler went into media and was a producer at Walt Disney Productions, was nominated for an Emmy Award, and was the Chief Operating Officer at the American Television Network. Jan Camp Garrett teamed up with singer JD Martin, and the duo continue to perform around the country.  Adrian Anderson's whereabouts are unknown.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gold Leaf Music

Edit February, 2015 to include the Roger Berig LP. 

Dave Ackerman interviewed April 2013.

I first ran across the Westminster-based Gold Leaf label on the outstanding 1978 self titled Kastles LP. Then, as fate would have it, discovered an earlier Gold Leaf album, a lounge recording by the duo Foxfyre (One of Us is Not Enough), in an Austin used book store. Noting Dave Ackerman's name on both, I tracked him down. He shared a brief history of his label, and his musical career.


Side One:
One of Us
Hello
This Lady Ain't Waiting
One Fine Day
Scotch and Soda
How Lucky Can You Get

Side Two:
I Got Love
Lady My Sweet Lady/Sunshine
No Time to Say Goodbye
Alone
It Was a Good Time/Maybe This Time

"The Foxfyre album was myself and my singing partner, Mary Davis, who performed at the Top Of The Rockies [located on the top floor of the Petroleum Building on the corner of 17th and Glenarm] for seven years. We wanted to have an album to sell to those who really liked us."


The album, released in 1976, was Gold Leaf's freshman effort. Recorded at Applewood Studios in Denver, the album features Dave on bass, flute, and saxophone, guitarist Steve Jerrett, (along with former Synchrony guitarist Jay Salam), plus Ric Duncum and Larry Ziehl on drums, and steel guitarist Todd Clayton.

Two years later he would release the Kastles LP.

"Basically I did private recordings for the Kastles because they sang in church and wanted to share their talents with the congregation," he said.

That same year, Ackerman would record the Roger Berig Polka Variety Band LP, Just for Fun, recorded live at the Shangri-la Club in Westminster.


Gold Leaf's final record would come from country singer Tom Nix (GLM 0502), "Lady Luck"/"No Time To Say Goodbye" (both songs co-written by Ackerman), also recorded in 1978.


"I engineered and performed on Tom Nix's record, and he rewarded me with a stop payment check for the entire sessions.  That's when I decided not to record any more people except myself."

He went on to finish his Doctorate in music composition, wrote a symphony, and arranged and conducted the Jefferson Country Symphony's summer seasons for 19 years. 

"There is a CD that I did for gospel singer Alice Pegues, that I believe I put on the Gold Leaf label.  I wrote several songs for that album, including  'By My Side,' which won a Colorado Songwriters top award."

As for the rest of the musicians on the Foxfyre release, Steve Jerrett is a program director at Columbia MO radio station, Jay Salam builds web sites and teaches courses at Arapahoe Community College, Larry Ziehl continues to play around the Denver area, Todd Clayton is an airline pilot, and Ric Duncum passed away in 2007.  Mary Davis' whereabouts are unknown.

In 1981 Tom Nix scored a Billboard Hot 100 country song, "Home Along the Highway."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boulder's Fairview High School

I'm a sucker for high school records. Unfortunately most of the ones I happen upon don't adhere to that whole separation of church and state thing, and sound more like Sunday cathedral recordings.

Then there are the musical offerings of Boulder's Fairview High School band, Excalibur vocal group, and its jazz ensemble.

Fairview has had, at certain times in its 50+ year history, various music programs including eight choirs, numerous bands (including The Classic Knights), three jazz bands, jazz combos, and a string orchestra. With all of this homegrown talent, it seemed obvious to record albums.

The first one I came across was a 1972-1973 standard issue band recording (Audicom 5672).  Lots of classical stuff here.  


The second release I found was completely different.

I Write the Songs was recorded and released in 1976 (Audicom 8714). You can tell these kids are having a blast belting out the pop songs, much like one of my other favorite high school finds, from CaƱon City High.


Side One:
It's a Miracle
All I Know
Skin Tone
Freedom for the Stallion
Lennon/McCartney Medley

Side Two:
There's Nothing Like Music
Happy Together
Willow Gold
Bandstand Boogie
Nice 'N Juicy
I Write The Songs

Yes, there are three Barry Manilow covers. Personal preference has me favoring the uptempo "It's a Miracle."


