Monday, March 14, 2011

The Rainmakers return with 25 On

25 On

The Rainmakers

Released: March 14, 2011

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: roots rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Given Time [2:54]
  2. Vermillion [2:13]
  3. My Own Bed [3:10]
  4. Missouri Girl [2:38]
  5. Half a Horse Apiece [3:04]
  6. These Hills [3:46]
  7. Kansas City Times [2:41]
  8. Baby Grand [4:13]
  9. Like Dogs [3:23]
  10. Turpentine [3:22]
  11. Last Song of the Evening [5:11]
  12. Go Down Swinging [3:39]

All songs written by Bob Walkenhorst.

Total Running Time: 40:14

The Players:

  • Bob Walkenhorst (vocals, guitar)
  • Rich Ruth (bass)
  • Pat Tomek (drums, vocals)
  • Jeff Porter (guitar, piano, vocals)


3.759 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

Quotable: “What could be their most mature and soulful work to date.” – Kevin Triebsch, Atlanta Music Examiner

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

This Kansas City-based rock band formed in 1986 and became popular in the Midwest and overseas in Norway. They released five albums in just over a decade, calling it quits after their 1997 album Skin. The band’s lead singer and chief songwriter, Bob Walkenhorst, returned with a solo album, The Beginner, in 2003. A regularly weekly gig at a Kansas City club led to a partnership with another local musician, Jeff Porter. They paired for an album (No Abandon) in 2009.

However, as Walkenhorst acknowledged, “the response was good…but we realized the people who’d come to see us were primarily Rainmakers fans who wanted to hear Rainmakers songs. We won some people over, but we came back thinking a Rainmakers tour was the next, natural thing to do.” TF

With 2011 marking the 25th anniversary of the band’s debut album, the timing was right for a celebratory reunion tour AND a new album. Pat Tomek and Rich Ruth, the band’s original drummer and bassist respectively, signed on board again and Porter filled the shoes of original guitarist Steve Phillips, who was committed to hs band The Elders.

Walkenhorst acknowledged a difference between the group’s material and his solo efforts. “There’s a distinction between songwriting styles…It’s about attitude. There’s some humor on my solo stuff. No Abandon is pretty serious.” TF “When you’re hanging out with the guys, you’re not going to be so sensitive, although there are some heartbreaking songs on the new one, too. But mostly, there are a lot of big smiles.” TF He also said, “It reminded me that, sure, you can be the big, nutty lead singer, but it’s the combination of people and personalities that make a band happen.” TF

“The good news is…their unique vision and sound is fully intact.” JM This is “a true return to form: traditional rock n’ roll about all the non-traditional subjects – politics, turpentine, religion, friendship, delivering newspapers, dying, dogs, driving in the snow, going down swinging, and one about girls.” VR25 On is another great album from a truly exceptional band.” LTB “The new songs bear the Rainmakers’ imprint, especially Walkenhorst’s inimitable voice and his unusual ways of turning a phrase.” TF “Sense of humor intact, and sense of heartbreak within reach, the Rainmakers deliver it all with meat-and-beer guitars and drums. And a little piano.” VR “For literate, humorous, challenging, lyrics and elemental barroom rock and roll, nobody since Creedence has ever done it better than these guys.” LTB “This is real, this is fun.” VR

“In 25 On, the Rainmakers show that they have not lost one ounce of their fervor to cynicism” JM and “have released what could be their most mature and soulful work to date.” KT “They have not become a listless oldies act and this is not an effort to squander past glory on a distasteful money-grab. This is a great rock & roll album, crafted by masters, who understand that standing behind microphones with all the wisdom of the ages in their back pockets don’t mean squat if the people on the dance floor ain’t smiling. The Rainmakers have managed to…become 25 times as good and still just as much fun.” JM

The quartet used Tomek’s home studio to record the album. As Porter said, “The recording process was very shoot-from-the-hip…And I mean it in good way.” TF

“There are no duds, the Rainmakers don’t do duds.” LTB Songs “run the gamut from a first class melodic rocker (Given Time) to a story of life on the road and the joy of finally getting back home (My Own Bed) to a wicked political stomper that begs Americans to work together (Half a Horse Apiece).” KT25 On has it’s soft spots as well, as in Baby Grand, which will touch the heart of any father of a daughter.” KT

“The second track finds Walkenhorst rhyming ‘ceiling’ and Vermillion possibly achieved for the first time in music recording history (do the research). On Turpentine, the band grooves to a jazzy piano intro and a soulful wonder of a song as Walkenhorst sings, ‘Got the rollin’ bass, got the baritone / Got a ringin’ high tenor reachin’ Jesus on the phone / And a smooth lead singer got the women cryin’ / Sweatin’ salvation, turpentine.’ This song is a prime example of Walkenhorst’s superb songwriting ability as well as showcasing the entire band’s superior musicianship and harmonies. It sounds like a gospel choir straight off the bayou.” KT

