ARTIST: The Rainmakers
TITLE: The Rainmakers
YEAR RELEASED: 1986
CHART ACTION: #85
SINGLES: Let My People Go-Go (#18 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Downstream, Government Cheese
LINEUP: Bob Walkenhorst, Rich Ruth, Steve Phillips, Pat Tomek. The Memphis Horns add horns when needed.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Midwest rockers use skewed, ironic, and literate lyrics about religion, politics and vagaries of modern life to spice up their rootsy rock-and-roll
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Rainmakers were a great band for a college radio station. They weren’t weird, musically, so everyone liked to listen to them (not that being weird is bad, of course, but most of the audience isn’t like me where weird is good), and the lyrics were sardonic and literate so that college students could laugh at them and go “Hey, that’s funny. I should quote that…”
This also was a pretty good record to listen to outside of the radio. The Rainmakers music was basic roots rock, which in the 80’s was in short supply outside of a few mainstream acts. That backing made observations like “Rockin’ at the T-Dance” or “Let My People Go-Go” go down smoother. That and using “hugger mugger” when talking about the Scribes and Pharisees.
This is dated, of course. “Government Cheese” doesn’t come up in anyone’s conversation anymore, and when they get more serious and not satiric, they suffer. Still, this is good nostalgia for us in the college radio biz back in the day.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Singer and songwriter Bob Walkenhorst was originally the drummer, but became the frontman when they got signed. They had an independent album released as “Steve, Bob and Rich” before being they were signed.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with a decent B-side, acoustic cuts, live cuts, etc.
GRADE: B+: A fun listen, and it reminds one of the Reagan-era (whether that was a good time or a bad time for you).