Sunday, August 31, 1997

The Rainmakers released Skin this month


The Rainmakers

Released: August 1997

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: roots rock


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)


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” (

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.

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

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