Unfortunately, the "Lennon/McCartney Medley" is a Muzak sounding selection of the Beatles slower hits, "Here, There, Everywhere," "And I Love Her," and "Long and Winding Road."

Maybe because I just finished reading the outstanding Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc., by Howard Kaylan and Jeff Tamarkin, that my favorite cut on here is "Happy Together."

Wow.

Excalibur and the Jazz Ensemble were no strangers to recording.  I also found a 1979 LP, Riders to the Stars (Audicom 3703), which features a Beatles cover of "Got to Get You Into My Life," and yet another Manilow standard, "Copacabana."



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

John Susi


John Susi interviewed Aug.-Sept. 2013

John Susi has had a life that could easily be the envy of any music fan.  Having spent most of his adult life working for the legendary Colorado music promoter Barry Fey, he has come in contact with a literal who’s who of rock-n-roll music.

It probably would have never happened, if it hadn’t been for the Electric Prunes.

“I had dropped out of Bear Creek High in Morrison CO., and took a job working at Amp City in Denver, on Broadway.  Around the corner from the store, the owner rented a rehearsal space.  She mentioned that a band was coming in, and asked if I would help them unload their gear – it was the Electric Prunes.”

After effortlessly bringing in Marshall speaker cabinets by himself, the band asked if he wanted to be their roadie. He jumped at the chance.

"The Electric Prunes eventually lost their record deal and broke up. That led to my working with Sugarloaf,” he said. “They needed a guy to go on the road with them, to lighten the load of their road manager Keith Rhodes. This was during the band's work on their second album--but when the shows ended again, I had no gig.

So Susi went back to Morrison, and back to Bear Creek High, and at the age of 20, graduated. Then, as fate would have it, another chance meeting would change his life again.


“Joel Brandis, who I knew from Sugarloaf, invited Richard Whestone (Prunes) and myself to check out this band Barry Fey was bringing to Denver – it was Led Zeppelin. It’s a funny thing, that night I was introduced to Barry Fey, and he took one look at me and started yelling at me. Then he fired me! I didn’t even work for him…yet

Fey assumed, based on Susi’s large frame and imposing appearance, that he was one of Feyline’s roadies. “Later that night, Tony Funches [who worked for Fey, after stints as both Jim Morrison’s and Mick Jagger’s bodyguard] asked if I wanted to work for Barry.”


Susi joined the ranks in the exclusive Feyline Peer Group Security Force, otherwise known as the Goon Squad – working crowd control and neutralizing the gatecrashers. After several years protecting every band Feyline promoted, Susi himself was promoted.

“I started doing ticket outlet work, distribution, delivery, and then after that, I moved to stage production. All the big stadiums shows, I was a part of.

Susi’s life wasn’t always on the other end of the stage. Before he hooked up with Barry Fey, he too was a performer. “When I was 15 my friend Michael Frazier had a band, Commercial Appeal. I tried out as the bass player and got the gig. Fast forward ten years and Mikey and I meet up again. This time I wanted to play guitar,but was self taught and dumb as a box of rocks, but I had written a few songs. Mike had his challenges, but he taught me anyway. We then put together a band, Hundred Acre Wood."

Hundred Acre Wood also included drummer Paul Folis and bassist Troy Taylor.

“We played some shows at Ebbets Field in Denver. Someone saw us, liked us, and a friend introduced us to a producer. Everything was going great, but there was a catch. The producer liked Michael and myself, but not the other guys in the band. He told us the band had to go or no deal, so we let Paul and Troy go.”

Armed with a new rhythm section with impressive credentials, including Loggins & Messina's Merle Bergante on drums and Larry Sims on bass, the rest of the group included Al Garth (the Eagles), John McEuen on banjo (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), keyboardist Pete Wasner (Vince Gill), and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Stringer. The new Hundred Acre Wood headed to Applewood Studios in Golden.

"A totally killer record was made, and we had some good interest from Leon Russel's label, Paradise/Shelter, and from Janis Records (Al Stewart – Year of the Cat). Then we discovered that our producer, who was acting as our manager, mishandled the contract negotiations, and we ended up with nothing.”

