Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lost Stream Gem: "Valley Of The Dolls" (1967)


"Breakdown nearly every day.
Shoulda known
ya couldn't get away."

--> Cheap Trick <--



"Valley Of The Dolls" is a guilty pleasure. A favorite mistake that rewards in spite of itself.

It's a groan-fest frothing with over-the-top acting and show-biz cliches. But I absolutely dug it! Partly because of the look and vibe...but mostly because the actors are so freaking sincere.

Without spoilers, 3 young girls (one very sweet...one very ambitious...one not so talented) get schooled in the shag-nasty ways of show-business circa late 60's New York City.

Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke

Barbara Parkins, I suppose, is the Dorothy on this yellow-brick road. Patty..."a hotdog makes her lose control"...Duke is still a cutie. And Sharon Tate (who we all know from...well, you know) was considered a star on the rise.

I've never been a huge fan of singer, Dionne Warwick, but she was the perfect choice singing the theme. Patty Duke displays her chops on a couple of tunes, as well. All the songs are courtesy of multi-award winning musical genius...Andre Previn.

And when the lights come up and the popcorn is all gone...we're left with the heavy-handed reminder..."there's no place like home."

"On Top Of The World" - Cheap Trick (1978)


You're on top of the world.
On top of the world
and you can't get any higher.
You're on top of the world.
You're on top of the world tonight.

It wasn't easy. It was hard as hell
You didn't get luck in a wishin' well
Never worked so hard, had so much pain
Wouldn't change for anything.
Learned love from a movie screen
He was tough, she was wild at fifteen
Hated school and had no dreams
Wasn't going very far.
Then he got religion and she got a god
It's on her back and it's in his job
And it costs lots of money, honey- oh, no.

Breakdown nearly every day
Shoulda known ya couldn't get away
Got lucky with the girl next door
She was lonely and didn't care
She was young, she was dark, she was fair
Wrapped herself around you with her stare
You'd explode if she would touch you there
Touch you there. Touch you there.
Then he got religion and she got a god
It's on her back and it's in his job
And it costs lots of money, honey- oh, no.
Tonight, tonight. Tonight tonight.
You're on top of the world
On top of the world
and you can't get any higher.
You're on top of the world.
You're on top of the world tonight
(Can you hear me, can you see me)

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
Follow me on --> Twitter & Facebook

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lost Book Gem: "Twenty Years After" - Alexandre Dumas (1845)


"Brothers fight or fall
It's man for man
and one for all."
~ Thin Lizzy ~



In the earlier classic, "The Three Musketeers"...the swashbuckling Fab Four (D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos, & Aramis) were reveling in the thralls of Musketeer-mania.

But now, "Twenty Years After" finds our beloved swordsmen thrusting their poniards in conflicting directions. 
They're still like brothers, sure...but they're also different men with different interests, personal and political.  



It's a confusing time in France.  Tense civil unrest has the country divided and the guys are smack dab in the middle.  


Someone from their past is bent on inflicting some vicious sword-spanking revenge.  And a slimy adviser to the throne is manipulating their Queen like a pawn on a Parcheesi board.
  
All of which finds the Musketeers with their butts against the bowl.

At nearly 800 pages, Alexandre Dumas weaves a suspenseful tale of 
adventure with plenty of action making "Twenty Years After" worth ever page...and almost shares equal footing with its better known prequel.

"Fight Or Fall"  -  Thin Lizzy / Jailbreak (1976)


Brothers here I stand
Spread my wings and take command
The sky he justly planned
The boy become a man

After all this time
I tell myself that I'm
Not just wasting time
Oh you know I'm not that way inclined

Brothers if you hear
Raise your flags and make it clear
There is more to fear
If we wait for another year

After all this time
I tell-a tell-a myself that I'm
Just passing through time

After all this time
I tell myself that I'm
Not just wasting time
Oh you know I'm not that way inclined

Brothers fight or fall
It's man for man and one for all
No more can we crawl
Brothers, brothers hear the call

After all this time
I tell myself that I'm
Not just wasting time
Oh you know I'm not that way inclined

Brother brother
Brother brother
Brother fight or fall
It's man for man and one for all
Brother brother
Brother brother
What you want?

