The Rainmakers

Mercury, 1987

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


First thought: Really? I’ve NEVER reviewed this album?

I’m going to let you know up front; this is a desert island disc for me. A required part of my collection. A CD I’ve now replaced twice.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Rainmakers, a group of fresh-faced lads out of Kansas, were so far ahead of their time they were almost behind the times. They were alt-country before the name existed; the only band similar that predates them was the Jayhawks, and that’s by about six months. As to why they never were big… the music industry rewards mediocrity and imbeciles. That said…

Tornado was their second album, and it kicks off with lead singer Bob Walkenhorst’s sly, Luciferian lyric:

    “This is the lion’s den,
    I hope you knew that before you came in…
    This is where the angels and the devils fight,
    And they’re choosing up sides tonight…”

And at that point, ladies, gents, and others, we are OFF.

The Rainmakers sound like old-fashioned country, but their lyrical content is straight-up snark, commentary, and wry observance. They hit religion (“Wages Of Sin”), love (“No Romance”), and crazy homeless people who live in the woods (“The Lakeview Man”). Every single track is a gem, and every single track hits the target straight on. Lead guitarist Steve Phillips is a model of restraint, but when the song calls for some wild licks he is in there swinging with the best of them. Production is tight, clean, and simple. In short, this is a great album.

If you like alt-country, Americana, country-rock, or clever lyrical content, you owe yourself to check out Tornado. It’s an underappreciated American original.

Rating: A

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