Friday, December 30, 2011

Texas Thunder Soul 1968 - 1974

by Kashmere Stage Band

Listening to this stuff, you would never come to the conclusion that you are hearing a high school band, unless you read the liner notes.  The Kashmere Stage Band was the greatest high school band in America for a number of years running starting in 1972, when they started winning national competitions.

The band was directed by Conrad O. 'Prof' Johnson, who passed away a few years ago. Eothen 'Egon' Alapatt, who runs Now-Again Records, met Johnson a few times, and made arrangements to put together this excellent package, which includes two CDs and a DVD made up of a documentary about the band, a live TV performance from the 70s, and some footage of Egon going through mountains of records in Johnson's home, which was scheduled for demolition.

Just as he did with his True Soul albums of this year, Egon has preserved some amazing recordings, and made them available to a wider audience than they ever were before.  This band is fantastic.  They cover a lot of the massive funk pieces of their day - 'Do Your Thing', 'Thank You', 'Shaft', 'Burning Spear', among others, but they really kill it on their own piece, 'Kashmere'.

The first disc consists of recordings that Johnson made, most of which he released through his own label, but there are some previously unreleased gems here too.  The second disc has live recordings, none of which had been released before.

This is the type of project that really appeals to collectors, but the first disc on its own is an excellent window into a time when schools and parents valued musical education (and funded it).  It's a great album.

No comments: