We Found a 36-Year-Old KDKB Local Compilation -- Here's What We Thought Of It

Categories: Up on the Sun

arizona sounds2.jpg
Doing some crate digging at Tracks in Wax, I uncovered a rather strange relic: an album showcasing local music. The cover was a faded license plate with the words Arizona Sounds Vol. 1, sponsored by KDKB 93.3 FM. It was printed in 1977.

As a Phoenix native, I've always had an interest in this sprawling metropolitan's weird history, so finding a dusty record with 12 local artists from yesteryear (none of whom I've heard of before) really piqued my interest. Thankfully, short blurbs about each artist were printed on the back of record, as Wikipedia and Google weren't very helpful. It reads, "KDKB radio has always taken an interest in local artists featuring their music both on tape and in live "on the air" broadcasts." I find that strange, since they obviously don't do much of that now. You can read the whole transcription here but otherwise there is little to no information on these bands online. Let's break this album down and dive into a little of vintage Arizona, shall we?

See also:

-100 Years of Music That Defined Arizona
-Kimber Lanning on Sleepwalker's "Out of Here" (1998)
-Howe Gelb on Rainer's "One Man Crusade" (1994), "The Inner Flame" (1997), and "The Farm" (2002)
-Sara Cina on the Gin Blossoms' "Found Out About You" (1989)

Side One

Early Peas - "Long Day"

This is very Neil Young, with plenty of soothing guitar textures. File this under easy listening. The bio on the back simply says: "From the land of low riders and green chile come Early Peas -- previously known as Chuck Cutter and Mark Meyers."

Custer's Last Band - "Crazy Bass"

This might not surprise you, but there are a lot of country influences on this album and that dichotomy of rock n' roll versus western standards clearly shows. "I had a friend who lost his mind," lead singer Skip Reichert says by, "playing country music all the time." The rest of the story goes that the young, crazy bass player went on to be a successful musician in Nashville, living on a farm, that whole spiel. It's interesting to think how country was once more mainstream and going against that might mean your band didn't succeed.

Shep Cooke - "Roller Coaster Ride"

Let me be flat-out honest with you -- this song is awful, filled with terrible, boastful metaphors, boring guitar, and Shep Cooke's creaky voice. And I actually feel comfortable saying that, because it appears that unlike many other bands included in this list, Cooke had a moderately successful career -- he appeared on Johnny Carson's show, and he lent some guitar, vocal work, and toured with Tom Waits. Most of all, he tenured in the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt, but I had one of Ronstadt's records and hated that too. A few duds were to be expected on a record like this, so let's just move on.

The Bob Meighan Band - "From Who"

The Neil Young impersonations are really thick on this album. That's not such a bad thing. I could listen to this on summer evenings.

Joe Bethancourt - "Snakes and Cactus"

Ol' Joe introduces this song by listing the subject matter: snakes, cactus, 40 miles of bad road, one Gila monster, a sign shot through with holes and other images of the Southwest before it was domesticated into endless suburban sprawl. But before Joe starts his song, he mentions it doesn't have any words. Heh. It bursts into dueling banjoes.

I love how Bethancourt describes his music: "He's mainly into what could be called progressive mountain music, or perhaps " 'The Gonzo' of mountain music." Given that he predated "post-rock" by a few decades, he might have been onto something.

Fairweather - "'46 Plymouth Rag"

This is a song about a car. It's not even a nice car, but some junky old thing that, by the way, the record tells me is currently running. Or was. I doubt it's even in a junkyard anymore. It was probably recycled into an aluminum can or something.
It's not a bad song, but I can't think of a lot of vehicle tunes that really move me. It's interesting that Fairweather says "shit" on this song. Not sure how that made it past the censors. Another interesting thing is the language used on these albums, like calling metro Phoenix "Summerland." You don't hear that one very often.


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20 comments
River Jones
River Jones

KDKB ((ROCKS ARIZONAAAA)) *Robot voice*

Jeff Taylor
Jeff Taylor

Me too! Some interesting tunes on this one..

dbliss53
dbliss53

The Malapai Inn in Showlow????

dbliss53
dbliss53

We lived next door to a DPS officer up on 35th Ave & T-Bird back in the day.  Every night or two we would go put a KDKB bumper sticker on the  back of his unmarked car.  Every night or two it would be gone...so we kindly replaced it for him.  The Beans down at Brophy High School; The Crystal Palace at Xavier; The Red White & Blues Band at Cortez High;  I was the captain of the Bill Compton Swim Team; that was before Compton Terrace.  Oh yeah and Joe Bethancourt at some sandwich shop on 7th or 19th Ave north of Bethany.  BBBBBBrrrrrrrrr

debracadabra
debracadabra

I remember the day KDKB appeared on the dial in place of KCAC.  KCAC was a short lived underground station that changed to a sports station.  KDKB was a true force in my life for many years. 

