Friday, February 16, 2018

More Life: From Ideas to Empires!

Just when I thought I had uncovered every vinyl genre, produced in Colorado, along comes this seven-record, self development set (packaged in a handsome brown vinyl case), promising me "More Life."

Ironically, I discovered "More Life" at an estate sale. That noted, who wouldn't want to bust open this case to find out its secrets?

More Life was produced in 1970, by Growth Unlimited, whose location was listed in a W. Fillmore Street strip mall (home now to a tattoo parlor, insurance company, and vape shop). The set lists one Winston Parker, as president.

Each single offers tips on how the listener can be more successful in work ("... guarantee a secure future and retirement, if you never earn more than $5,000 per year") and life ("Your life is what your thoughts make it"). The set was recorded at KCMS studios, in Manitou Springs, and narrated by Lee Weeks.

Is it just me, or does this sound much, much earlier than 1970?

Grow Unlimited boasts a bit of moxie, regarding its credentials ("...years of research from the most trusted laboratory in the world - the Laboratory of Practical Experience"), but who am I to judge "years of research?"

Winston Parker left Colorado, and moved south, several years ago - presumably to follow his own advice, to enjoy more life.

Back on campus...

Earlier this month, I found myself back on the campus of my alma mater. It was one of those surreal moments, which brought back a flood of memories (which seem to get fuzzier as one ages). Being the record collector that I am, it also got me wondering if my old school put out any vinyl recordings.

I had written about one, several years back, but the recent trip back on campus renewed my interest in this project.

First off, I attended the University of Southern Colorado, which went through three name changes (Southern Colorado Junior College, Pueblo Junior College, and Southern Colorado State College) before it got to good ol' USC. It's now known as Colorado State University-Pueblo. Hopefully that name will stick.

It was during the Southern Colorado State College years (1963-1975), which resulted in a couple (that I know of) vinyl recordings. These were formal affairs, my guess to appeal to middle-aged donors, or to put the minds of moms and dads at ease, that their children were really being studious.

Under the direction of Ralph Levy, the 1967-68 performance of the college concert band consisted of works by Haydn, Tschaikowsky, Holst, Nelhýbel, and Roncal.

The following year, the group performed selections by Bach, Wagner, Kabelebsky, Norman Dello Joio, and William Francis McBeth. With respect to the student musicians on these albums, one has to wonder if, given the era of which they were recorded, they were hoping to let loose on "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." My mind tends to digress on these matters.

Of course, if anyone finds any other LPs from my old school, I would love to post them.

Ralph Levy passed away in 2007, and is buried in Walsenburg. His obituary shared that his motto in life was "Love music, practice diligently."