Thursday, April 14, 2011

Locker? I Don't Even Know Her.

In the early 80's I started semi-randomly ordering singles that I saw in magazines such as Trouser Press, The Village Voice, OP, etc. I'll be featuring a few of these in the coming days.

Here's a peppy little new wave single from Mr. Brown Records (1980).

Westside Lockers - Fuchsia Rayon/Song For America (S. O'Neil)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who's Your Mama?

Here are a couple of singles that came out of Knoxville recording landmark Big Mama Studios.

First up is the Walker Brothers with their 1978 country-influenced single "I Never Meant To Love You/ Too Much Lovin' (both written by Tim Barrus).

Walker Brothers

Next up is the R&B sound of Player's Choice and their single "Message In The Music/Message In The Music (Instrumental)" (written by Jan Lomax). No date on this one, but based on the label artwork it's likely somewhat later than the Waters Brothers disc.

Players Choice

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What's New, Man?

I met Chris Newman back in the summer of '80 or '81 (it's all starting to blur together) when he and I (and his brother Jeff) all worked as ride operators for the log flume at Silver Dollar City (soon to become Dollywood). At that time Chris wanted to be an R & B singer. We kept in contact (the two brothers played on my rec league basketball team for a couple of seasons) and a couple of years later Chris asked me if I would help him record some demos. He showed up at my house with a handful of country songs that he wanted to record (so I sent the Motown rhythm section home). Using the sound on sound function of my Teac reel to reel we put together a 4 or 5 song demo tape for Chris to use to shop for gigs, etc. At some point circa '85 or '86 I played one of the songs on my Blast From The Past show on WUTK-FM (I claimed it was a lost Byrds-era country-rock hybrid).

I got kind of musically busy by the mid 80's and only sporadically had contact with Chris. Eventually we ran nto each other and he slipped me a cassette and this single. Chris had hooked up with Nashville gospel producer Joel Gentry and his Skylite label to create a series of southern-style gospel recordings.

I can't find the cassette any more, but I recently uncovered a stash of local 45s, including this one from Chris. To my ears, the A side is the uptempo winner. The B side is good as well, but marred by the anti-science/anti-evolution portion of the lyrics (as well as a weird vocal tic that I have never heard him use on any other recording. Maybe it's something that his producer suggested).

Chris, if you're out there, gimme a shout!

Chris Newman - Singin' Shoutin' Praises To The Lord/Undivided Attention

Friday, April 08, 2011

Inside Youth Culture

I have to confess - I have no idea who the band (86) is on this single from 1984. None of the names of the songwriters (Koshewa, McNeilly, Schenk) rings a bell. They are published by Bent Music (ASCAP).

This is release number three from OHP Records. The sound is a little muddy (maybe a cassette four track?) - I broke my own blog rule and applied a little EQ to it to try to make it more listenable.

86 - Youth Culture b/w Inside

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

More inanimate object love

Here's another in the "early Knoxville alternative music 7" record" series.

The Manboys appear to be three brothers (or perhaps just three guys selected for the band because they have the last name): Nathan, Bill, and James Dungan. Hector Qirko produced the single which was released in 1982 as OHP001 on OHP Records of Knoxville, TN (more from OHP in later posts). The B side is my winner on this disc - a fast ska tune that is an ode to a postage stamp.

The Manboys - Waiting in the Wings/You're a Stamp

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Video killed the, 45 RPM star?

I first encountered the excellent song "Stop Sign" on WIMZ-FM's Waves show hosted by Jeff Huggins (I still have the cassette somewhere) but I didn't realize that it was by a local band until I stumbled across the 45 a couple of years later (likely at WUTK-FM). Even later I discovered a second single/EP by the band. The five songs on two discs show an interesting blend of (or perhaps struggle between) the nascent New Wave and artier prog-rock stylings (similar to artists like Roxy Music and 801).

I only know for certain one of the members of the band, but the names listed as songwriters on the five tracks are P(aul) Jones, J Davis, K Daverman, and D Griffith. No dates are listed, but this is very early 1980s. Recorded at Big Mama's Studios in Knoxville.

Video - singles

Stop Sign
Prelude To Dreams
My Mind
Blue Jean Censors

Edit, with input from the band.

Around 1978, Brian Waldschalger (Five Twins, Wh Wh, Dirtclods, Boogie Disease), Shannon Stanfield (Five Twins, The Clintons), Scott Hodges and I [Jeff Davis] formed a band called The Imposters. (Had more summers than I can recall - Spinal Tap syndrome I suppose ). We opened for Balboa several times as we were all from the stable of musicians that Terry Hill and Hector Qirko so often took under their wing. We played anywhere that would have us but mostly Bundulees on the strip.

After a year or so the band broke up and we all started out own (Brian and Shannon, of course, formed the Twins at this point). I was a big fan of The Cars at the time (their first album had just been released). I was looking for some unique and creative musicians to experiment with new music.

I was talking band names with a friend (who later was an original member of Video, Guy Heaton) and I landed on "Video" because (remember, this is around 1980) Video rental stores and video games were just coming around and I wanted the band to be really visually focused as well as musically, but also I hoped whenever someone saw the word "Video" it would make them think of the band. Marketing. Haha.

Original members were myself [Jeff Davis], Guy, Dwight Valentine on drums, and a guitarist/songwriter/vocalist that Terry Hill hooked me up with named Kurt Daverman. I don't recall the name of our first keyboardist but I remember he had a synthesizer and had mastered both "helicopter" and "wind".

After a few months Dwight left and Scott Billingsley became our new drummer and the keyboardist was replaced by Paul Jones. We also added an additional guitarist/songwriter/vocalist named David Griffith.

As far as venues goes, man, talk about community. The strip was like our own "Haight-Ashbury". Any given weekend, The Five Twins, The Real Hostages (Todd Steed), Turbine 44, Teenage Love, Video and later, Smokin' Dave would all be opening for each other or coming to each other's shows. Mostly that glorious attic, Bundulees but also places like Hobos, Ella Gurus, etc.

As far as "Where are They Now", I've not seen some of these guys in many a year but have been blessed enough to see others as recently as within the last year or two.

Dwight Valentine: still lives in k-ville but no longer plays. We actually go to the same church.
Guy Heaton: Spoke about 22-23 years ago and at that time was wanting to get into the rodeo circuit.
Food City Keyboard Guy: ???
Kurt Daverman: Kurt was simply brilliant. I think he's a professor or something like that out of state.
David Griffith: Last time I talked with David he had his wife and child in his car headed to California but that was around '83. A mutual friend told me recently she had caught up with him and that he's well.
Scott Billingsley: Still tearing it up with several bands including "The Royal Hounds" and "The Parrot Brothers Band." Caught up a few years back and, though he has several other kits, still has the "Video" Slingerland kit. :-)
Paul Jones: Paul was a stinking prodigy. If you watch much tv you have probably heard his stuff. He has started a few very successful music companies (Zippytunes and currently Auralation Music) and has scored countless television series among others. For several years Paul has been the worship pastor at Cokesbury United Methodist here in Knoxville and does work with the Knoxville Children's Theatre.
Me? [Jeff Davis] After doing everything from stand-up comedy, DJ-ing and some acting (while holding down countless "real" jobs), I was called into worship ministry myself around '96 and went into full time music ministry in '02 and am serving at Grace Baptist in Karns. Happily married since 1988 and have two daughters both beautiful and creative.

Sorry if it's too much but I actually got a kick out of thinking back to these guys and these memories again.