In spite of not having a record deal, Hundred Acre Wood would get some airplay on KDKO radio, Denver’s soul station.

“We released a reel tape of our music to radio stations. Doctor Daddy-O heard our song 'Thoughts of a Woman,' and played it on the air. The phone lines went crazy. He called us to do an in-studio interview, and when we got to the station, the receptionist was wondering why these white guys were in the lobby – they had no idea that Hundred Acre Wood wasn’t a black band. Even with the response of radio listeners, there was no money to keep everybody going and Hundred Acre Wood broke up."

About this time Susi wanted to put down his acoustic guitar and rock out. While keeping busy with Feyline, he continued writing music. The subject matter was plentiful, being surrounded by rock stars for inspiration.

“I had been doing a bunch of shows with Aerosmith and there was a lot of talk about Steven Tyler at the time – his sexuality, behavior and vices, all that kind of rock star stuff. I was tired of hearing it. Everybody wants to take a shot at someone on the top."

The result was the song “No Wimps.” In 1983, armed with a title cut and other songs, Susi headed to Applewood Studios to lay down tracks for an EP. He was joined by his friends Michael Pfeifer on guitar and drummers Merle Bergante, and Bob Baugh (Bad Bob). Rounding out the band were Ian Campbell and Gary England on bass, and Peter Parks and David Zychek on guitar.



Listen to a sample of "No Wimps"

The release caught the attention of The Denver Post music columnist G. Brown, as well as local radio stations KAZY, KBPI, and KBCO.

(click to enlarge)

“David McKay, who was running the Rainbow Music Hall, and received a copy of the record. He heard it and liked it. He called me to ask if I could really deliver, I laughed and said, 'Of course!' He asked if we wanted the gig opening for Steppenwolf. All of a sudden I had 30 days to get the guys together as an actual live band.” 



After putting John Susi on the bill, the stalled Steppenwolf sales picked up, and the show sold out.

“We ended up in Billboard, as one of the highest grossing shows in the nation that week. But again the money just wasn’t there to keep us going. After playing with Steppenwolf, Michael Bolton, and Savoy Brown we had been booked to open for Leslie West, Joe Walsh and the Neville Brothers, but we still couldn’t make enough cash for expenses and a living. We all had to have other jobs to stay alive, so the band broke up."

In between making music and guarding rock stars, Susi discovered another passion – wine. 

“I was working security for Alice Cooper, during the Billion Dollar Babies tour, and was used to Budweiser and Jack, and really bad concert wine. This gal took me to a wine tasting, and that was it. I started traveling to Northern California to learn about wine, and spending a lot of time at wineries. Then I started making it." 

After serving the fruits of his labor to friends and family, he discovered that tasters wanted to buy it. So he opened Raven Hill Winery, in Bailey, Colo. 

“I then moved to Conifer and started J. Susi Winery. I would still be there today, except the lease expired on the property, and they sold it, and the new owners didn’t renew it. I was devastated. So I got in my car, filled it with my wine, and went to every winery I could find along the way. I found Natchez Hills, and fell in love."

Now making his home in Hampshire, Tenn., Susi says the move was a perfect fit, as the winery holds regular live music events on both indoor and outdoor stages, and even has a recording studio. However you won’t find him standing guard at the stage--but he will ask for your ID should you want to taste the wine. 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Colorado A&M College - Go Aggies (Rams)



Interview with John Hirn conducted Sept. 10, 2013

One night, while searching for Colorado records on a certain online auction site, I stumbled upon this 78 rpm record, from a seller in New York.  I had never seen a pre-Colorado State University recording, and at $9.99 and free shipping, I didn't think twice to "buy it now."

After I received it, I did a search for any information, only to come up empty-handed... that is until I contacted John Hirn, the volunteer athletic historian for Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

"That record is somewhat of a legend in CSU history," he said.  "I don't know the exact year it was produced, but sometime around 1953 is the best I can give you."



Listen to a sample of both "Fight Song" and "Boom Song."

"The Fight Song you have on this record is the original incarnation of what CSU has as our fight song today," Hirn added.  "It was written around 1928 by Dr. Richard F. Bourne, but not commonly used until later on in our history. You will note they say 'Fight on ye Stalwart Aggie Team' rather than 'Fight on you Stalwart Ram Team' like we do today. There are other subtle changes to the lyrics of the 1950s version and today's fight song. 'Aggie Boom Song' was another original Aggie song sung beginning in the 1910s and used into the 1950s."

