The Return of the Mysterious Buena Vistas
Listen/Download – The Buena Vistas – Kick-Back – MP3
NOTE: I’m warning you porcupines…the opening to this 45 may very well give you whiplash. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
The record I bring you today is one that as soon as heard its roar emanating from the turntables (during a DJ Prime Mundo set at an Asbury Park 45 Sessions), I grabbed my pith helmet and elephant gun and headed out to the bush in search of my own copy.
The search yielded surprising results, on account of the record I was looking for, was ‘Kick-Back’ but the 45 it was clawing its way out of was by a group I’d never heard of before, named Willie Tell and the Overtures.
I started my search in all the usual interwebs nooks and crannies, and came up snake eyes.
Then I posted it as a want over at Soulstrut. Some kind soul offered me a copy for $100. I politely declined…
So I started trying to find info about the record, and stumbled across some very interesting information, that being that the Buena Vistas, a group (more like a “name”) which released a number of cool 45s on Detroit’s Marquee label, released a single with the same exact two songs on it, BEFORE Willie Tell and the Overtures (which Chess released in 1970).
So, I dug a little further and found someone saying that the recordings were exactly the same.
I head on over to E-Bay, and find a copy for sale, bid promptly, and in a surprising twist, got it for about $16 (which for you kids is much less than $100).
A few days later the record fell through the mailslot, I slipped it on the turntable, put the needle down, and discovered that my investment had been a wise one.
Now I was really intrigued. ‘Kick-Back’ is a break heavy monster, with some funky guitar and organ that sounds absolutely fantastic when issuing forth from a nice, loud sound system. I was also happy to discover the the flipside ‘The Soul Ranger’ also has a break, sounding like a slightly funkier version of the New Orleans classic ‘Horse With a Freeze’ (an Eddie Bo joint).
Now we addressed the Buena Vistas here before, talking about their Mike Terry produced 45 ‘Hot Shot’. My guess – which I still stand by – is that the musicians heard on this record were in fact various and sundry Funk Brothers.
Someone posted a comment on that post, which said the following:
“The Buena Vistas are actually Kathy Lynn & The Playboys, well-known musicians from Buffalo NY who recorded three 45s for Swan in a variety of styles. They became the Buena Vistas on Swan and then moved to Detroit where they were on Marquee and Lla Salle, as well as recording on LaSalle as The Antiques and Lynn Terry. Check the names- Kathy Lynn Keppen, Nick Ameno, Carl Cisco. And sometimes Eddie Bently. Thye were managed by Shannon in Buffalo and in Detroit. And they also recorded a 45 that was released as by The Rockin’ Rebels. The kicker is that they were all white!”
I ain’t buying it. That may have been the group that went out on the road, but I have serious doubts that they actually recorded any of the Marquees’ 45s (at least not the ones I own). Here’s what I wrote then:
“The Buena Vistas recorded several 45s for four different labels (Swan, Marquee, BB and LaSalle) between 1966 and 1968. Mike Terry’s name is on several of them as arranger.
The songwriting credits on the labels point to the involvement of Tom Shannon, a disc jockey/record man from Buffalo, NY who along with Carl Cisco (another name on the label) relocated to Detroit in the mid-60’s. Shannon and Cisco were both involved in another act on Swan, that being the Rockin’ Rebels, another instrumental act that were a “band” in name only, and probably a revolving cast of musicians, or at least a few different sets of players over the years that the group was issuing 45s (see the AllMusic bio of the group for more info). I suspect that this was also the case with the Buena Vistas, where the “name” was little more than a vehicle for a string of attempted assaults on the charts by the people behind the scenes.”
I stand by that assessment, unless credibly informed otherwise.
The Buena Vistas to Willie Tell & the Overtures transformation/shenanigans only serves to push me further in that direction.
I hope you dig the song, and watch for the flip in an upcoming mix.