We gotta fight for one another!

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On  FACEBOOK  &  TWITTER 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lost Gem: "Hot Summer Day" - It's A Beautiful Day (1969)


"And they told me that I looked a fool And I said I'd let that go."~ It's A Beautiful Day ~
A band often forgotten when discussing the San Francisco hippie headspin...It's A Beautiful Day made some wonderful moments of frock trippage.

However, IABD had a slightly more prog vibe going on. 

David Laflamme's unique electric violin and harmonica play and singing partner, Patti Santos' vocal harmonies created a haunting experience that blended smoothly like a Jefferson Airplane/Moody Blues milkshake.

Life-partner Linda Laflamme's lava lamp organ riffs are magical and mysterious giving arrangements a smart, edgier ride. 

Listening to classic rock radio, one would think "White Bird" was all It's A Beautiful Day ever did.   It wasn't.  
Explore, my babies, explore.

Lost Gem:-->  "Hot Summer Day"...A dreamy coffee shop mind-hang.  Gorgeous harmonica and violin nicely weave around smoldering vocals.  
Has a cool Marty Balin/Grace Slick dynamic happening...(except they don't hate each others guts). 
Sounds good.  Tastes great!  Repeat!

Have you heard this gem?


Hot summer day carry me alongOh, hot summer day please carry me alongHot summer day carry me alongTo its end where I begin
Long summer dream sliding round my mind
Those long summer dreams are leaving me behindHot summer day carry me alongTo its end where I begin
Circling like a river over brightly colored stones
Breaking up my soul and taking part of me homeLeaving the other half to tumble all aloneLove, love, where did you go?
Hot summer day carry me alongTo its end where I beginThose long summer dreamsStill spinning round my mindAnd they end where they begin
And I want to grab that river
And stop the love that's dyingBecause I know that somewhereDeep inside my soul you're still lyingWaiting to awaken and shake that river's flowLove, love, where did you go?
They told me that the sun turned greenI said I didn't knowAnd they told me that the moon turned blueAnd I said it didn't showAnd they told me that I looked a foolAnd I said I'd let that goBut when they told me that our love was deadI had to turn and go
Oh love, love, love, love
Love, where did you go?
Hot summer day carry me alongTo its end where I beginLong summer dreams sliding round my mindAnd they end where they begin
Circling like a river over brightly colored stones
Breaking up my soul and taking part of me homeLeaving the other half to tumble all aloneLove, love, where did you go?
Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On  FACEBOOK  &  TWITTER 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Horse Head -- Beatle Covers You Can Count Me Out...(IN!)

I'm going to skip the obvious, 
over-played, 
Beatle cover choices
and include 9 other favorite covers. 


"She's A Woman"
Jeff Beck
Blow By Blow (1975)

...One of my fav Beck instrumentals...has a kinda kraut-funk vibe-atude with outstanding phrasing utilizing the talk-box to amazing effect.





"I Am The Walrus"
Oingo Boingo
Farewell (1996)

Crazy energy with the band completely onboard. Here's another clue for your fanny. The walrus is Danny.
 



"Tell Me Why"
April Wine
Power Play  (1982)

Gentle mellowed-down stamp that was risky and shouldn't have worked so well...and I enjoy it as much as the original.
 






"What Goes On"
Sufjan Stevens
This Bird Has Flown  (2005)

Took my least favorite Beatle song...and turned it into something beautiful and quite inspired.
 




"Within You Without You"
Sonic Youth
Daydream Nation  (deluxe 2007)

No sitar, this one.  Sonic Youth melds Harrison's worldly thoughts with buzz-bang feedback that transcends.
 




"Because"
Elliot Smith
American beauty ST  (1999)

Beautiful and sad with Smith's weary resignation of stating the obvious and unobtainable...hurts.
 




"Happiness Is A Warm Gun"
The Breeders
Pod (1990)

A standout curve with a more ominous presence and haunting undertones. 
   



"I Will"
Alison Krauss
Now That I Found You (1995)

Stolen from the White Album and turned into gently falling snowflakes.  Angels could not sound as sweet.
 