According to Hirn, the record I found was actually one of three from a set, which also included "Alma Mater" on side A, and "On Wisconsin" on the flip.  The contents of the third record are a mystery.  Apparently both records were issued in a green and orange folder, with the words "Colorado A&M" on the front.  The inside shows pictures of the campus, choir, and the band, with lyrics of the songs. If anyone has the folder, or the mystery third record, let me know...

"'On Wisconsin' is in there because the original fight song for CSU was called 'Come on Aggies' and it was sung to the tune of 'On Wisconsin.' It dates to 1915 and was used until 1955 or so," Hirn said.

I was curious about the mascot (the ram) and the use of "aggies" in the song.  Again, I turned to Mr. Hirn.

"In 1945, Colorado A&M students voted to adopt a ram as the school's mascot, and for the next 20 years there was a struggle among students, alumni, and other fans to call them the Aggies or the Rams. Finally in 1966 the school totally dropped Aggies as a team nickname. The ram logo was being used more and more in the 1950s. Our football helmets had ram horns on them, even though our 1955 basketball team wore uniforms with "AGGIES" written across the chest. A different ram logo seemed to pop up constantly at this time. So this logo, which has an "A" along with the ram head, is a perfect example of how the school was known by both nicknames."

Pretty cool, huh?

For more information about Colorado A&M and its history, visit Coloradoaggies.com







Sunday, September 1, 2013

Coach John Ralston

I've already admitted that I bleed orange, so I thought it fitting that I start the 2013 NFL football season with yet another Denver Broncos-related vinyl find.


 The Face in the Mirror (Jay Records 10072 - 1974) is a spoken word, "how to sell with confidence" LP courtesy of then-Broncos head coach, John Ralston.  Coach Ralston apparently knew a thing or two about success, when he took the Orange Crush from a 5–9 record in 1972, to it's first winning season (the following year) 7-5-2, and the follow-up 7–6–1, in 1974.


Ralston rode on the coattails of the Broncos turnaround, going on public speaking tours, touting his secrets to winning. His "think positive" talks were a hit with sales conventions, where The Face in the Mirror was apparently recorded (no note of where or when on the disc).


Unfortunately it would not be Coach Ralston hoisting the Lombardi trophy. 

1976 was a make or break season for the coach, who had taken a beating in the media (and the fans) for the 6–8 record the previous year.  While the team went on to finish with a 9–5 record, it was not enough to get them in the playoffs. To add insult in injury, Broncos players issued a protest vote of no confidence in their coach and Ralston resigned at the end of the season.

It would be coach Red Miller who, in 1977, took the Broncos to their first playoff appearance, and ultimately first Super Bowl, where they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, 27–10 (of course, we all know how it ends in 1997 and 1998).

Ralston went on to be the assistant coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers...and the Toronto Argonauts.  He later became head coach of the USFL Oakland Invaders, and the Dutch (Netherlands) Lions.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Search for John Thomas Dalie

John (Jack) Thomas Dalie was an experienced hiker who set out, one August morning in 1954, to hike the 14,259 ft. Longs Peak.  He wasn't alone, as 32 other members of the Colorado Mountain Club went along to hike along the cable route of the mountain -- but he would be the only one who got lost.

Hail and snow plummeted the route, but he managed to get to the top, only to find nobody else in his party. A gust of wind then blew his knapsack (and all of his provisions) down the mountain, and he soon realized he was in trouble.

It wasn't until the rest of his hiking party made it to the bottom that they realized Dalie wasn't with them. Three SA-16 planes circled the mountain, attempting to locate the 25-year-old, first year Denver University law student.  After four days they began looking for circling birds of prey.  All hope appeared lost.

Then, after six days, Dalie walked into the Meeker Peak campground... 60 pounds lighter, but alive.


On August 30, 1954, KOA radio's Norman Nesbit interviewed Dalie about his six days and nights on Longs Peak.  What you have here is an almost 60 year old rare recording of that interview. A very cool addition to my collection, courtesy of my dear friend Joel Scherzer.


