The Great Plains


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Having already recorded numerous EPs, LPs, and 7"s, Columbus, OH's the Great Plains were becoming something of critical darlings (drawing praise from everyone from Greil Marcus to Yo La Tengo), despite their inability to tap in to the sizable audience their music deserved. In 1989 Diablo Records, an offshoot of Elvis Costello's Demon label, decided the time was right to release what was, in essence, a greatest-hits album, despite the fact that the band never had a hit in the traditional sense, though they did gain airplay on Dr. Demento's radio show with their quirky new wave novelty, "Letter to a Fanzine." The release of Colorized! was intended to serve as the band's introduction to European audiences prior to the release of their next album and subsequent tour. Unfortunately, the Great Plains disbanded before their next album was recorded. Overflowing with Ron House's snotty vocals and the odd amalgam of '60s-inspired organ-fueled new wave and country-tinged punk that had become the Great Plains' sound, Colorized! collected the band's catchiest songs, among them a version of "Serpent Mound," as well as odes to U.S. presidents with "Rutherford B. Hayes" and "Lincoln Logs," and the criminally ignored-by-radio clap-along "Dick Clark." Also included in this 14-song collection are less snide and more introspective tracks like "Same Moon" and what the band calls "an extremely unfaithful" but effective rendition of Leonard Cohen's "The War." Surely not complete enough for die-hard Great Plains fans, especially in light of the notable absence of "Chuck Berry's Orphan," Colorized! serves as an excellent introduction into the world of the Great Plains as it displays only the band's strongest material (pulled largely from Naked at the Buy, Sell, and Trade), unlike many greatest-hits packages that insist upon tacking on throwaway B-sides and rarities. However, for those who have abandoned the endearing hum of needles on vinyl, in 2000 Old 3C records released a two-disc, 50-song collection of the Great Plains' material called Length of Growth, marking the first time the band's music has been available on CD aside from its occasional inclusion on compilations. Colorized! also features witty liner-note insight by the band's own Mark Wyatt. Bigger than the Replacements in New Zealand.

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