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
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
Stan Plesser, who died Sept. 1 at age 79, arguably did more to foster the pop music scene in Kansas City than any other single person. From 1963 to 1971, his Vanguard Coffeehouse, 4305 Main St., brought the stars and semi-stars of the folk movement to midtown. His subsequent (1971-74) Cowtown Ballroom, 3101 Gillham Plaza, and Good Karma Productions not only brought rock’s brightest stars to shine on local kids like me, but they gave Kansas City such gravitational pull that artists from … [Read more...] about The passion of Stan Plesser
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