GREY EAGLE BAND Under Direction Of: Opal J. Johnson
Every year my brother and I take a road trip to dig for records. The objective is to find rare and desirable records of all genres. Without fail the highlight is always finding that special LP that none of our collector friends have ever heard before. This year our trip took us through America’s Heartland…..Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Chances are we would never had found this LP by Grey Eagle Band anywhere else.
The term “Real People” has been thrown around in the record collecting world for some years now. More often than not it’s used to describe an artist that is more surreal than real. The Grey Eagle Band is about as real as it gets. This sextet of senior citizens dedicated this LP to a few of their deceased friends whose names were more important to include on the LP than any song titles, of which there are none. Group leader Opal Johnson plays the combo organ, Lucille Wittmuss on accordian and Evelyn Sorenson plays electric guitar and harmonica. The male half of the group is made up of Art Woods on Bass, Dan Dohse on fiddle and vocals and Leaonard Flagg on drums. The LP appears to be from 1975.
So just how “real” is this LP you may wonder….well it’s real in the respect that these folks had no clue how to record themselves as you can hear them turning on the tape machine and introducing themselves before songs. And these songs are as real as it gets, aiming straight for your heart and finding a place there formerly occupied by your loving grandmother and Hasil Adkins. Imagine the ghost of Hank Williams turning up at the local Nursing Home and jamming with the house Polka Band after hitting that secret stash of moonshine hidden in an IV bag.
About half of the cuts are instrumentals that will send shivers up your spine. Otherworldly sounds that Ms. Johnson started to develop in 1930 when she learned how to play the accordian. I hope you enjoy the below cuts as much as I do.
Thanks to my brother for pulling this one out of a stash of 100,000’s of records and recognizing that it may be special…..The Grey Eagle band are indeed the REAL.