Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rank & File - Amanda Ruth

In my never ending search for music that had an impact on me I bring you Rank & File's song "Amanda Ruth". Rank & File were one of the first bands to mix country and punk with a bit of roots rock but never really caught on with the mainstream public. Brothers Chip and Tony Kinman formed the band with former Nuns member Alejandro Escovedo after their band The Dils broke up. Alejandro left after the first album Sundown which came out in 1982 and band membership changed during the following 2 albums. Here's a live video of the band performing their song "Amanda Ruth" but you'll notice that this is after Alejandro had left the band.

Back in 1986 I worked a summer job for the city of Dewey here in Oklahoma and there was a new employee who had an unusual taste in music for this area. I had always enjoyed different kinds of music and was open to finding new music that was off the beaten path. You know, something that local radio wouldn't touch in a million years. The thing is this guy was looking to make some extra money and was selling off part of his music collection. Every week he would bring in some cassette tapes in a shoebox and I would question him thoroughly as I pored over them. Unfortunately I only did this for 3 weeks before being laid off which I really regret because who knows what other bands I could have gotten into if only I had more time. The first cassette I bought was Sundown by Rank and File and although the singing took some getting used to the music had me hooked. This was exactly what I had been searching for. Back in the early 80s cassettes usually didn't have any band info or liner notes on the inside of the cover so at the time I had no idea who was in the band. All I knew is that it was different from anything I had evre heard before, and I liked it.

For the record, the 2nd cassette I bought was from The Undertones and I cannot remember what the 3rd one was althought it could have been The Blasters. In a sad note, after returning to college I loaned all of my carefully selected treasures to a friend and they were destroyed in a fire that consumed his music shed. Many years later I aquired a cassette of Sundown from someone in England after winning an auction on Ebay. I took it to see Alejandro play at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City where I was able to prevail upon him to sign it for me. Al was quite surprised and asked where I had gotten the tape from. I related the above story to him and then making my day as he started to sign it he asked me "How do you want me to sign it? Chip or Tony?" His band broke up laughing as did I and then I went to my seat and waited for the show to start. It was a great night of music and I got a special story out of it to boot.

No comments: