Friday, December 8, 2017

Willie Nelson, Durango-style

Most of you know I spent a good chunk of my life in Austin, TX, before moving back to Colorado, in 2015. While in the Lone Star State, I filled my ears with Robert Earl Keen, Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Bob Schneider, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, etc... I won't lie, I do miss being around that wealth of music (and good Mexican food). 

Of course, you can't call yourself a true resident of A-Town without genuflecting to one musical name in particular, Willie Nelson. In Austin, the man walks on Town Lake. A street is named after him, a statue has been erected, and no doubt, when he passes, the city will lower flags at half staff. 

So, imagine my shock when I discovered a Colorado-related Willie Nelson LP. An album so bizarre, you'd swear it was made aboard his beloved bus, while enjoying the braided one's favorite ground herb. I literally have no clue how the idea for this recording was even conceived.  

Released on the Soundmark label, out of Denver, Willie Nelson Family Album is credited as coming from the brain matter of The Sandpiper Agency, out of Durango. Willie Nelson voices a portion of the disc, with a biographical account of his life and career - through spoken word and song.

The album starts off with an intro from an unknown narrator, which segues into the same intro heard on his 1971 album, Yesterday's Wine - give a listen.

Side One:
Let Me Be a Man
Family Bible
Summer of Roses
Hello Walls
Crazy
Funny How Time Slips Away

Side Two:
I've Got a Wonderful Future Behind Me
Stay Away from Lonely Places
Remember the Good Times
Me and Paul
My Own Particular Way
Pick Up The Tempo
Heaven and Hell
December Day
Yesterday's Wine

Adding to the mystery is the large NOT FOR SALE - FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY across the back cover. So how many of these albums were pressed, and who received them? A quick Google search finds nada on "The Sandpiper Agency" of Durango, so that was a dead end.

The liner notes on the back offer absolutely no explanation:

This album is designed to guide the listener through the Willie Nelson Family Album in Willie's own words and music. The album is presented in four segments: Willie's early life in Texas, his first years in Nashville as a songwriter, the later years in Music City USA,  when his music and singing first became popular and his decision to move back to Texas, with a whole new sound.

As Patsy might say, "Crazy."



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lights, Camera, Action, Canon City: Blood on the Mountain

Hey all!
Yes, I'm still here.
So sorry I haven't been a very good blogger, over the past year (and a half). Got wrapped up in collecting and amassing CO vinyl, and have shirked the blog, in the process.

I can't guarantee I will be a regular poster, but darn it, I will try (grin).


I figure since I have been MIA, as of late, now would be a good time to post this recent find (as in I just found today), the soundtrack to the 1974 Canon City-filmed movie, Blood on the Mountain, and its soundtrack, performed entirely by the Minnesota family gospel group, the Lundstroms.

Fury explodes high above Royal Gorge in the spectacular Colorado mountains. A cop seeks revenge for his wife's death, on two fugitives who run for their lives. 

Oooohhhh, are you at the edge of your seat?

Blood on the Mountain was based around Canon City and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Shooting began in the late summer of 1973. The movie was originally titled  “The Hawk,” and took about five weeks to complete. In addition to shooting in various locations around town, and employing locals as background extras, Blood on the Mountain would also call for Canon City’s police to help out with the film’s chase scenes. The production of Blood on the Mountain reportedly cost $110,000  to make.

The film’s world premiere was held in Des Moines, Iowa (home of Mark IV productions), at the Hoyt Sherman Auditorium on April 25 1974.


So, what about the soundtrack? Lowell Lundstrom, who headed up the prolific Christian family group, the Lundstroms,  had a long relationship with the producers of this flick (Mark IV), and was hired to compose and perform Blood on the Mountain’s theme song A Fugitive from God.”

The LP appears on the prolific religious label, Canaan, out of Waco, TX (CAS-9756).

The movie features actors Stracker Edwards, Tim Jones, Paula Preston, Cliff Turknett, and Rick Jury - yeah, the cast didn't ring a bell with me, but a quick search on IMDB revealed that Stracker apparently was a one-and-done actor, after this movie. Paula Preston had roles in three other movies, including the John Denver 1986 holiday flick, Christmas Gift. Tim Jones had a bit part in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The star power came from Richard Jury, who appeared on I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, and Gunsmoke, and several other classic TV shows, as well as the movies Conagher, and One on One.