The Buckeye Politicians

The Buckeye Politicians
Hope For The Common Man

The Rainbow Collection

By David Wilson
June 2014

If names like The Drifters, Temptations, Platters, Coasters, Clovers or Miracles bring up pleasant memories for you, The Buckeye Politicians will delight you. Make no mistake, this is not a release whose style is frozen in the past, but that is clearly where its roots are though its blossoms are just as clearly of the 21st century.

Originally a gospel group of three brothers, The Almonaires who went from opening for daddy’s group to becoming headliners themselves, leaving gospel behind for soul, first as the Vondors, then as the Soul Partners and finally in the early ‘70s they changed once again to become The Buckeye Politicians.

Their hallmarks, then as now, are tight ringing harmonies, superlative phrasing, smooth vocal stylings and instrumental arrangements that are complex, entrancing and fit naturally into each performance.

Their greatest failing was a lack of fortune.

In 1970, signed to EMI they went to London to record in the Abbey Road studios. Their producer was Alan Parsons who had engineered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. After six months in the studio, the tapes were put on board a Pan-Am plane for the USA where they were to be mixed. Pan-Am lost them and EMI had not made backups.

Back in the USA, and back into the studio this time in the Beach Boys studio in LA with Jeff Barry of Monkees fame producing. Months later the finished product was bought by Utopia records for distribution by RCA. Disaster struck again as RCA sued Utopia to end their agreement and without promotion, the album slipped into obscurity. So an up and coming r&b group with a fanbase that included musicians as diverse as Lionel Ritchie, Dionne Warwick, James Brown, Deep Purple, Freddie Mercury and John Entwhistle fell into depression and obscurity.

Now after 40 years with two of the original members, Jay Almon and LA Almon, along with Jay’s daughter, Conia, The Buckeye Politicians went back into the studio and recorded 10 new songs, added seven more from the aborted lp of the ‘70s and are reaching out to a whole new generation. Jay’s voice is velvet smooth, his articulation clear. Conia’s voice is dusky and mysterious and I would ask for a lot more of her in the future.

The songs are varied, singable and danceable. The instrumental arrangements are compelling.

Although this is not the shade of blues that usually grabs my attention, this release does grab me and takes me right back to the ‘60s when it all began for me.

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