"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
William Shatner
The Transformer Man (1968)

Maybe because Shatner wasn't aware how camp and silly this was...makes me like it all the more.



Your Turn.
.
Casey Chambers
Follow Me On  FACEBOOK  &  TWITTER 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pandora The Explora - VOL. 2


Doing the Pandora shuffle.
Check 5...and see what the fates allow.




"Breaking All The House Rules"
Budgie
Bandolier (1975)

A shame Budgie never broke.  

This has good green riffage with heavy foot on the accelerator.  Starts the night with a shot.







"Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall"
Paul Simon
The Paul Simon Songbook (1965)

This was recorded in England apart from Garfunkel.  Maybe he was considering not to return. Nice gentle song that I've already forgotten.  Still, Paul was always a solo act...even as a duo.  Press play for affirmation.









"Bouncing Around The Room"
Phish
Lawn Boy (1990)

Phish serves up worm jam for the mind that allows you to float downstream. This one's a signature.  The studio version is great.  But LIVE is the way to go.








"Stone Free"
Captain Beyond
Live in Texas October 6, 1973

A really good Hendrix cover...but the sound is a little muddled.  Still it should make you want to explore more from the Captain.  








"Fat Bottomed Girls"
Queen
Jazz  (1978)

Love the sentiment, the song...not so much.  It has the great opening choir chant.  And I love Roger Taylor's
drum-bustin'.  The rest...meh...leaves me a bit chafed. 


Your Turn.

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On  FACEBOOK  &  TWITTER

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lost Gem: "Funky Pretty" - Beach Boys (1973)




"if you're cosmic'ly conscious...
you'll see."
~ Beach Boys ~

The Beach Boys were kinda funny, weren't they?  Not funny ha-ha...but "shake-your-head" funny.

They created some of the most exhilarating music of the '60s...and then "Sgt. Pepper" comes along and before you could say "Mr. Kite"...the Beach Boys were an oldies act.

I exaggerate, but not much.  My point is they were still making really good music...just nobody was hearing it.  Go back and listen.  They never were the Beach Boys...really.  They were simply boys the world wouldn't let grow up.

Lost Gem:-->  "Funky Pretty"...the final track on "Holland" (1973) ...is filled with unusual lead vocal changes all over the place and has a groove that is simultaneously infectious and gritty. It takes a hard-left from their familiar sound but with a road-map arrangement that is still trademark Brian.
Brian would sadly leave planet earth for a lengthy hiatus soon after.

Have you heard this gem?


A Pisces lady loves romance (She loves romance)
Her movements tell you at a glance (She loves to dance)
Why they say Pisces rules the dance (She's got the glance)

She values flowers more than gold (She flows like gold)
Thinks of her men as knights of old (She's never bold)
She's very spiritual I'm told (She has never told)
Whoa

But where's my spark in the dark?
Glow glow glow c'mon glow
The funky pretty flame in my heart
Me and my Pisces lady are apart

Her calender is not like ours (She rules the hours)
The hieroglyphs mark changing hours (She rules the stars)
Her guiding light is from the stars (She's got the powers)
Whoa
A book of verse a jug of wine (She's soft like wine)
She'll always tell what's on your mind (She's much like time)
By just your birthday place and time (She's very fine)

'Cause it's a silent night in the sea
And if you're cosmic'ly conscious you'll see
Why she's a princess incarnate to me
Daughter of Neptune the ruler of the sea

The queen in Copenhagee (Funky pretty)
The dream of Amsterdamee (Pretty funky)
The cream of gay Parisee (Funky pretty)
The theme of U Say Asee (Pretty funky)
The scene in Great Britainyee (Funky pretty)
The meaning in Los Angees (Pretty funky)
The heat in Tokyosee (Funky pretty)
The treat in Manhattohsee (Pretty funky)
Yeah yeah funky pretty

She said "Don't worry it's alright
I'm coming back when the aspects are right"
And now I look in the paper each day
Wonderin' what my horoscope will say

Funky (oooo funky)
I still remember funky pretty (ooooo)
Why she left: my Pisces lady. Tell me why
(Why can't you tell me why)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On  FACEBOOK  &  TWITTER



Friday, September 20, 2013

Pandora The Explora

Doing the Pandora shuffle.
Check 5...and see what the fates allow.




