Monday, March 29, 2021

Heaton Junior High - Pueblo


Back in my hometown of Pueblo, for this 1966 find from Heaton Junior High School. Go Hawks!

Finding this record was a surprise, as I thought I had pretty much amassed every record ever recorded there. I have deep roots in the Belmont area of Pueblo. I grew up about a mile from Heaton, graduated from East High, and attended the (then) University of Southern Colorado, "down the street." Mom still lives in the same "off Constitution" house. So yeah, if I'm a bit biased toward the Steel City, I'll own up to it.

This is the first record I have ever found from my neighborhood junior high school. As is typical of these school recordings, it's filled with standard choir-type "safe" songs ("Lady of Spain," "Three Coins in a Fountain," etc...). Given the year, I have expected to find some Beatles covers, but I was denied. 

That said, the kids really get to belt it out on a well-known Kingston Trio standard.

Listen to "Greenback Dollar"

The record was released on the prolific RPC / Recorded Publications Company label (Y-90891/2) The ninth grade chorus and boys' glee groups were directed by Kenneth Butcher. Pat Cranmer and Julie Gould are credited as the pianists. 

Heaton Junior High School Varsity Band (1966) - Century 23673

Heaton also released a full LP, that same year. The album was recorded live at the Colorado Music Educators' Association Convention. The music was conducted by Emmett J. Hoolihan, who had previously been a band instructor, in the Cripple Creek school district. I found a 1965 newspaper article that mentioned that he "had just moved to Pueblo."

Monday, March 22, 2021

Trikk is Back!


Trikk (2021):
Eddie Adkins (guitar/vocals), Lorenzo "Foot" Payton (drums), Heather Martinez (keyboards/vocals), Al Martinez (guitar/vocals), David Copeland (bass/vocals)

NOTE: For more on the history of the band, please see my 2012 interview with Al Martinez.

If the 2021 version of the Colorado Springs-based band Trikk sounds like the 1988 version, co-founder Al Martinez says it's by design. 

"The new Trikk sound is influenced greatly by the music of the 1970s and 1980s. We have been accused of being stuck in a time warp."

Fans of the group, which officially broke up in 2000, will finally get to relive the blend of soulful rhythm and rock/funk guitar vibes, as their first album release in 33 years, Are You Ready will be out March 31. 

The teaser video for a song off the new album, "Ain't That Kinda Party" was released March 7 
(Facebook link)

While Trikk may have been out of the limelight for more than two decades, the band's sound has always been sought after. The group's one and only album, the 1988 Never Say Never has commanded upwards of $100 for a copy. For those without deep pockets to afford the original, the recording is being re-released, with four bonus tracks.  

Al started thinking about getting the band back together, around 2013, after the sudden passing of Trikk lead singer, Lyndon Copeland, who had joined in 1998.

"My wife Heather and I had been working on a five song EP for our group Mookie and the Professor," he said. "I called David [Lyndon's brother and Trikk's bass player] and he really had no interest in getting the group back together."

Undeterred, Al flew back to Colorado Springs (from his home in California), set up a studio in his brother's house, and recorded the song "Say A Prayer," (Facebook link) for David, as a way to deal with his loss. 

"Getting the group back together was mostly a personal thing." Martinez said. "David was really hurting with the passing of Lyndon, and I felt helpless. My spirit told me to stop what I was doing, and help."

Eventually David agrees to get back together with Trikk, and by 2017 discussions are underway for a band reunion. Martinez brings on drummer Lorenzo "Foot" Payton, who replaced original Trikk drummer (and Al's brother) Mark Martinez. He also included Eddie Adkins ("Ed e’ Ito") who, along with David were part of the 1988 Trikk "live band."

The tragedy hit again.

"I was flying back to Colorado Springs, every eight weeks, to rehearse. Then Patrick Smith [Trikk's original lead singer] passed away, from cancer. 

Not knowing what to do, Al didn't have to look too far for an additional member.

