This hasn’t been your typical Wisconsin summer. It’s been hot, steamy, muggy and dry for far longer than we’re accustomed to. Our lawn long ago withered to a crispy, crunchy brown.
Mention this, of course, and my dad inevitably will bring up the summer of 1936, when it was way hotter, windy and dusty to boot.
We could use a rainmaker. The closest we’ll get today is the Rainmakers.
Their fresh Midwest rock sound blew in from the prairie, all the way from Kansas City, in 1985.
The Rainmakers tore across the scene like a tornado, hitting it big with a self-titled debut album powered by Bob Walkenhorst’s quirky, edgy, sometimes dark lyrics.
The big hit off that was “Let My People Go-Go,” an infectious, irreverent tune about religion, of all things.
Another cut off that album was “Rockin’ at the T-Dance,” about the deadly collapse of a walkway during a tea dance at a Kansas City hotel in 1981. In it, Walkenhorst recalls the failures of Apollo 1 and Apollo 13. Not exactly your usual rock fare, then or now.
The Rainmakers’ career arc was a bit like that of a rainbow. Now you see it, now you don’t. No pot of gold, either.
They went from being a bar band called Steve, Bob and Rich in 1983 to being a big thing on MTV in 1985 to having another solid album (“Tornado”) in 1987 to breaking up in 1990. Big in Scandinavia, they got back together in the mid-’90s for two more albums, but were done by 1996.
So here, from the original vinyl (a little skippy on some other cuts, sad to say), the first and third cuts off the first side of the Rainmakers’ first album.
“Rockin’ at the T-Dance” and “Let My People Go-Go,” the Rainmakers, from “The Rainmakers,” 1985.