Sunday, August 31, 1997

Concert: Bob Dylan

image from n-b-u.de/show_kansas_city.htm

Venue: Spiritfest – Liberty Memorial Park; Kansas City, MO
Tour: Never Ending Tour

What I remember most about this show: There were at least a half-dozen of us who went to this outdoor, general admission festival. Jerry, the Bob Dylan fanatic of the bunch, went that morning to stake out a spot up close. The rest of us arrived later and camped out about ten feet from the stage. During the show, we had to lock arms together to preserve our prime spots and keep others from pushing in front of us!


The Set List:

1. Absolutely Sweet Marie
2. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
3. Tough Mama
4. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
5. Silvio
6. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (Stanley Brothers cover)
7. Mr. Tambourine Man
8. Tangled Up in Blue
9. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
10. Tears of Rage
11. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

Encore:

12. Like a Rolling Stone
13. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
14. Highway 61 Revisited

The Rainmakers released Skin this month

Skin

The Rainmakers


Released: August 1997


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: roots rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time]

  1. Different Rub [3:30] (single, --)
  2. Skin [1:53] (single, --)
  3. Good Sons and Daughters [5:01]
  4. Remember Me By [4:20]
  5. Did You See the Lightning (Phillips) [4:17]
  6. Reddleman Coming [4:28]
  7. A Million Miles Away [5:47]
  8. Too Many Twenties [3:40]
  9. Hunger Moon (Phillips/Tomek) [4:07]
  10. Siamese Twins [2:51]
  11. Tattoo [4:31]
  12. Eclipse Has Begun [4:32]
  13. To the Hum [3:32]

All songs written by Bob Walkenhorst unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 52:01


The Players:

  • Bob Walkenhorst (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Steve Phillips (guitar, vocals on “Did You See the Lightning” and “Hunger Moon”)
  • Pat Tomek (drums)
  • Michael Bliss (bass, vocals)

Rating:

3.960 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The fifth Rainmakers’ album was seemingly their last – until they re-emerged in 2011. This is the best since their debut. There’s nothing here as classic as that album’s “Downstream” or “Big Fat Blonde,” but this is a solid effort and a worthy send-off. “With this effort, Bob Walkenhorst has again proved that no subject matter is too controversial by taking aim at pornography and its societal impact, via his unique perspectives – a Rainmakers trademark” (Rainmakers.com).

Interestingly, for an album about pornography, the musical approach is ironically stripped down. Whereas the Rainmakers previous albums sounded like they came right out of a local bar, the music here sounds more fitting of a coffee house setting. It feels much more like a Bob Walkenhorst solo album than a band effort. The sound proved oddly prophetic since the Rainmakers went there separate ways and Walkenhorst went on to release his first solo album (albeit six long years later).

From a lyrical standpoint, Walkenhorst is at his best. For many albums, a lyrics sheet is pretty unnecessary. The words typically feel like they were written in about the same time it took to sing the song. With the Rainmakers, though, you can count on clever twists with words, humorous references, and plenty of thought-provoking lines.

This immediately becomes apparent in the opening words of leadoff track Different Rub, the album’s most radio-accessible song. “Hot dog on a printed page/Airbrush every sign of age/Going under the surgeon’s knife/Stepdaughter of a Stepford wife/That ain’t what a woman is.” Quite different stuff than the stereotypical misognynistic content of rock and roll.

Siamese Twins offers a masterful dissection of male sexual duality: “This is the story of the double life/How you can take one love/Make her your wife/Yet hold onto this image of a fantasy world/Where every woman looks like a teenage girl.”

Good Sons and Daughters continues to explore the theme of a male-dominated, women-treated-as-objects society with lines like “The Revolution came, the revolution went/Not meant for us all, just that fifty per cent.”

Too Many Twenties gets a little lost in its weakly-conceived chorus, but the message in the song about the revolting statistics about how many women are raped or abused is sobering stuff. This is a long way from the feel-good, pub-dancing flavor of the Rainmakers debut.

In just glancing at the album titles, the title track and Tattoo would seem to fit well into the album’s overall concept. Instead, the former is more general, exploring humanity in general with that age old “Who am I?” style questioning while the latter is the Rainmakers’ best ballad since “Small Circles” off their second album.

Remember Me By is a far less memorable ballad that also strays from the theme as do the story songs Reddleman Coming and A Million Miles Away.

Lead guitarist Steve Phillips takes the reigns on Did You See the Lightning and Hunger Moon, fulfilling his requisite one or two songs per album. Phillips’ voices and lyrics aren’t bad, but they aren’t on par with Bob Walkenhorst, and make for fairly throwaway songs.