Shep Cooke played - bass, I think - with Dearly Beloved, a band out of Tucson who was just getting a following  in Phoenix.  I saw them at a club on Indian School, around 7th Street - Junior something club - in 1966.  (Alice Cooper played there as The Spiders, and later The Nazz.)  I was honored to have Shep hit on me, but too young to take him up on it.  Dearly Beloved's front man - sorry, I can't remember his name - was killed in a car wreck in 1967 and Shep went on to play with the Stone Poneys.

Fun times.

ttuerff@aol.com
ttuerff@aol.com

I find it hard to believe you've never heard of Joe Bethancourt or Hans Olson. How old are you? I do believe there was a total of three "Arizona Sounds" albums released, pretty much annually, This was the best, as it was the most diverse. (Plus, the second one included a song about having a KDKB bumper sticker on one's car -- a little bit of bribery there; and another song by one of the station's DJs at the time: "Put the Saddle on the Stove, Ma, I'm Riding the Range Tonight."  Really. 

Dusty Chaps went on to record two albums on Capitol that nobody bought, but are wonderful if you can find them. 

georgepacion
georgepacion

Thanks for revisiting this snapshot of Arizona in the mid 70's. You article mentioned Custer's Last Band who I was a member of. I have fond memories of the Old KDKB studios on Country Club Rd back when Bill Compton, Willard, Nina Joy, Toad Hall were the DJ's and very supportive of local music. My band used to go to the studio late at night after a gig and be interviewed. This was way before Twitter, Facebook, etc. A struggling local band finding a friend at a local radio station was a Godsend. The music scene in Arizona was hostle to many bands in those days. In Metro Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson a long haired band playing Roots Country Rock did well. Playing in the small towns was challenging. I remember rednecks in Show Low telling us our Country Rock was Acid Rock. No it wasn't Hank...   Gotta remember that disco and DJ's spinning discs was gaining traction at that time also. Custer's Last Band  and many others submitted a tape and the KDKB staff selected the song. "Crazy Bass" was not the song we hoped would be selected, but in retrospect it fits in the album theme nicely. We recorded the song in 1976 at Tangent Studios. We double tracked the vocals and lead guitar solo (just like the Beatles used to) I am still proud of my cranked Fender Telecaster squeal at the end of the song.

sybiletc
sybiletc

KDKB put one a year out for a while. But this was the best, i think,  Also I do remember parts of

"Keep your're hands off her stranger, she's with me. What you get ain't neccisarily what you see" (not to possitive on that wording)

PS : I was 12 when it came out. But my husband also knows most of the words to 46 Plymouth.

sybiletc
sybiletc

Oh my, I so want that album. I can sing the 46 plymouth song. "I drive a 1946 four door plymouth, she's great and she still runs good, Ain't too fast, but shes good on the gas....." Just wanted to say, this was just the first one KDKB put out. I remember this one song like it was yesterday. Thanks for a memory charge.

mdominy
mdominy

I still have this album, bought it new. A couple of years ago Hans came down to Sierra Vista to play at the Arizona Folklore Preserve and I got him to autograph it. Said he hadn't seen one in decades! Still some of the best music to come out of Arizona.

georgepacion
georgepacion

@dbliss53 Wow you guessed where the rednecks did not like Country Rock! The Hippie Music Gods eventually got even and the place burnt to the ground. LOL

Trinonymous
Trinonymous

@debracadabra The club was first called Stage 7, then the V.I.P. Sure were alot of teen clubs in those days.

dbliss53
dbliss53

@georgepacion @dbliss53 Yeah, I played there several times....downstairs in the "Rock Room"  Kuntry was upstairs....verrrrry interesting venue.  White Punks on KDKB.....

debracadabra
debracadabra

@Trinonymous @debracadabra 

Thanks! I needed that  ;*)   I think my brothers went to it as Stage 7 and I started going when it was the V.I.P.  I think the "junior" in my head was that it later became a Junior Achievement place?

Trinonymous
Trinonymous

@debracadabra @Trinonymous P.S., there's an old book that's still for sale on Amazon called "Yes, Phoenix Had Rock and Roll In the Sixties." It's not exactly a literary masterpiece, but for those few of us who lived through that time, it's an absolute kick!

Trinonymous
Trinonymous

@debracadabra @Trinonymous Junior Chamber of Commerce. I had forgotten about that, but what is it, 45,46 years ago now? I guess the place would've been leased from the junior chamber for weekends or something. The promoter was a guy named Jack-can't think of his last name.

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