jueves, 29 de noviembre de 2007

THE LEOPARDS - KANSAS CITY SLICKERS

Anyone within earshot of Rodney Bingenheimer´s KROQ show has been hearing "psychedelic boy" for a long time, and perhaps wondering who this mysterious band was, able to poke fun at the dedicated fashion-followers of the local paisley scene with a seemingly effortless light-hearted touch.

As a matter of fact, these LEOPARDS, have been around since at least 1978, when they released an LP and series of 45s on the MOON label, back in Kansas where they started out. It was favorably received, but a move to L.A. proved more frustrating than successful, and the Leopards have been laying low in recent years, only emerging in 1985 with the new demo tape featuring "Psychedelic Boy". Since then they´ve played often at the Cavern Club and other venues, built a rabid following, and are now hard at work on their first Voxx LP. Meanwhile, here at last is their hit, on actual vinyl, along with a nifty flip.

DENNIS PASH: guitar, vocals
JAMES BORDY: guitar
ROSS INDEN: bass, vocals
DENNIS BOUCH: drums

The Leopards Discography


SINGLES:

7" Don't Go Away b/w The Only Girl For Me (USA - Moon Records )

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THE LEOPARDS "Kansas City Slickers" LP

Rds, from 1977.... astonishing Kinks-like (late 60s/early 70s era) LP, and surprizing to see such a "revival" LP on this kind out much before the mid-80s garage explosion. Fabulous pop songs, not a filler, an absolute must have for pop fans... and in my opinion much better than its follow up on Bomp ("Magic still exists").

I think it was Paul Grant who said that the Leopards cut the best Kinks album of the '80s -- speaking of MAGIC STILL EXISTS. The demo tape they cut for that was actually better than what was done for Bomp, my gut feeling. That's where "Psychedelic Boy" comes from, and Bomp pretty much used that take because it had already gotten tons of airplay on Rodney Bingenheimer's KROQ radio show when it mattered.

The KANSAS CITY SLICKERS album, well, this was originally three singles, then an LP came out. The group was pure at the worst juncture of the '70s, they didn't need Punk Rock to "inform" them. Melody was always first and foremost, and they were pretty savvy with lyrics. They were very rooted in traditional American music, much like the stuff Ian Whitcomb is always talking about in books like AFTER THE BALL. Leader Dennis Pash had an incredible record collection of everything from blackface records done near the turn of the century to, well, his pad was the first time I'd ever seen the Applejacks album, o.k.?

Dennis Pash, last time I spoke with him, is living in the college town just west of Kansas City, Kansas in what I call a little blues shack next to the railroad there. I visited him a couple of times. He is now playing traditional string music on a Riverboat with another member of the original Kansas City lineup of the Leopards, that's what he does for a living. The band had a different lineup in L.A. Ross, the bass player in the L.A. lineup, was living in San Francisco during the '90s and I used to run into him there a lot. I'm pretty sure that all that exists on the Leopards is KANSAS CITY SLICKERS, MAGIC STILL EXISTS and that demo tape which is to me, better than the Bomp album.

One cut that never was recorded again or released was "Steam Locomotive," which I think should go on one of these Rhino children of nuggets or '80s Garage comps. It's the only Yardbirds-influenced track (they do a cool rave up) and dig this,

Dennis Pash wrote that song in 1967... when he was like, 8 or 9 years old. That's why he didn't want to release it, he thought "nothing I did at that age could possibly be good enough to release now," but he was wrong on that one, I think. Good enough for a best-of-80s Garage if you ask me.

Domenic Priore