"My wife was previously in the Springs-based group VIP, and of course, we were doing our thing with Mookie and the Professor, so it just seemed natural that she be a part of Trikk."

Trikk hopes to be back on the road soon, first with pop-up performances to promote the new album, then later with summer festivals and events, as COVID-19 recovery progresses.

Trikk social media links:
Facebook: Trikk USA  / Instagram: Trikk_USA

Monday, March 15, 2021

"Rock and roll and beer don't mix" - Barry Fey

Yes, he really did say that.

On Jan. 31, 1984, Black Sabbath was set to play McNichols Sports Arena. But thanks (partially) to Genesis, the crowd would be watching sans beer.

It was at that Genesis show, held Jan. 17, that several teenagers came home drunk, allegedly from drinking beer, served at the venue. Parents pitched a fit to city and state officials, who immediately told the Denver Post, that beer would only be served at concerts where an expected number of attendees would be adults.  

A bit of a back story: In 1984, the enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act prompted states to raise their legal age for purchase or public possession of alcohol to 21, or risk losing millions in federal highway funds. Colorado finally acquiesced in 1987.

Where does Barry Fey come in?

Barry Fey (1938 – April 28, 2013) was the promoter for pretty much every big name concert to come through the Mile High City, including the Black Sabbath show. His history is legendary.  On December 26, 1968 Fey promoted the first Led Zeppelin show in the United States. In June 1969, Feyline presented the three day Denver Pop Festival, which featured the final performance of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1976 Fey's company Feyline started his Summer of Stars concert series at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  In 1983 Fey, Chris Blackwell, and U2 produced the U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky concert film.

According to the Denver Post article, while beer had been sold at other recent Fey-produced events (Willie Nelson and Diana Ross) Fey said the Black Sabbath show would attract many younger teenagers, and agreed with the city's decision not to sell beer at the event.

"Under no conditions should beer be sold," he said. "Categorically, rock and roll and beer don't mix."

The Black Sabbath concert would also be missing another component - Ozzy Osbourne. It would be the only tour to feature former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan on lead vocals. The Born Again tour included a giant set of the Stonehenge monument. In a move later parodied in the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, the band made a mistake in ordering the set piece. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler explained:

"We had Sharon Osbourne's dad, Don Arden, managing us. He came up with the idea of having the stage set be Stonehenge. He wrote the dimensions down and gave it to our tour manager. He wrote it down in metres but he meant to write it down in feet. The people who made it saw fifteen metres instead of fifteen feet. It was 45 feet high and it wouldn't fit on any stage anywhere so we just had to leave it in the storage area. It cost a fortune to make but there was not a building on earth that you could fit it into."

Here's where it gets fuzzy - according to the Black Sabbath concert archives, the show was moved from Big Mac to the University of Denver arena. I couldn't find any stories related to the change of venue. If you attended, I would love to learn more.

Black Sabbath 1984 concert T-shirt

Set list: 
Supertzar / Neon Knights
Hot Line
War Pigs
Rock 'n' Roll Doctor
Black Sabbath
The Dark
Zero the Hero
Heaven and Hell
Guitar Solo
Digital Bitch
Iron Man
Children of the Grave
Smoke on the Water

Monday, March 8, 2021

1953 Interview with Denver K2 Mountain Climber Dr. Jack Durrance (KOA Radio)

Jack Durrance

On March 10, 1953 Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary set out to attempt the first ascent of Mount Everest, the highest elevation mountain in the world (29,032 ft). They successfully did so, on May 29.

The story made international news, and was especially of interest to Dr. Jack Durance, a 41-year-old Denver pulmonary physician, who was part of the Karakoram Expedition's attempt to summit K2 (the second tallest mountain in the world - 28,251 ft.), in 1939, at the age of 27. While he was unsuccessful at making it to the top of K2, he did summit the Grand Teton Exum Ridge, West Face, and North Face (later known as the "Durrance Route" on Devils Tower). 

