Bald Eagle Moan
Bald Eagle Moan by Smoke Blues Band Bastille Family Records After a wait of more than thirty years, the music of one of Utah's premiere bands from the tumultuous era of the 1960's is finally released on compact disk. Smoke Blues Band was born in 1967 when several young musicians living near the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City joined together to play the music which they loved, which was the blues. They felt that the majority of the main progressive rock bands of the day had contaminated and diluted this most basic American music, and they wanted to get back into 'playing the real thing in it's pure form.' Back then, Salt Lake City boasted a surprising number of good bands, including groups like Holden Caulfield, Chump Change, Wood, and The War of Armageddon. But while other bands tried to outdo each other in emulating the new psychedelic sounds and 'be hip', the members of Smoke were turning on to the latest blues recordings coming out of Chicago. Their heroes were artists like Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and Charlie Musselwhite. As such, they began to play their blues music almost as a reaction to the overblown, often blues-tinged offerings of the new rock bands of the late '60's like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & The Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane. Salt Lake City, by it's very geography, became a significant performance outpost for these new bands as they began to reach out across the country to promote their recordings and achieve national recognition. And Smoke Blues Band, recognized as one of the mainstays on the local contemporary music scene, was often booked to open for these touring groups. Nevertheless, Smoke's heyday was brief, stretching from 1967 to 1970. During those years, the band went through periods of alternating activity and dormancy, with the occasional breaks sometimes accompanied by change of personnel. The original lineup included: Richard Cordray, vocals; James Warburton and Mark Richmond, guitars; Pete Brandt, harmonica; John Miller, bass; Jerome Mische, piano; and Brian Allred, aka 'Rotis', on drums. Early on, Warburton left, and later on, Rotis was replaced by Steve Harris on Drums. Jack Brady originally had been the group's manager, but eventually played alto sax as well. And still later, Gary Soeffker came aboard to play slide guitar. They built themselves a loyal local following, and their performances at the Abyssie, the Union Ballroom, the Fairgrounds Coliseum, Rotary Glen, the Old Mill and other venues are fondly remembered by many who lived along the Wasatch Front back then. But with the passage of time, those memories have grown more distant. The release of this compact disk, then, is meant to resurrect the memory of the group and a time that is now past. The surviving recordings were made for the moment and as such, were never intended to be commercially released. However, they are all that we have to recall those wonderful times. As such, Bald Eagle Moan preserves a small but significant piece of Utah history. Regardless, the listener will be surprised to hear the music and discover that these recordings retain their vitality even after waiting more than a generation to be released. The first 15 tracks on the CD come from a recording session which took place in the ITV studios on the campus of the University of Utah. In addition, there are several other songs included from other sources, including a fragmentary live recording done in the classic 'rave up' style common at rock concerts in the 1960's. The CD also includes a 20-page booklet complete with vintage band photos and reproductions of poster art relating to Smoke Blues Band's performances, as well as in-depth liner notes describing the band's history and facts behind the recordings. Bastille Family Records is proud to make this recording of Smoke Blues Band available at last in local record stores such as Salt City CDs and Randys Records, Ken Sanders Rare Books, and on the web at CDBaby.com.