Most of the songs draw attention to themselves because of Walkenhorst’s gift for lyrics and his unique voice. Album closer To the Hum introduces a new element to the band’s catalog, though – acapella. Of course, it also closed out the band’s career. The last song on their last album. Not a bad way to go out.

Resources and Related Links:

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

Saturday, August 30, 1997

Francis Craig's "Near You" Begins Its 17 Week Run at #1 fifty years ago today (8/30/1947)

First posted 8/30/2016; updated 1/23/2020.

Near You

Francis Craig with Bob Lamm

Writer(s):Kermit Goell/Francis Craig (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 9, 1947


Peak: 117 US, 13 GA, 16 HP, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.5 US, -- UK, 2.5 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards:

Review:

It shouldn’t be a surprise that with 17 weeks at #1, Francis Craig’s “Near You” was ranked by Billboard magazine as the #1 song of 1947. WK That, however, wasn’t the song’s most significant achievement. Those 17 weeks also make “Near You” the biggest #1 pop song in Billboard history. In fact, Craig also held the record for more than 60 years for the artist with the most consecutive weeks at #1. He was surpassed in 2009 by the Black Eyed Peas – who took TWO songs to accomplish the feat with their back-to-back #1’s for “Boom Boom Pow” (12 weeks) and “I Gotta Feeling”(14 weeks). WK

Astonishingly, though, it was one of only two chart hits for Craig. When “Near You” charted, he was a has-been orchestra leader closing in on his 50th birthday. Francis Craig was a Nashville-based pianist and composer who had led bands since the 1920s, PM including a band at the city’s Hermitage Hotel which he’d led for 20 years. TY He was also a staff member of a Nashville radio station for 25 years, and was on NBC for 12 years TY with a Sunday night network program.

However his dance-band format was out of style in post World War II. Still, he decided to record his theme song, “Red Rose”, for Bullet Records. WK Needing a B-side, TY he also recorded “Near You”. He had written the melody as a gift for his grandchildren and was given an assist on the lyrics by New Yorker Kermit Goell. WK Blind singer and trumpeter Bob Lamm contributed the vocals. WK With 2.5 million copies sold, it was the first major hit on an independent label. PM

In 1977, George Jones and Tammy Wynette took the song back to the top – as a #1 country song. In 1959, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded an instrumental version of the song. WK Others who recorded the song included the Andrews Sisters (#4), Nat “King” Cole, Larry Green (#3), Elliot awrence (#9), Alvino Rey (#9), Andy Williams, and Roger Williams (#10, 1958). WK Milton Berle used “Near You” as his closer on his Texaco Star Theater. It became his theme song for years afterward. WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • Francis Craig’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Rememberd Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 144.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 132.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 66.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 102.
  • WK Wikipedia.org

Tuesday, August 19, 1997

Anthology of American Folk Music released on CD

First posted 5/29/2010; updated 11/16/2020.

Anthology of American Folk Music

Various Artists


Released: 1952 (on vinyl)


Released: August 19, 1997 (on CD)


Recorded: 1926 to 1933


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: folk/blues


Tracks:

Disc 1 (Ballads): 1. “Henry Lee” by DICK JUSTICE (1932)
2. “Fatal Flower Garden” by NELSTONE’S HAWAIIANS (1930)
3. “The House Carpenter” by CLARENCE ASHLEY (1930)
4. “Drunkard’s Special” by COLEY JONES (1929)
5. “Old Lady and the Devil” by BILL & BELLE REED (1928)
6. “The Butcher’s Boy” by BUELL KAZEE (1928)
7. “The Waggoner’s Lad” by BUELL KAZEE (1928)
8. “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O” by "CHUBBY" PARKER (1928)
9. “Old Shoes and Leggins” by UNCLE ECK DUNFORD (1929)
10. “Willie Moore” by BURNETT & RUTHERFORD (1927)
11. “A Lazy Farmer Boy” by BUSTER CARTER & PRESTON YOUNG (1930)
12. “Peg and Awl” by THE CAROLINA TAR HEELS (1929)
13. “Ommie Wise” by G.B. GRAYSON (1929)
14. “My Name Is John Johanna” by KELLY HARRELL (1927)
15. “Bandit Cole Younger” by EDWARD L. CRAIN (1930)
16. “Charles Guiteau” by KELLY HARRELL (1927)
17. “John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man” by THE CARTER FAMILY (1930)
18. “Gonna Die With My Hammer In My Hand” by WILIAMSON BROTHERS & CURRY (1930)
19. “Stackalee” by FRANK HUTCHISON (1927)
20. “White House Blues” by CHARLIE POOLE W/ NORTH CAROLINA RAMBLERS (1926)
21. “Frankie” by MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT (1928)
22. “When That Great Ship Went Down” by WILLIAM & VERSEY SMITH (1927)
23. “Engine 143” by THE CARTER FAMILY (1927)
24. “Kassie Jones” by FURRY LEWIS (1928)
25. “Down on Penny’s Farm” by THE BENTLY BOYS (1929)
26. “Mississippi Boweavil Blues” by CHARLEY PATTON (1929)
27. “Got the Farm Land Blues” by THE CAROLINA TAR HEELS (1932)