“The album closes with Go Down Swinging, a raucous tribute to life itself, if not simply a musical career. Walkenhorst channels his best gritty-voiced good ole boy blowing away that harmonica and professing, ‘If I go down, I’m gonna go down swingin’ / If I grow old, It won’t be gracefully / I’m gonna trip and fall, and pass it off as dancin’ / I’m gonna croak and moan, say it’s a new kinda singin’ / I’m gonna go down swingin’’ as the rest of the band tries to keep up.” KT

“It sounds like the greatest of parties, but it also witnesses a singer and a band looking at what’s left of their lives. The Rainmakers have a multitude of fans around the world who will likely be transported back in time for a joyous musical experience with a band that has been there and back.” KT

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 6/1/2011; last updated 2/5/2022.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

50 years ago: Del Shannon runs up the charts with “Runaway”


Del Shannon

Writer(s): Max Crook, Del Shannon (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 6, 1961

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 14 HR, 3 RB, 13 UK, 14 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 24.0 video, 50.4 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Del Shannon was discovered by Ollie McLaughlin, a disc jockey from Ann Arbor. MA Backed by a band which included Max Crook, Shannon was playing at the Hi-Lo Club in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan, TC when McLaughlin dropped by to check them out. He liked Shannon and introduced him to the owners of Big Top Records. They sent him to New York to record a few songs. A few weeks later, Del received a call telling him the songs weren’t fast enough. SJ

Shannon and Crook came up with the song “Runaway” back at the Hi-Lo. Del recalled that, “We were on stage and Max hit an A minor and a G and I said, ‘Max, play that again, it’s a great change.’” Shannon wrote lyrics the next day KL about a guy deserted by his girl, only to wonder what went wrong. SF Shannon said he wrote the song about himself and his inkling to run away from relationships. MA

After performing the song for three months, they headed back to New York to record it. BR Del proclaimed that if the record wasn’t a hit, he was going to work in the carpet business. BR Once the single was selling 80,000 copies a day, Shannon was offered a chance at a gig at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn. He would earn more there than in a year at the carpet shop. BR

One of the song’s unique elements was the use of a musitron, kind of an early version of the electronic keyboard. RS500 Shannon explained that it was created by “’a little thing you clip under your piano and then you put an amplifier in it.” SJ Shannon added, “I think it was the first electronic machine recorded.” SJ

It was one of several features to make “Runaway” unique. The song also featured Shannon’s prominent and effective use of falsetto, not to mention the unusual structure of the song in which the conventional repeat of verse-chorus was abandoned. TB The result was the biggest hit of Shannon’s career and the U.K.’s biggest seller of 1961. SF It was “a true pop classic.” TB

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Del Shannon
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 88.
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 511.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 76.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 353-4.
  • SJ Bob Shannon and John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York, NY; Warner Brothers, Inc. Page 179.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 50.

Last updated 4/30/2021.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cee-Lo Green peaked at #2 with “Fuck You”

Fuck You (aka “Forget You”)

Cee-Lo Green

Writer(s): Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine (see lyrics here)

Released: August 19, 2010

First Charted: September 15, 2010

Peak: 2 US, 11 RR, 13 AC, 2 A40, 57 RB, 33 MR, 12 UK, 7 CN, 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 1.2 UK, 8.73 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 213.99 video, 448.06 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This “gloriously catchy Motown stomper,” as Digital Spy’s Nick Levin called it, WK came out of a Los Angeles session with Bruno Mars and Phil Lawrence of the production team the Smeezingtons. When Mars came up with the piano part, he thought it was a soul riff from the ‘60s or ‘70s. “I guess I’d know by now if it wasn’t original,” he said. They played a rough demo for Green, who liked it and then contributed many of the verse lyrics. Mars said, “When Cee-Lo got in there and sang, we all got the chills.” SF

Green told Entertainment Weekly that the lyrics about a gold-digging ex were “based on something true” but weren’t strictly autobiographical. SF He told NME magazine “it’s a fictitious account of love lost. But it’s a trial that we’ve all been through some time or another, and I think that’s why people can relate to it.” SF Cee-Lo has also said creative differences with his label, Elektra Records, served as inspiration. As he said, he did the song “to be an asshole, to be spiteful toward the label…because it had taken about three years to do The Lady Killer [album] and I just felt that after recording almost 70 sings I could not please them.” SF

The song was released in an edited version to radio. In the U.K., it was retitled “FU” and the offending words were replaced with blank spaces. In the U.S., the song was retitled “Forget You” and the sixteen F-bombs were replaced with the word “forget.” WK Green has said the milder lyrics weren’t part of the original plan. “It wasn’t like we were looking for it to be a radio hit.” SF There was also a remix released in the U.S. which featured 50 Cent and a fifth version, entitled “Thank You,” which featured new lyrics as a tribute to firefighters. WK

The song topped the charts in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and was a top ten in multiple countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States. SF In the U.S., the song originally peaked at #9 and was slipping down the charts, but after he performed it at the Grammys, it had a resurgence and hit #2 in its 26th week on the Billboard Hot 100. WK Despite never reaching the pinnacle, it became the United States’ best-selling song of 2011. WK

The song was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Spin magazine named it the best song of 2010. SF


Last updated 10/22/2022.