Boneyard Media


Archive for June, 2008

Riley Walker and His Rockin-R-Rangers – “Uranium Miner’s Boogie” (c. 195?)

Friday, June 27th, 2008

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[See an updated entry about “Uranium Miner’s Boogie” here.]

This is an extremely rare early Utah rock ’n’ roll treasure, and it comes to us courtesy of New Mexico record collector Jerry Richards. It was appropriately released on the Atomic label and recorded at Recording Arts, Inc. in Salt Lake City, the “Wall Street of Uranium Stocks” (RAI is no longer with us but until 1944 was run by future LDS church president Gordon B. Hinckley). It’s a great example of a record that spoke directly to its home region, which was Utah and the four corners area, and didn’t circulate much beyond that. It’s also high grade western swing-cum-early rockabilly featuring some of the sassiest of steel guitar riffage.

If you’re familiar with the Southeastern Utah area, you’ll catch the references to Grand and San Juan counties, which were true hotbeds of the post-WWII uranium mining industry, as well as Cottonwood, the southern canyon area near the Grand Staircase (not to be confused with Big or Little Cottonwood canyons, although they’d also work fine in a uranium mining context). And if you’re well-versed in atomic industry history, you’ll recognize acronymic nods to the Vanadium Corporation of America, the U.S. Vanadium Corporation, and the Atomic Energy Commission.

Richards found his own copies of the record in Helper, Utah, which makes perfect sense, as he puts it, “because Helper was, and still is, a mining town.” The record came out as a 78 and a 45, with the 45 version pressed in blue vinyl. Both came packaged in what Richards refers to as “brown paper bag sleeves.”

There’s still quite a bit of homework to be done regarding virtually everything else about this record and the folks who made it happen. The year, for example – I’ve seen it listed as anywhere between 1954 and 1957. The relaxed mastery of the musical idiom along with the casual appearance of “rockin” in the group’s name makes me assume it’s post-1956, but I’d absolutely love it if I were wrong. For now, though, strap on your rock ’n’ roll geiger counters and watch those needles fly.

Riley Walker and His Rockin-R-Rangers – “Uranium Miner’s Boogie”

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posted by Kim Simpson

Dave Evans – “Stagefright” (1974)

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

UK guitar tamer Dave Evans put out four records, including the non-overdubbed, well-chiseled instrumental masterpiece Sad Pig Dance (1974). He also managed to squeeze in this cheeky Old Grey Whistle Test appearance. Not long after this TV appearance was taped he’d call it good with the record scene, go off to Belgium, and focus on building guitars.

Kendell Kardt live on WFMT Chicago circa 1975: “Gypsy Dance”

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

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In this live radio recording of “Gypsy Dance,” you can hear Kendell giving a stylistic nod to Van Morrison in his vocal delivery. It turns out that shortly after he moved to San Francisco, he and Rig drummer Rick Shlosser were offered jobs by Morrison – Kendell as leader of his backup unit and Shlosser, of course, as drummer. Part of the deal would be that Kendell could have full access to the band for his own projects. For reasons Kendell in retrospect “can’t really figure,” he opted out (although Shlosser said yes).

It’s easy to hear about this now and to think “oops!”, but talking with Kendell, it’s clear that the gravity of the prospect was hardly lost on him then. Two big factors for him to consider were Morrison’s famously thorny demeanor, which he’d had many chances to observe up close, and his own percolating recording ambitions, which would have had to have been set aside to some extent. Nonetheless, Kendell’s closeness to so many in the entourage enabled him to catch Morrison live a few hundred times. So much so that his admiration for the Irishman, as he puts it, “resulted in an experimental change of style that wasn’t quite resolved and took a while to assimilate.” “Gypsy Dance” comes from this era and would have been included on the ‘72 Columbia LP. For now, though, we’ve got this live radio version which, thankfully, still survives.

Kendell Kardt – “Gypsy Dance”

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More Kornellians

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

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posted by Stanislav

More info about Korni Grupa. Somebody probably told them that “corny” was not a good name for a band, so their official international name eventually became the Kornellians. The group had two distinct approaches to their recordings: Their 45s were strictly commercial and aimed for radio, but their B-sides and LPs tended to be convoluted prog-rock concepts. I imagine it was hard for their boss Kornelije Kovac to negotiate the two, with 45s being so easy to record and get on the radio, while only a handful of people seemed to care for the LPs.

I stumbled upon this interesting video of their concept record 1941, which was written and recorded to mark the 30th aniversary of March 27, when Yugoslav opposition organized anti-fascist demonstrations in Belgrade. 1941 was built around lyrics previously published by the Serbo-Bosnian poet Branko Copic. At that time, Dado Topic (later in Time) was the singer of Korni Grupa, while Jospia Lisac, a pop/rock singer from Zagreb, guested on “Marija,” probably the best song on the record.

The poem itself starts as if it’s about the Virgin Mary, but it’s actually about a young anti-fascist Yugoslav Partisan woman, a fighter in World War II who fearlessly died while storming the Nazi bunker. Kornelije Kovac decided to give this story a musical setting reminiscent of the best Big Brother and the Holding Company moments. The 1941 film originally aired on TV in 1971, but the record was in the vaults for a couple of more years after that. (The reasons for this delay were definitely not political).

Song ID: Korni Grupa – “Moja Generacija” (1974)

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

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If you follow the annual cheese-fest known as the Eurovision Song Contest, you’ll know that it happened in Belgrade this year (Russia won). I couldn’t help but wonder how the entire event would pan out considering the recent protests and riots over Kosovo’s proclamation of independence.

I checked in with Stanislav of The Little Lighthouse, who grew up in the ill-fated Croatian/Serbian border town of Vukovar. He assured me that Serbs know how to throw a good party,” even with an enemy. All current enemies were apparently treated well” – the “Albanian and Dutch representatives got cheers,” and there were “no boos.” One Slovenian announcer was shown saying things like “Zdravo braco Srbi!” (Hello Serbian brothers!). Also, the Bosnian entry got the full 12 points from Serbian voters as did the Serb entry from the Bosnians.

My response: “Is there any hope at all for a successful Eurovision having an impact in healing the tenuous political situation?” His response: “Eurovision is a huge party… I don’t think people see it as a political statement.” He’s right – some people really do tend to wallow in entertainment-related subjects as though they had some profound function.

Stanislav did remind me of some of the Yugoslav entries of the ’70s and ’80s, such as the Serbian progressive outfit Korni Grupa in 1975. “They had a pretty decent song [‘Moja Generacija’] about WW2 although it probably depressed most of Europe.” So they bombed at Eurovision ’75 as martyrs for meaning.

Korni Grupa – “Moja Generacija” (1974)