Disc 2 (Social Music): 1. “Sail Away Lady” by "UNCLE BUNT" STEPHENS (1926)
2. “The Wild Wagoner” by JILSON SETTERS (1928)
3. “Wake Up Jacob” by PRINCE ALBERT HUNT’S TEXAS RAMBLERS (1929)
4. “La Danseuse” by DELMA LACHNEY & BLIND UNCLE GASPARD (1929)
5. “Georgia Stomp” by ANDREW & JIM BAXTER (1929)
6. “Brilliancy Medley” by ECK ROBERTSON & FAMILY (1930)
7. “Indian War Whoop” by HOYT MINGAND HIS PEP-STEPPERS (1928)
8. “Old Country Stomp” by HENRY THOMAS (1928)
9. “Old Dog Blue” by JIM JACKSON (1928)
10. “Saut Crapaud” by COLUMBUS FRUGE (1929)
11. “Acadian One Step” by JOSEPH FALCON (1929)
12. “Home Sweet Home” by THE BREAUX FRERES (CLIFFORD BREAUX, OPHY BREAUX, AMEDEE BREAUX) (1933)
13. “Newport Blues” by CINCINNATI JUG BAND (1929)
14. “Moonshiner’s Dance Part One” by FRANK CLOUTIER & THE VICTORIA CAFE ORCHESTRA (1927)
15. “Must Be Born Again” by REV. J. M. GATES (1927)
16. “Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting” by REV. J. M. GATES (1927)
17. “Rocky Road” by ALABAMA SACRED HARP SINGERS (1928)
18. “Present Joys” by ALABAMA SACRED HARP SINGERS (1928)
19. “This Song of Love” by MIDDLE GEORGIA SINGING CONVENTION (1932)
20. “Judgement” by SISTER MARY NELSON (1927)
21. “He Got Better Things For You” by MEMPHIS SANCTIFIED SINGERS (1927)
22. “Since I Laid My Burden Down” by ELDERS MCINTORSH & ELDER EDWARDS’ SANCTIFIED SINGERS (1929)
23. “John the Baptist” by MOSES MASON (1929)
25. “John the Revelator” by BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON (1930)
26. “Little Moses” by THE CARTER FAMILY (1932)
27. “Shine on Me” by ERNEST PHIPPS & HIS HOLINESS SINGERS (1930)
28. “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room” by REV. F.W. MCGEE (1931)
29. “I’m in the Battle Field for My Lord” by REV. D.C. RICE AND HIS SANCTIFIED CONGREGATION (1929)

Disc 3 (Songs): 1. “The Coo Coo Bird” by CLARENCE ASHLEY (1929)
2. “East Virginia” by BUELL KAZEE (1929)
3. “Minglewood Blues” by CANNON’S JUG STOMPERS (1928)
4. “I Woke Up One Morning in May” by DIDIER HEBERT (1929)
5. “James Alley Blues” by RICHARD “RABBIT” BROWN (1927)
6. “Sugar Baby” by DOCK BOGGS (1928)
7. “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground” by BASCOM LAMAR LUNSFORD (1928)
8. “Mountaineer’s Courtship” by ERNEST STONEMAN & HATTIE STONEMAN (1926)
9. “The Spanish Merchant’s Daughter” by THE STONEMAN FAMILY (1930)
10. “Bob Lee Junior Blues” by THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND (1927)
11. “Single Girl, Married Girl” by THE CARTER FAMILY (1927)
12. “Le Vieux Soulard Et Sa Femme” by CLEOMA BREAUX & JOSEPH FALCON (1928)
13. “Rabbit Foot Blues” by BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON (1927)
14. “Expressman Blues” by SLEEPY JOHN ESTES & YANK RACHELL (1930)
15. “Poor Boy Blues” by RAMBLIN’ THOMAS (1929)
16. “Feather Bed” by CANNON’S JUG STOMPERS (1928)
17. “Country Blues” by DOCK BOGGS (1928)
18. “99 Year Blues” by JULIUS DANIELS (1927)
19. “Prison Cell Blues” by BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON (1928)
20. “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” by BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON (1928)
21. “C’est Si Triste Sans Lui” by CLEOMA BREAUX & OPHY BREAUX with JOSEPH FALCON (1929)
22. “Way Down the Old Plank Road” by UNCLE DAVE MACON (1926)
23. “Buddy Won’t You Roll Down the Line” by UNCLE DAVE MACON (1930)
24. “Spike Driver Blues” by MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT (1928)
25. “K.C. Moan” by THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND (1929)
26. “Train on the Island” by J.P. NESTOR (1927)
27. “The Lone Star Trail” by KEN MAYNARD (1930)
28. “Fishing Blues” by HENRY THOMAS (1928)