 
 
John T. Dalie died May 7, 2003 in Denver.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mark Morris Associates

My dear friend, and eight-track format historian, Bucks Burnett (visit his eight-track museums in Dallas, and Roxbury) sent me a couple of unique 33 1/3, 7" discs this summer - two Denver-based spoken word pieces from Dr. Mark Morris.

Mark Morris (to those unfamiliar with veterinary history) was the founder of Morris Animal Foundation, the world's largest non-profit organization, funding humane animal health research and studies.

To most folks, he's best remembered as the guy who developed Science Diet and Hill's, the largest pet food company in the world (and since sold to Colgate).

Sometime in his busy schedule he also started up a veterinary education record label.  No telling how many of these were produced, and how many topics there are, but the two records Bucks found are dated 1961 ("Diagnosis and Management of Liver Disease"), and 1963 ("The Aged Dog").



Listen to a sample of "Diagnosis and Management of Liver Disease"
Dr. Jack O. Knowles - Miami, Florida and Dr. Lester E. Fisher, Berwyn, Illinois



Listen to a sample of "The Aged Dog"
Dr. William K. Riddell - Los Angeles and Dr. James R. Rooney, University of Kentucky

Dr. Morris passed away in 2007, at the age of 72. The Morris Animal Foundation, based in Denver, continues on in his name.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jerry Savoy

After I wrapped up writing my story on Randy King, I discovered a second single on the Denver-based Enterprise label. This one from Jerry Savoy, and released right before the King 45.

Now pay attention, because it gets kinda random here…

Both sides of the single “All That Really Matters” and “With You” were produced by Gary Paxton.

Ring any bells?

Paxton is best known for his involvement in two novelty hits: “Alley Oop” (1960) by the Hollywood Argyles (Paxton sang lead), and “Monster Mash" (August, 1962) by Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. Both of these facts will be important later…

Somewhere along the way, in Paxton’s busy producing career, he ended up in Denver. In December 1961, he was at the helm of the Hollywood Argyles Finer Arts single, “The Morning After”/ “See You in the Morning.” Finer Arts was owned by former Puebloan Morey Bernstein of Bridey Murphy fame. The single didn’t do much. A January 6, 1962 Billboard mention said, “The Morning After” had “moderate sale potential.”

But I digress…

On to Jerry Savoy.

How Gary Paxton and Enterprise got together is a mystery to me, but here’s what I found. Sometime in early 1962, while Paxton was still producing in Denver, he hooked up with Enterprise, and country singer, Jerry Savoy. Jerry recorded “All That Really Matters,” written by Gary Paxton, and – wait for it – Johnny MacRae. Johnny MacRae was a vocalist in – wait for it – Bobby Boris and the Crypt-Kickers.  The b-side is another MacRae composition, “With You.”



Note Garpax on the label. Garpax would go on to be the label Gary Paxton used to release “Monster Mash” in 1962.

Still with me?

 So “All That Really Matters” received favorable reviews. In fact Billboard gave it four stars and deemed that it had “strong sales potential,” on June 16, 1962. No clue what happened to this catchy number, but it didn’t go anywhere. Paxton went on to bigger and better things, and that was that.

Of course it didn't go passed me that the Enterprise and Garpax labels look very similar.


Several years later Savoy would go on to release two records on the Chart label: Chart 1105 – “Make it Hard for Me” / “Where Can a Poor Man Go” Chart 1108 – “Foot in Mouth Disease” / “Falling Apart at the Seams”

NOTE: Chart also released Warren Robbe’s “Pick of the Week” / “I’ve Got Nothing” (1072).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Movin' On To A Better America

Finding a Colorado-based Independence Day record that compares to last year's Dick Bodine post was hard - so I'm not even going to try to top it.

But I think I came close...


 I actually found this single in a thrift store in Midland, TX. How I get so lucky finding Colorado records in some of the most unlikely locales, is beyond me.

This ode to America, specifically American chambers of commerce, was appropriately released in 1976, and penned by the prolific Ralph Harrison and Tim Schumacher, over at the Great American Music Machine, in Denver. The company had a knack for writing long-form PSA-style songs (one of these days I'll write an entire blog about them, but every time I think I have every possible GRAMM record out there, I find another - see the Denver Nuggets and the Skiing in the Rockies LP for two recent GRAMM posts).