"Nelly the Elephant" -
Nektar
Down To Earth (1974)

Entertaining instrumental with a krautrock circus ringmaster pronouncement is far more interesting than one might expect.   Tasty brass leaps in and out with ear candy.





"Hands of Doom"
Black Sabbath
Past Lives (2002)

Not one of my favorites...but it's early Sabbath.  Rarely heard and live at that!  It's wonderfully somber with trademark tempo changes.





"We're Turning Again"
Frank Zappa
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol 6 (1992)

 Kind of a funky thing. Great line:  "...they were mellow; they were yellow. They were wearing smelly blankets. They were Donovan fans."  Good stuff...so wtf?





"Sailing"
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
Lifeboat (1972)

Pleasant enough, but quickly brings to mind Rod the Mod's version.  Sutherland's version wins by a nut.





"Aos Pes Da Cruz"
Miles Davis
Quiet Nights (1963)

Romantic jazzy bossa nova groove-vibe goin' on.  Nothing chancy or dangerous from Miles...still a nice one to share a drink for two.


Your turn!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Interview:--> Bob Walkenhorst (The Rainmakers)


"Older than I used to be,
Younger than I'm gonna be."
~ The Rainmakers ~



It was nearly 30 years ago when The Rainmakers (led by Bob Walkenhorst) first rocked-up the infamous Coyote Club.  And Kansans are still talking about those shows.

The Rainmakers bring it hard.  They deliver the sweat like the FedEx man on Christmas Eve.  And Bob Walkenhorst is the kool-kat who rings the bell and takes off before you can answer the door.

Just back from a successful tour in Norway, Bob was applying a second coat of acoustic kickass rock-paint on the ears of some appreciative fans at the iconic Donut Whole in Wichita, KS.

Even at 60, he looks and sounds every bit the raucous rocker from the 80's.  Time has only made him better.
After working the stage for two hours, Bob graciously joined me for a little coffee and convo.  

Interview - August 3, 2013

Casey Chambers:  I'm a big fan of Stephen King and I was knocked-out when I saw your song "Downstream" quoted right out of the gate on page one of
The Tommyknockers.  How did you find out the scare-master was a fan of your music?

Bob Walkenhorst:  Well,  The Rainmakers had been touring all year and we were done touring.  
Pat Tomek, Steve Phillips, 
Rich Ruth, Bob Walkenhorst

We were back home when they said we got this offer to go to Bangor, Maine and play a concert for Stephen King.  And they asked us if we knew who Stephen King was and well yeah, everybody knows who Stephen King is.  He was gonna pay us a bunch of money to come play a show, so we went up there and played a concert for him in January of 1987.

Stephen had a radio station and he loved The Rainmakers.  So while we were up there he says...'I'm working on a book and I'm gonna put some of your lyrics in it.'  
I said,  'That's great.  I'll believe it when I see it.'  Well, his next book that came out was The Tommyknockers.  We got this place of honor.  And that's really nice.
Now, every time I'm in a thrift store or in an airport and there happens to be a copy...I'll flip it over and, 'Yep.  It's still there.'  He also used some lyrics and actually mentions me by name in "Gerald's Game".   So even if the records go out of print, I'll always be in the Stephen King books.  

Casey Chambers:  That's cool.  Which song did he use in that book?

Bob Walkenhorst:  In "Gerald's Game" he just used a little bit of "One More Summer"...which I closed with tonight.  And he mentions "The Lakeview Man"...a song I played earlier.  And then he has one of the characters from the book thinking...'Yeah, we used to sit around and listen to Bob Walkenhorst.'  So I'm actually...I'm actually in the book.  (laughs)

"The Lakeview Man"

Casey Chambers:  That is good stuff!

Bob Walkenhorst:  It is.  It's very neat.  

Casey Chambers:  You've had the opportunity to perform on some British TV shows like "Top of the Pops" and "The Tube".  What did you take away from those experiences?

Bob Walkenhorst:  Oh...being on TV is not the same as playing live for people, y'know, it's kind of...it can get real cheesy if you're not careful.  And "Top of the Pops" was kind of a cheesy show.  It was prerecorded and you were lip-syncing anyway...so it didn't matter.   

