Monday, July 1, 2019

The Connells - 1992-05-08 - Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA

The Connells
1992-05-08
Washington & Lee University,
Lexington, VA 

Soundboard recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

While we're talking about great underrated 80's-90's bands, here's The Connells. From Raleigh, North Carolina, originally formed by brothers Mike and David Connell (guitar and bass, respectively) and Doug MacMillan (vocals) in 1984, and a little later joined by George Huntley (guitar, keyboards) and Peele Wimberley (drums). Their first album, Darker Days (1985) was produced by fellow North Carolinian, the legendary Don Dixon (R.E.M., The Smithereens, Chris Stamey, Marti Jones, Marshall Crenshaw). But the band really came together on their 2nd album, Boylan Heights (1987), which was produced by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Game Theory, Let's Active, Loud Family), and established the reputation of the band in the 'jangle pop' style of those two notable producers, but also kept them in the shadow of and fighting comparisons with the better-known bands R.E.M. and Let's Active. But the band scored on college campuses and college radio, with multiple tracks gaining momentum and airplay.  The band continued to grow beyond their jangle pop label with more expansive styles (alt-rock, power pop) over their next couple albums, Fun & Games (1989) and One Simple Word (1990), and although they continued to have success on college campuses, they couldn't quite break through to more commercial success. But then in 1993, they released Ring, their most accomplished and appealing album, which seemed destined to bring greater success and acclaim for the band. I happened to be living in Raleigh NC for a couple years in the mid-90's, and I was there at that time, and The Connells were huge there, and Ring was just what they needed to become big everywhere else. But although the first single from the album, 'Slackjawed' was again a hit on college radio, album sales were flat, much to the disappointment of the band. But then, the follow-up single, '74-75', started to take off in europe, where it became a huge hit, reaching #1 in Norway and Sweden, and the top ten in several other countries (including U.K. and Germany), but surprisingly, went nowhere in the U.S., where the album barely cracked the charts (at #199).  But this started major touring throughout Europe, where they were received as stars. Their next album, Weird Food and Devastation (1996) featured a starker and heavier production than the more melodic Ring, and failed to build on its momentum. Two more albums, Still Life (1998) and Old School Dropouts (2001) were released in subsequent years, still strong, but never garnered much attention. After that, some members left (Huntley, Wimberley), but the band never really broke up. They continued to get together to perform occasional concerts or brief tours, just more sporadically, and are still performing today. This show comes from the period just before they recorded Ring, in mid-1992, thus primarily featuring songs from their first 4 albums, plus a preview of a few new songs that would be on Ring ('Slackjawed', 'Hey You', 'Doin' You' and an early version of 'Carry My Picture' with quite different lyrics from the final version). There is a notable cut (tape flip) that eviscerates one song ('Choose a Side', but overall, this serves as a good introduction to the band.    

Tracklist:
01 Stone Cold Yesterday
02 Sal
03 Slackjawed
04 Upside Down
05 Speak to Me
06 Set the Stage
07 Doin' You
08 banter
09 Get a Gun
10 Carry My Picture (early version)
11 Over There
12 1934
13 Eyes On the Ground
14 Choose a Side (cut-partial)
15 Hey Wow
16 Take a Bow
17 Inside My Head
18 Motel
19 Fun & Games
20 Something to Say
21 (encore break)
22 Hey You
23 Photograph (Ringo Starr cover)
24 Try

TT: 80:13 mins.

The Connells:
Mike Connell - guitar, vocals
David Connell - bass
Doug MacMillan - vocals, tambourine
George Huntley - guitar, vocals
Peele Wimberley - drums
Steve Potak - keyboards

FLAC - The Connells_1992-05-08_LexingtonVA_FLAC.rar

mp3 - The Connells_1992-05-08_LexingtonVA_mp3.rar

1 comment:

Rob-in-Brevard said...

Great stuff! I've had this show in MP3 for a good while, so it's nice to get a FLAC version. Many thanks, BB.