Monday, May 2, 2016

Earth Day courtesy of Dick Lamm

Hey all, given that today is Earth Day, I thought I would dig out this very obscure ecology recording, featuring then-Colorado House of Representative, and later Colorado Governor, Richard Lamm.

Elected in 1964, Lamm was an early leader of the environmental movement, and was President of the First National Conference on Population and the Environment. In 1972, as a member of the Colorado General Assembly, Lamm led the movement against Denver's hosting of the 1976 Winter Olympics. Denver had already been awarded the games, but the movement succeeded in cutting off public funding for the games, forcing the city to cancel its hosting. Innsbruck, Austria replaced Denver as the host. Lamm's successful effort made him known statewide.

He was elected governor in 1974.

 In 1984, his outspoken statements in support of physician-assisted suicide generated controversy, specifically over his use of the phrase "we have a duty to die."  His dire predictions for the future of social security and health care ("duty to die") earned him the nickname "Governor Gloom."

No clue when this LP was produced (pressed on the Ecology label).  According to a 1975 Billboard article, Lamm said the LP was used as a fundraiser for his legislative campaign, so it was released before 1974. Besides the spoken word numbers, narrated by Lamm, there are a few lo-fi folk songs by Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductee Harry Tuft, plus Dick Weissman, Ed Trickett, and Jan Hannah (her first vinyl appearance) and includes a cover of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall."


Lamm was elected Colorado governor three times. When he left office in 1987, after three terms and twelve years in the office, he was the longest-serving governor in state history (his successor, Roy Romer, matched this record).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Black Canyon Gang - Ridin' High

Yeah, yeah, it's 4/20 and everyone is diggin' out their stoner songs...

Thought I would play one from the fantastic mellow Colorado country LP, Ridin' High "(featuring the finest in Colorado Country head music)," from the Black Canyon Gang.

(yes, that's how Acapulco is spelled in the title--
no need to send me a typo correction)

The Black Canyon Gang (Montrose/Olathe area brothers, Bill Bland Austin and Russell Austin, Robert Dale Mount, Bart Lyons and Paul Hunter) signed on with promoter Dick Woods, who worked extensively with Gladys Hart, the Colorado country music promotions queen. According to a 1975 issue of Billboard, Woods purchased Mountain Records from Ethel and Steve Mengee. The story goes on to report that Woods also signed Mike Bowman and Dick Kerns to his new label, along with the Black Canyon Gang. The LP was recorded at Viking Studios, in Denver.

In 1974, the band was on the bill for the first annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Categorized as singer/songwriter "hippybilly," the Black Canyon Gang made a resurgence this year, when the band's song "Lonesome City" appeared on the Numero Group compilation, Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music.

According to the liner notes: "The Black Canyon Gang were a group of farm hands who simply enjoyed making music together: “The boys spent afternoons playing music, hunting rodents, drinking beer and smoking herb." As Black Canyon Gang vocalist and electric guitarist Russell Austin reflects on that decade, he recalls, “Apathy was everywhere. We gave a generation of weary downtrodden youth hope. It actually brought hippies, rednecks, bikers, warriors and regular people together … We were trying to make it through a rough time in history and help as many people as we could. And it worked.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rec-O-Tour Presents The Denver Mountain Parks

Narrated by B. Lee Pace, and accompanied by the organ of Alvyra Tuttle, I could have sworn this 1951 recording is much older, given the production.  Mr. Pace was a veteran Colorado Springs newspaperman and secretary to former Governor E . C . Johnson. According to an Internet search: "He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and for more than 30 years was news editor of tho Colorado Springs News, a weekly farm publication. He later was a columnist and news writer for the daily Free Press in that city."

Alvyra Tuttle was apparently a local organist in the Springs. She passed away in 2004.

Rec-O-Tour released a few other recordings, all written by Elizabeth Jane Shafer, who was a member of the advertising staff of the Colorado Springs News, and a continuity writer for KVOR radio.

The records were shipped with "Kodachrome slides," to accompany the recording as a complete audio/visual presentation.

Rec-O-Tour Discography:

The Cave of the Winds (1948)
The Garden of the Gods (1948)
Seven Falls and South Cheyenne CaƱon (1948)
Pikes Peak (1948)
Carlsbad Caverns (1949)
Denver Mountain Parks (1951)