There was actually a point where the director says...'Ok, here's where you have to look at the camera.'  
Well, I didn't want to sing to the camera.  And they go, 'Well everybody does it.'  
Every time I see it now, I cringe because I turn to the camera and give'em a big cheesy smile and sing.  But it was a great experience.  I mean, I can laugh about it now because there are things that are just silly.

"Let My People Go-Go" - (Top Of The Pops)

  
It's still a great privilege to have been on the show.  I think...wow!  The Rolling Stones were on this show.  The Beatles were on this show.  And now I'm on this show.  So it was fun.  

Casey Chambers:  And The Tube?

Bob Walkenhorst:  The Tube was a live show.  It was a live broadcast.  Our record company hired Elton John's horn section...a horn section that we had never rehearsed with.  It's going out over the air live, so you hope it works.  And it did.  We played really well.  

We flew in, went straight to the studio, rehearsed all day and then did the show.  We'd been up for 60 hours or something and I look at it and think...y'know, we did damn good.  We played really well.  Sometimes the auto pilot kicks in and you do what you gotta do...cause you gotta do it.

I think that really kind of opened things up for us because we always have been a strong live band.  Playing live is where we started  

"Long Gone Long" - (The Tube)

Casey Chambers:  You've played several times at the Coyote Club (Wichita, KS) and people still talk about your performances there.

Bob Walkenhorst:  We were one of many, many really good bands that played The Coyote.  I mean, that place had been a dance hall since the '20s or something as I understand it.  And you can kind of feel it...when you're playing in a place where a lot of music has happened.  A lot of lives and stories have gone on in there..and that place just had a spooky vibe to it.  

It was a big round stone building with high ceilings and everyone was always in a good mood there.  It really didn't sound that great for rock and roll.  It was echoey and ringy.   But it was dark and edgy and certainly had an atmosphere. 

And in the back room, there were these tables that had these little secret drawers underneath them...'cause during Prohibition it was a speakeasy was what we heard.    
So if the place ever got raided, they'd pull out these secret drawers and you'd throw your bottles in there and say, 'No officer.  We're just here playing cards.  Drinking Ne-hi.' (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  How did The Rainmakers begin working with producer Terry Manning?

Bob Walkenhorst:   Well, I have a daughter who's 20.  She's a musician and I try to tell her about the music business.  I also have young musicians coming and asking me how you get accepted in the music business.  And I tell them the music business is so different than it used to be.

It used to be you would make an independent record.  And there were limited ways to sell it.  You tried to get a major label interested in you and if you did, then they would choose the producer who "they" thought was right for you. 

You made the record.  They lined up press.  Local press in your city and national press.  You got your video on MTV and you were pretty much on your way.  They got radio to play you.   It was this recipe.  Here's how you make a successful band in the US.  

And there was a lot of luck to it, too.  Things had to fall into place.  The music and the band's recognition had to get a life of its own.  They couldn't just make it out of nothing.  You really had to have some hard work  and a lot of luck on your side.  

Now at that time, if you were a new band you came in with no clout.   You didn't have any say.   You could be an artistic prima donna and say...Well I'm just not gonna record my songs if that's the way you're gonna go!   
Well we weren't prima donnas.  We wanted to make records. So they said, 'Well we're gonna hook you up with Terry Manning.  He's had a huge amount of success with ZZ Top. He had just had some minor success with Jason and the Scorchers.  And we think he'll be a good match for you. Now, he doesn't let your drummer play.  It will be a drum machine record.   And we're like,  'Well...but we're a live band.'  And they said, 'That's the deal.  Take it or leave it.  It will be a drum machine, studio created record.'  And we're like, ok. We won't argue.  (laughs)   

And Terry actually was a great guy.  He was a wonderful guy to work with.  Uh...there's things about the sound of those records that really bothers me.  You can tell it's a drum machine.  It doesn't even pretend to sound like a human being, y'know?  (laughs)  It's like this big robotic machine, but that worked okay for some of those songs.  And in the context of '80s music, we were still a guitar band.  Even though we were working with a producer who was building things out of a keyboard based drum machine and using some synth reinforcements and stuff...we were still a guitar band.  
"Tornado" - (1988)

And we were writing our own songs.  I was writing songs and neither the record company nor the producer tried to change any of that.  I think that was kind of the whole saving grace of our relationship.  They were like, 'You guys go and be the quirky Midwesterners that you are 'cause we can't fake that.  We can't make that up.  We can't hire somebody to do that.   So keep doing it.'  They encouraged me as a writer to...'you write whatever you want.  We like what you're doing.'  

