Monday, August 1, 1994

The Rainmakers returned with Flirting with the Universe

Flirting with the Universe

The Rainmakers

Released: August 1, 1994

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: roots rock


Song Title (Writers) [time]

  1. Another Guitar [4:25]
  2. Width of a Line [3:52]
  3. Fool’s Gold [4:41]
  4. Window (Phillips) [4:00]
  5. View from the Tower [4:27]
  6. Greatest Night of My Life [4:43]
  7. Wilder Side (Phillips) [3:20]
  8. You Remind Me of Someone [2:52]
  9. Little Tiny World [4:07]
  10. Mystery Road [5:21]
  11. Spite [5:05]

All songs written by Bob Walkenhorst unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 46:53

The Players:

  • Bob Walkenhorst (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Rich Ruth (bass, vocals)
  • Steve Phillips (guitar, vocals on “Windows” and “Wilder Side”)
  • Pat Tomek (drums)


3.734 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

About the Album:

From 1986 to 1989, the Rainmakers released three albums, gained moderate success, and then went away for a four-year layoff. As is to be expected, a band that never exactly became a household name wasn’t going to suddenly set the world on fire under such circumstances with their fourth album. Of course, it doesn’t help that of the Rainmakers five studio releases, this is their weakest, although even a weak Rainmakers’ album outdoes many of their competitors.

Not that this is a bad release – there just isn’t anything as toe-tapping as their debut album’s “Downstream” or “Let My People Go-Go,” Tornado’s “Snakedance” or even “Spend It on Love” from The Good News and the Bad News. The best bet is Another Guitar, yet another Rainmakers song that sounds like it wants to be played on the radio, but wasn’t.

Similarly, when they venture into ballad territory such as on Fool’s Gold or Greatest Night of My Life, the band delivers better than your average band, but still pale in comparison to their own previous material such as “Small Circles” or “Nobody Knows.”

Incidentally, Steve Phillips, who wrote and sung “Nobody Knows,” takes charge on Window and Wilder Side, one more appearance than he typically got per album. Unfortunately, neither is going down in even the Rainmakers’ canon as a classic. Still, Steve did make another important contribution regarding the album as the band recorded it in his basement. WK

The closest thing to a classic on this album is Little Tiny World. Written with typical Bob Walkenhorst humor, the song turns the It’s-a-Small-World concept into something Disney wouldn’t be able to stick in a G-rated movie. Walkenhorst’s pride is quickly burst when someone he assumes to be an autograph seeker pinpoints him as the guy who used to pump her gas. Another verse spits out a roll call of run-ins at a party in which Walkenhorst concludes, “Seemed most everbody there had/slept with everybody else/when I figured it all out/I figured I’d slept with myself.”

Unfortunately, this album didn’t give the Rainmakers the glory they’d always deserved – although it did go gold in Norway, WK where the band had previously built a following. They returned for one more album a couple years later before they packed it in. While this is the weakest album in their discography, it’s still hard to not enjoy a Rainmakers album. This is the hardest album to track down, but if you’re a fan, it’s still a must.

Resources and Related Links:

  • WK Wikipedia

    First posted 2/27/2006; updated 6/2/2021.

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