By Tommy Greene -- I can’t recall anyone, even within the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, ever calling Volker Park by its formal name, the Frank A. Theis Memorial Mall. Oh, the name certainly would have been in city documents and perhaps even appeared in The Kansas City Star when it was dedicated. But the area and its immediate environs were simply referred to by all as the name of its delightfully whimsical Volker Fountain situated on the site’s lowest ground. Perhaps with … [Read more...] about Where did the name ‘Volker Park’ come from?
Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley arguably represent the high point of Kansas City rock ‘n’ roll. True, they were and are folkies at heart. But Brewer & Shipley made major-label records with backing from the top rock musicians of the era. They played every venue in town, from the Vanguard coffee house to Cowtown Ballroom to Arrowhead Stadium (opening for Elton John). They helped foster the scene in other ways. Above all, their Top 10 hit from 1971, “One Toke Over the Line,” puts them at the top of the … [Read more...] about Golden greats: 50 years of Brewer & Shipley
Rhythm and blues, which is to say rock, music has no better friend in the Kansas City area than Chuck Haddix. If he were only the director of the Marr Sound Archives in the Miller Nichols Library on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, that would be a significant achievement in preserving our area’s music history. But since 1985, Haddix has devoted his Friday and Saturday nights to playing “the finest in blues, soul, rhythm and blues, jumping jive and zydeco” on the “Saturday Night … [Read more...] about Consider donating your KC rock history items
If the Classmen (clean-cut brothers, managed by their father) were Kansas City’s equivalent to the Beach Boys and the Chesmann its Beatles, Stone Wall could be likened to Kansas City’s Cream or Led Zeppelin. A power trio with roots in the blues, Stone Wall was led by singer-guitarist Allen Blasco in combination with three different rhythm sections (1968-76). As a young teen (1965-68), Blasco led The Clergymen, whose ever-changing array of musicians included Ray Goldsich, later to … [Read more...] about The heavy sounds of Stone Wall
The nostalgic triple bill coming up at Starlight Theatre on Friday, May 10 -- Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent -- made me wonder just how many times those three acts have collectively played Kansas City. The poster at left shows that promoter Chris Fritz presented two of the three groups – along with Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm – at Memorial Hall in the early ’70s. Nugent was still billed as leader of the Amboy Dukes then, just a few years after their Top 40 hit from 1968, "Journey to the … [Read more...] about Starlight memories
Kansas City amusement parks were often the site of rock concerts in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The tradition of "School's Out" concerts at Fairyland sponsored by Top 40 radio station WHB goes back farther than I realized in my earlier "World's Happiest Broadcasters" post. Those events took place in the early 1970s. I have since found a newspaper ad (above) from June 1965 touting such a show with Len Barry of "1-2-3" fame as the headliner. That song came out the following month on Decca Records … [Read more...] about Carney Rock