So we did have a good record company.  They worked really hard to break our band.  And we had a limited amount of success.  And that's where the pure chance comes into the equation.  Sometimes things click.  Sometimes they don't. Things happened better for us in Europe and lasted much longer in Europe.  I just came back from playing a solo tour in Norway two weeks ago and I had really nice crowds every night.  

Casey Chambers:  What do you remember most about working with Terry?

Bob Walkenhorst:  Well most of my songs were pretty well finished.  We had already been playing them live.  But one of our signature songs is "Downstream"...a story about being on a raft with Mark Twain and picking up Harry Truman and then Chuck Berry...
                  
Casey Chambers:  A favorite of mine.

Bob Walkenhorst:  Yeah!  I'm very proud of that song.  It's a nice little piece of fiction.  We're all on a raft together talking to each other.  

Well, we were getting ready to record it and Terry says the song needs one more verse.  I'm like, 'What do you mean?'
He goes, 'well ya got these three verses but for some reason it doesn't feel finished to me.  The Chuck Berry verse needs one more section to it.'  So I went and sat in the corner for a few minutes and came up with four more lines.  

"Downstream" 


Now I can't imagine the song without those last four lines. He was absolutely right.  That was about the only writing change he made.  

He was also really good at getting guitar sounds and building these guitar textures that made one guitar sound gigantic.  I mean, he really knew how to do that stuff.  

And, as a producer, he just knew how to make people want to record.  Want to work.  And have some joy doing it.  We went to work at 10:00 in the morning and you worked til 10:00 at night.  There was a work ethic.  No drugs.  No booze.  We'd take a lunch break.  And if things were bogging down we played ping pong for awhile.  But I mean...it was time to work.  And I liked to work.  So Terry and I hit it off pretty easily. 

Casey Chambers:  There's a loose, off the chain energy that emanates from The Rainmakers on stage.  Rich Ruth (bass), Steve Phillips (guitar), Pat Tomek (drums)...you guys seem to instinctively know just how far to go.  That's a trust thing, right?

Bob Walkenhorst:  There's that.  There's the musical thing that your band mates bring.  But then there's the personal chemistry.  To me, Rich Ruth is The Rainmakers.  Y'know he's the bass player who never sings lead.  But he's the heart and the soul of the band.  He brings the attitude.  And if you're trying to be a rock and roll band...attitude is everything. 

Steve Phillips is an outstanding guitar player.  He's like Pete Townshend...he could cover the whole thing.  You didn't need two guitars all the time.  Sometimes one guitar is enough.  And Pat Tomek is as solid a drummer as you're ever gonna work with.  I was really lucky to be in a band with those guys.  We were a good band. 
"Skin" (1997)

The Rainmakers are still playing together.  Steve's in a different band now.  But my long time friend Jeff Porter is covering guitar and we're having a great time.  

Casey Chambers:  Sweet!  Jumping ahead to the late '90s, you had the opportunity to collaborate with Brewer and Shipley.  How did that come about?

Bob Walkenhorst:  (laughs)  Um...I'm not a pot smoker.  We'll start with that.  But the organization...NORML ...put out a compilation album ("Hempilation, Vol. 2: Free The Weed") to raise funds for their legal fights to change marijuana laws, which I can get behind.  And more states are going that way.  

There were a lot of artists covering songs that had pot references and NO one had ever covered "One Toke Over the Line".   And I was like, 'Are you guys stoned?   That's like the ultimate pot smoking song!'  

Now Brewer and Shipley are Missouri guys too and we worshiped the ground they walked on.  And we had the same manager.  He suggested we do it and have Brewer and Shipley sing it with us.  And so we worked out an arrangement.  