"The mission of your Chamber of Commerce is to advance human progress through an economic, political, and cultural system based on individual freedom, incentive, opportunity, and responsibility..." - Liner notes on the picture sleeve.

Ralph handles the vocals on "Movin' On to a Better America," and the spoken-word flipside, "The Story of Free Enterprise."


He follows with the spoken word text:

"Yes the American way, it's a good way. A way of life enjoyed by over 200 million proud people who share its many values. A legend of freedom and prosperity, envied by billions the world over, who have only heard of its greatness. An example of humanity worth preserving for the free world to follow in the years that lie ahead. And when you talk about preservation of our preferred American lifestyle, the discussion leads directly to the work of the many dedicated chambers of commerce..."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sef and His Playboys


Sef and His Playboys
Severin Pfannenstiel – drums
Rod Julkowski – cordovox
Rod Harkman – sax, clarinet, and trumpet
Wendell Phifer – bass guitar

Sef Pfannenstiel - 470 S. Bryant Street, Denver

Upon dropping the needle on the Sef and His Playboys album (yes, I too noticed the cover picture was exactly the same as the one on Bob Mickey's LP), I thought this was going to be your standard issue vanity release polka record, from an un-Googleable artist.

Listen to "Solvenian Home Polka."
But holy cats was I wrong. 
Thankfully I kept listening, and soon realized ‘ol Sef and His Playboys is probably my best surprise find – ever.
I am hard pressed to find words to describe this album. It’s jazz, it’s polka – heck, it even has some psych vibes (not joking). Four songs into side one, and Rod Harkman jazzes it up on "Pennies From Heaven" – oh my God I’m diggin’ that cordovox!


Listen to a sample of "Pennies from Heaven."

Side two? The guys let loose on this jazzy opener.

Listen to a sample of "Angry."

The second cut, a cover of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass “So What’s New,” and I have no words. If you had been a fly on my wall when I first heard this. WOW.  Rod Julkowski is channeling some lite psych on his keyboards.


Throw in some Louis Armstrong ("Song of the Island"), and Carpenters ("Close to You") covers, for good measure....and the song that inspired the theme to Star Trek, "Out of Nowhere."


OK, enough gushing. I’ll stop now. The runoff indicates it was recorded in 1972. I did find a Severin Pfannenstiel who passed away in 1988, but can’t get confirmation if he is one in the same.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 5, 1963 - JFK visits the Air Force Academy


Whenever I come home to visit, I always have to laugh at the blatant political leanings up and down Interstate 25.  When you go across the Colorado border, you're on John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.  However it becomes quickly evident that you are soon in the conservative bastion of the state, once you leave the Democratic-friendly Pueblo County, and enter into El Paso County, and Colorado Springs, where the road instantly becomes Ronald Reagan Highway.  Once you are out of El Paso County?  It reverts back to John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.

That's why I thought it was humorous to find out that, way back when, the U.S. Air Force Academy asked President John F. Kennedy to be its first presidential commencement speaker, on June 5, 1963 (the previous year, Vice President Lyndon Johnson gave the commencement speech).

Politics aside, the President arriving in Colorado Springs was a huge deal. He spoke at 9:45 a.m. in a packed Falcon Stadium and was awarded an honorary bachelor of science degree.  Afterward, he went on to visit NORAD, before flying to the White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico.

To commemorate the Colorado visit, the Air Force Academy released a vinyl single souvenir - on standard black vinyl (and blue label), and on yellow vinyl (with a blue label).  The label notes "A Reed Record," but the flip indicates it was from "J.B.B. Enterprises," out of Hollywood. My copy didn't come with a picture sleeve.  Would be cool to know if it came with one.


Listen to a sample of the recording.

Of course, we all know what would happen five months later...

U.S. Presidents/USAFA commencement speakers (and year)

1963     John F. Kennedy
1969     Richard M. Nixon
1984     Ronald W. Reagan
1991     George H.W. Bush
1995     William J. Clinton
1999     William J. Clinton
2004     George W. Bush
2012     Barack H. Obama


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Springs Music


Springs Music is a 1981 Colorado Springs local artists compilation, designed to unite the two dominant music genres prevalent around the Pikes Peak region.