In an effort to get a local angle to the Hillary story, KOA radio tracked down Dr. Durrance, who agreed to an interview with Starr Yelland.

(I found this record at a Denver estate sale. I assumed it was a production disc for WFAA in Dallas  - based on the label - until I turned it over and played the unlabeled flip side.  Notice the "Doc Durrance" reference. Incredible find).

 Listen to the KOA interview with Dr. Durrance (7:40)

Durrance became involved in controversy after four members of his K2 expedition died and the expedition leader, Fritz Wiessner, blamed Durrance. A book seeking to shed light on the event, K2: The 1939 Tragedy, was published in 1993. The authors, William Putnam, a former president of the Alpine Club, and Andy Kauffman, a former director, relied on a Durrance diary that surfaced for the first time fifty years after the event to place responsibility for the deaths on Wiessner. Ed Viesturs, in his book K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, revisits all the available documentation and suggest instead that the unplanned decision to decommission all lower camps played a major role in the tragedy. During the 1939 climb, Durrance saved the life of Chap Cranmer who was suffering from pulmonary edema. 

Durrance died on November 7, 2003, at the age of 91. Climbing magazine called him "one of the best American climbers of the late 1930s and early ’40s."  

Starr Yelland later moved from KOA to KLZ, where he covered all sports including play by play coverage of the University of Colorado Buffaloes football for 28 years. He also was a news anchor for KLZ and later KMGH-TV. He died in 1994. In 2006 he was an inductee in the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. 



Monday, March 1, 2021

National Peanut Butter Lovers Day - Colorado Style


Who knew that there was a day dedicated to the lovers of all things peanut butter?  Not to be confused with National Peanut Butter Day (held January 24 ), National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, held every March 1, first made its appearance in 1990, commemorating the anniversary of when peanut butter made its commercial debut in the United States (I sense some overlapping of the two similar commemorations, but who am I to judge peanut butter lovers?).

 Fun Peanut Butter Facts:

 - It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. 
 - C.H. Sumner first sold peanut butter in the United States at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis. 
 - Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was introduced to America in 1928. 
 - Mr. Ed TV’s used peanut butter as a secret ingredient to get a horse talking. 
 - Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.

Whether your preference is chunky or smooth, let's celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Day with a selection of songs performed by Colorado singers and bands.

House of Joy Children's Choir - "Peanut Butter and Jelly"

"Peanut Butter and Jelly" was recorded in 1983 by Carolyn Vinson and the House of Joy Children's Choir. The single includes includes Vinson on lead vocals, Ralph Beechum on bass, drummer Roger Williams, Elmus High on saxophone, and Kenny Jones on keyboards and vocals. It was recorded at Faith Tape Ministry. Dr. Carolyn, as she is known, was a newspaper columnist and radio personality in Denver. She grew up in the church,  The House of Joy, which was pastored by her father. She was the youth leader, psalmist, church organist, and founder of the House of Joy Children’s Choir.  “Peanut Butter & Jelly” would later be recorded by the Truthettes on the Malaco Record label (YouTube link). She is currently serving at the Highpoint Christian Tabernacle, in Smyrna, Georgia.

City Limits - "Peanut Butter Conspiracy"

"Peanut Butter Conspiracy" was recorded in 1976, live at the Oxford Hotel, Denver. City Limits included the trio of Mary Stribling (later of the Mother Folkers), Lynn Morris (later Lynn Morris Band) and Pat Rossiter (later with Timothy P. Irvin and Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffers) . The LP was released on the Biscuit City label, and produced by Jim Ransom.


Crystal Palace - "Peanut Butter Affair"

"Peanut Butter Affair" was recorded at the Crystal Palace, in Aspen, and appears on both the LPs Postprandial Delights and 22 Years of the Crystal Palace. The song was written by Clark Gesner, known for composing the 1967 musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The song is performed by Mead Metcalf who, according to the Rocky Mountain News, "spent almost one complete month of his life performing his trademark song, about 8,000 times." In April 2008, after 51 years in business, the Crystal Palace closed.