Now the irony is...none of us were ever in the same room at the same time.  We did our track and our vocals and left space for Brewer and Shipley.  Brewer comes in later and does his part.  Then they sent the tapes off somewhere else for Shipley to do his part.  So we were never all there.  But since then, we've done several shows together.  In fact, I'm doing two shows with them in the next few months.  

Casey Chambers:  Alright!

Bob Walkenhorst:  Yeah!   I don't know if you know the history of those guys but they're a great duo.  Good songwriters.  Killer singers.  And y'know they're like 70 years old now, or nearly.  And still playing music.  Whenever they play, people cry.  They have been the soundtrack to a lot of people's lives.  Mine included.                     

Casey Chambers:  What album changed your life?

Bob Walkenhorst:  James Taylor's second album...  "Sweet Baby James" (1970).   
It was a really simple record but it had this depth and emotional credibility to it.  He was pretty young at the time and the guitar parts were simple but cool.  
And I thought I could do that.  I learned how to play all those songs.  That was the record, I think, that made me say...'Get to work.  You can do this.'  And still, to this day...it's a great record.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah I like it too.

Bob Walkenhorst:  You know that one?

Casey Chambers:  Sure, yeah.   

Bob & Casey (together):  "Fire and Rain".  

Casey Chambers:  Yeah and there's another one I really like...a deeper cut...called "Anywhere Like Heaven."

Bob Walkenhorst:  Yeah!  Beautiful.  There was...at one point...I knew how to play the entire album. (laughs)  And chicks dug that.  If a guy could play that then he's...yeah, you were in.


Casey Chambers:  Earlier, we talked about your insanely catchy rock-rooster..."Downstream".  How did The Rainmakers..."the crowd ain't going home until you play it"....signature feel-good sweat-fest......."Let My People Go-Go" come about? 

Bob Walkenhorst:  (laughs)  Well actually, when I wrote, "Let My People Go-Go"...I said, 'Okay guys, if this is just too stupid, let me know.'  And they're like, 'No! No! We don't think this is too stupid...We think it's just stupid enough.'  (laughs)  

But it's not stupid.  Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis, too...those early rock and roll pioneers were literally torn between  rock & roll and gospel.  And is rock and roll the devil's music?   

They'd go one way; then they'd go the other.  Jerry Lee decided he could only play gospel music, well, for awhile. Little Richard, he'd be on again, off again trying to reform.  And so the song, in a very fun way addresses that subject.

So I'm kind of mixing Bible stories with old rock & roll songs. I think God would say, 'I didn't really put you here to suffer. I put you here to love one another and have a good time.'  That's kind of what Jesus said anyway.  So...I'm just making it danceable.  

Casey Chambers:  In 2011, The Rainmakers were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.  That must have been a thrill.

Bob Walkenhorst:  It is!   Y'know, L.A and New York get all the attention for being the media centers.  Chicago too. But some of the best American music is coming out of the far-flung places.  A lot of great music is coming out of the middle part of the country.  

So for Kansas to acknowledge some of these grass roots people in their Music Hall of Fame...and to be included in that company is a great honor.  And it's a nice thing to be a part of.  

Casey Chambers:  What stands out in your memory the most about that night?

Bob Walkenhorst:  I remember the camaraderie.   I saw people who I remember playing in bars 30 years ago.  I got to see a lot of people together that night. 

I'm trying to remember this guy's name...Johnny Isom, I think.  He used to work at Big Dudes and he'd sell ya guitar strings.  Well, he was part of one of the bands being inducted.  And he got up and sang, "When a Man Loves a Woman"...which is a song I have heard too damn many times...And he NAILED it!  

I was like, 'Oh my God!  Johnny, way to go!'  That was just one of the moments where I was like...'Yeah!  We're all still playing music and we've gotten better with age.'  It just makes you happy.

Casey Chambers:  I really enjoyed talking with you this evening.  Thank you for your time.  Good show tonight!

Bob Walkenhorst:  Thank you, Casey.  It was nice meeting you.

"Small Circles"


The Rainmakers Official Site

Good stuff!