Interestingly, the producers of this recording decided it would be best to segregate the bands - rock on one side, country on the other. 

The "rock" side:


Falling in Love Again - Lightkraft
Tony Davich, Jamie Townsend, Rocky Porter,
Tiny Barge, and Tim Wall





Stay with Me - Acee Acee
Acee Acee and Rob Perks







Weekend Warrior - The Heroes
Scott Harrison, Larry Larson,
Ken St. Germain, and Skip Turnbaugh






I Remember You - Pete Howard Band
Pete Howard, Randy Norris, Doug Van Dette,
Randy Block, and Bruce Bandy






Mixed Feelings - Alliance
Rob Lawe, Greg Normand, Roni Ziemba, and
Glen Ziemba






Apple Pie - Uptown
Becky Higgins, Steve King, Rob Lewis, Guy
Duford, and Dave Hemersbach










Obvious observation, according to the liner notes, only half of the rock bands including Acee Acee, Uptown, and The Heroes are actual Springs bands - the other three are from elsewhere (Lightkraft - Indiana and Minnesota; Pete Howard Band - New York and Kansas; Alliance - Los Angeles).

Lots of milquetoast here. Coming from someone who lived in the area in 1981, I know there had to have been harder rock coming out of the Springs.

Alas, Lightkraft is breezy saxophone yacht rock, Acee Acee has a mellow Michael McDonald vibe, same thing with Pete Howard, and Alliance has a smidge of rock, but mellow vocals.

Only two songs on the "rock" side hold true to the descriptive - but just barely. 

Listen to a sample of Weekend Warrior - The Heroes

Listen to a sample of Apple Pie - Uptown

The "country" side:

Sleepin' With My Pride - Mountain Flyer
Joe Bevans, Lewis Mock, Steve Cormey,
Dan Williams, and Gary Hotchkiss






Give Me a Chance - Cindy Wheeler
Cindy Wheeler (Johnny O'Brien, piano;
Tom Gregor, drums; Rob Perks, synths;
Dan Williams, guitar; and Steve Davidson, pedal steel)









Sycamore Street - Loco Pony
Jerry Williams, Steve "Houndog" Hoke,
Todd Harrell, and Tom Cook






Two Mules and 100 Miles - The Glenda Roberts Band
Glenda Roberts, Timm Meyers, and Tom Bryan











It's Snowing - Stewart Miller
Stewart Miller (Cindy Wheeler on backing vocals)











Utah Sky - Potlach
Greg Smith, Ron Land, Ron Lyman, Dan Mahnke,
and Rick Starkey






Minus Poltlach (from Kansas), all of the country performers are Springs folk.

Lots of stand-out selections on this side.

Cindy Wheeler is more sweet folk than country,  I can't help but compare Glenda Roberts' "Two Mules" to "Ghost Riders in the Sky," Stewart Miller had to have been a jingle singer (I mean that as a compliment), and Potlach has the bar band sound down pat.

Diggin' the Byrds Sweethearts of the Rodeo era vibe from Mountain Flyer

Loco Pony is more rock than anything on the rock side (wait for the guitar solo @ :56).

All of the songs were recorded October-November 1981, at Startsong Studios in Colorado Springs.
A portion of the sales went to the Pikes Peak Humane Society.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Randy King

Another sift through my Colorado 45 collection reveals an inordinate number of singles (on several different labels) from Randy King.

As always, if you have anything to add, contact me through the comments section.

To track down information on Randy King, you have to first start off in Texas, at least in the early stages of his recording career.  His sound most definitely bordered on rockabilly back in those days, on the San Antonio TNT label (with the Westernaires):

1954 – TNT 108 "Crazy as a Loon" / "Tied and Bound"
1957 – TNT 9009 “Be Boppin Baby” / "Whispering Wind"


1957 – TNT 9022 "Thanks for Walking Out" / "You Was'nt Here" (with Gene Merritts)
1957 – Whiz 1501 – "Since You Came Back to Me" / "Blue and Lonesome"

In 1961, Randy (and Gene Merritts) released the Bozo Darnell penned "It's Me Again" and the flip "The Last Show" on the Darnell Jaybo label (2485). Interesting note, while the label clearly shows "Denver Colorado," Billboard lists it located at "1004 Eleventh Place, Big Spring, TX").