Total Running Time: 252:50

Rating:

4.843 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards:

About the Album:

Anthology of American Folk Music was “originally released in 1952 as a quasi-legal set of three double LPs” JB covering “eighty-four American folk recordings from 1927 to 1932.” WK “This reintroduction of near-forgotten popular styles of rural American music…to new listeners had impact on American ethnomusicology” WK “could well be the most influential document of” JB “the folk & blues revival of the ‘50s and ‘60s.” WK “Many of the recordings that appeared on it had languished in obscurity for 20 years;” JB this collection “brought the works of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, Dick Justice and many others to the attention of” WK “a new group of folkies, from Pete Seeger to John Fahey to Bob Dylan.” JB

“The man that made the Anthology possible was Harry Smith, a notoriously eccentric musicologist.” JB Although he “considered himself an abstract-expressionist, with a special interest in film, he had a hobby of collecting old folk and country records. At a time when many people considered these records to be ephemeral, he took them seriously and accumulated a collection of several thousand recordings.” WK

To create Anthology, Smith “compiled 84 of his favorite hillbilly, gospel, blues, and Cajun performances” JB “from the period between ‘1927, when electronic recording made possible accurate music reproduction, and 1932, when the Depression halted folk music sales.’” WK He divided the music into “three categories: Ballads, Social Music, and Songs. Smith sequenced the three volumes with a great amount of care, placing songs on the Ballads volume in historical order (not to be confused with chronological order) so as to create an LP that traces the folk tradition, beginning with some of the earliest Childe ballads of the British Isles and ending with several story songs of the early 20th century.” JB “Many of the first songs are old English folk ballads, and the latter deal with the hardships of being a farmer in the 1920s. The first album of social music largely consists of music likely performed at social gatherings or dances. Many of the songs are instrumentals. The second album of social music consists of religious and spiritual songs. The final two albums of the original release consist of regular songs.” WK

“The cast of artists includes pioneers in several fields, from the Carter Family and Uncle Dave Macon to Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, and the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers. Many of the most interesting selections on the Anthology, however, are taken from artists even more obscure, such as Clarence Ashley, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and Buell Kazee.” JB

“Harry Smith created the liner notes himself, and these notes are almost as famous as the music. Smith also edited and directed the design of the Anthology, including an illustration by scientist/alchemist Robert Fludd on the cover. Smith also penned short synopses of the songs in the collection, which were made to resemble newspaper headlines – for the song King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O by Chubby Parker, Smith notes: Zoologic Miscegeny Achieved Mouse Frog Nuptuals, Relatives Approve. Smith used a fragmented, collage method that presaged some postmodern artwork. Smith incorporated the music into his own unusual cosmology. Each of the four albums is associated with a color (Blue, Red, Green, and Yellow respectively), and an element (Water, Fire, Air, and Earth). In the 1960s, Irwin Silber replaced Smith’s covers with a Ben Shahn photograph of a poor farmer.” WK

“The Anthology originally appeared on the Folkways label established by Moses Asch.” WK After being “out of print for more than a decade, Smithsonian/Folkways reissued the set in a six-disc boxed set, with the original notes of Harry Smith, as well as a separate book of new reminiscences by artists influenced by the original and a wealth of material for use in CD-ROM drives.” JB


Notes: -- Originally released in 1952 as three separate two-album collections. The track listing reflects the CD listing in which each two-album collection was put on one CD. “In 2000, Revenant Records released a fourth collection (compiled by Smith) that includes union songs and songs recorded as late as 1940.” WK

Resources and Related Links: