Posts Tagged ‘Mike Reilly’

‘Life’s A Circle After All . . .’

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

I suppose that if I’d been a bigger fan of Pure Prairie League, I’d have heard of Mike Reilly before this morning, but I’ve never paid all that much attention to PPL, at least not enough attention to know the names of the band’s members.

Reilly came to the band in 1972, says Wikipedia, just after the band has finished recording its second album, Bustin’ Out, and he’s been with the band – mostly a touring group now, with only two albums released since 1981 – ever since, with a two-year break from 2006 to 2008 for a liver transplant.

But it’s not Reilly’s membership in Pure Prairie League that brought him to my attention this morning. It was, rather, a 1971 single that caught my eye. Forty-three years ago today – on April 3, 1971 – Reilly’s single, “1927 Kansas City” was in its fourth week in the Billboard Hot 100, sitting at No. 94. It would last another couple of weeks and peak at No. 88.

Until this morning, the record – like Reilly, who wrote the song – had escaped my attention. So had the only covers of the tune I’ve seen mentioned: one by David Soul on his 1976 self-titled debut album and two live versions from the 1990s by Glenn Yarbrough. It turns out that Soul’s 1976 album has been in my stacks since December 1987, and that means I played it once, but his cover of “1927 Kansas City” clearly didn’t impress me.

I’m not sure that I would have given much attention to Reilly’s original had I heard it on my radio in 1971. I almost certainly didn’t hear it. The record didn’t show up in the 1971 surveys from the Twin Cities collected at Oldiesloon (which has every KDWB survey from 1971 and most of those from rival WDGY).

And Reilly’s record seemingly made few surveys anywhere; the data available at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive show only seven stations that listed the record on their surveys: It was listed as either as a pick hit or in the low rankings at stations in New Orleans; Omaha; Indianapolis; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Midland, Texas, but there are no surveys available from those stations for the previous or the following weeks, so we can really draw no conclusions from that. It was listed for at least two weeks and ranked as high as No. 17 at WFAA in Dallas; it was gone the following week. The only complete survey data for the single at ARSA comes from WHB in – where else? – Kansas City, where the record got to No. 23 in an eight-week run.

Is “1927 Kansas City” one of the great lost singles? Probably not. But I found it charming this morning, with a tale and theme that likely would not have mattered to me in 1971 but that speak loudly to me now. (The quality of the audio I found at YouTube is not the best, but I still thought the record worth a listen.)

Afternote:
As friend and regular reader Yah Shure noted below, the audio in the YouTube video I originally posted – the only video of the record that was available – was abysmal. I asked if he had a copy of the record in digital form. He did not, but he was kind enough to spend more time than I would have anticipated digitizing a promo copy of Mike Reilly’s “1927 Kansas City.” And the result is almost a different record, one that I’ve posted below to replace the awful version originally put here. Odd and Pop and I thank you, Yah Shure!