According to Brandan Cook, who runs the outstanding Odessa, TX-based Lone Star Stomp blog, there is another label variation of "It's Me Again" (with a Nashville address on the Jaybo label), Bozo Darnell's second wife offered him some explanation:

On the record label - this was a partnership between Bozo and a guy by the name of James something -that lived in your area (Odessa). They took the Ja put in a "y" and then Bo (yes for Bozo). "End of the Hunt" (a Bozo Darnell release) was cut in Denver and Bozo was  playing Wyoming so they used Jeffery City as a return address for anyone wanting  to order records.  Later on Bozo and James dissolved the label, as if I recall what Bozo said that, James was no longer interested and it was not a profitable thing. 

So when we married the label became J-Bo (kept the same color of label) and since Bozo had been on Jaybo it sounded the same on the radio.  The J is for my first name which is Jo.



Listen to a sample of "It's Me Again"

About that time Randy hooked up with Colorado country music promo queen Gladys Hart of Country Music Enterprises / C&W Record Promotion, out of Denver.  Gladys founded the Colorado Country Music Foundation, and in 1962 hosted the the first Country Music Festival, which would go on to be celebrated every year in Denver until she passed away (she was inducted in the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003).

Gladys' home address (1263 Zenobia, Denver) is noted on Randy's Radco release (and another Bozo Darnell penned song) "In Your Arms Again" (Radco 101).


Listen to a sample of "In Your Arms Again"

Randy kept ties with his West Texas and Big Spring friends with the 1962 release, "Fool The World," again written by Bozo Darnell (the flip was was the re-release of "Hearts Entwined" - Enterprise 104). Both the Enterprise and the Radco releases also note Gaylo Music - Gaylo was a Big Spring label/publishing company owned by Ben Hall (In 1959, "Hearts Entwined" was released by Bozo Darnell on the same Jaybo [J-Bo] label which released King's "The Last Show").


Listen to a sample of "Fool The World"

In 1963 King would then move on to the prolific Band Box label, releasing five singles over the next few years (while also apparently managing the Sultan's Table nightclub in Denver):

Band Box 270 – “Columbus Stockade” / “It’s All Over Now”
Band Box 271 – “I Can’t Stop Loving You” / "The Last Show” (with Gene Merritts and the Country Rhythm Boys)
Band Box 340 – “Merry Christmas”/ “Legend of Little Orphan Joe”
Band Box 368 – “I Don’t Want to be With Me” / I Hope My Conscience Doesn’t Show”  

Included in his Band Box discography is a two-sided John F. Kennedy memorial disc -  the spoken word “A Day of Infamy” and the folksy “In The Summer of His Years” (Band Box 348).  The label indicates that the song was written for a BBC tribute.


Listen to a sample of "In The Summer of His Years".

 King's affinity for jumping to new labels continued, as noted in a 1965 Billboard, which indicated that he had moved on to Cheyenne Records, and released "Gitar Picker's Lament" / "That's Tarzan" (4466).
 
However, he must of kept his ties with Band Box, because a Feb. 11, 1967 Billboard ad (below) touted him as a “Promising new addition to the growing Band Box family of fine country artists.


Sometime in the 1970s, King started his own label, Rival.  He released (at least) five singles and an LP of his own, along with a couple from Stan Pulliam:

Rival 29233 (LP) - Randy King and the Country All Stars Live
Rival 3167 - "Don't Wait for Me" / "The Nashville Special" (with Hardrock Gunter)
Rival 3168 - "Memphis" / "The Prisoner's Dream"
Rival ???? -  "Laugh a Little"/ ??
Rival 6171 - "To Save My Heart" / "When Your Memory Comes Up" (produced by Bill Goodwin)

Rival 7274 - "One Last Kiss" / "Hall of Fame" - Stan Pulliam
Rival 7275 - "Watergate, Like it Is" / Country Blues - Stan Pulliam

Found confirmation that King also owned the Club Corners nightclub, in Denver.

That's it. That's all I have on Randy King.
Pretty busy guy.  Again, if you have any additional info, drop me a line.