Steamin'....The Second LP!
Steamin'....The Second LP!

Rastus had been playing during live performances most of the songs on the Steamin' album long before they recorded the LP at Paragon Studios in Chicago in 1971. While the album was being recorded in Chicago, I was doing another Capitol project in Detroit. Why was I not in Chicago with Rastus? The band had decided they no longer needed my influence and guidance. They wanted to produce themselves. Such is generally the way. No band realizes that it takes a producer (an outside influence) plus the band to make quality product. The band is just too close to the music to see where improvements can be made or new ideas implemented. The producer alone should not be in charge of the overall product as the producer can also be blind to the inherent musicality that only the band can see. It takes two to tango.

To make a long story short....I was cut out of the band a couple of months prior to their recording their second LP. Of course, I was heart-broken. This was a band to which I had given birth, cash and support for two years. Traveled with and shared the ups and downs of the road. Good gigs....bad gigs and many where the money was short. It seemed with Rastus, the money was always short. There were so many players and support staff to feed. Angelo Crimi did an amazing job at taking care of all of us during that time. "Here's your deuce!", a term I'll never forget.

When I was cut out, naturally I was very upset but one must continue with life on life's terms so I immediately went back into the studios and commenced working.

I had been back in Detroit for a couple of months when I received a call from Angelo asking would I please come to Chicago to re-mix the songs they had just recorded. I thought about that for a couple of days and decided to go to Chicago to listen to the product. I would not let anger get the best of me. I still think I made the right decision. Paragon was small but well equipped so I commenced mixing and editing. The basic tracks were recorded well by the engineer from Paragon (Greg Dixon) and I had fun setting up the tunes I had heard so many times on the road. Plus, several of the songs I had written myself or with the help of Bobby Jameson and various members of the band so I knew those cold. I looked at it as protecting myself and the band. By the way....I received no mention in the credits when the album was released but by then, I was ready for anything.

It wasn't until recently that I found that, once again, Rastus music was bought only as a loss; a write-off. How could this be? Why would anyone in their right mind buy this incredible group of talented musicians only to shelve them and deliberately lose money? That's the way business works thanks to the IRS. You've got to lose money in order to keep some of what you made.

The cuts on this LP were paid for in heartache and tears; anger and frustration. Once again, the music says it all. From the astounding "Lucy Bluebird" to the thought-provoking song, "What Will It Take," Rastus took the worst of situations and constructed incredible music. Music that continues to live on in the minds and hearts of the people who saw them live.

If you would like to purchase any of the original mixes from the Steamin' LP, please go to the Rastus sales (Downloads) page. The cuts are being put up as we speak so it may be a couple of days until the page is complete. Thanks for your patience.

Rastus Lives!
John Rhys

Tracks:
Lucy Bluebird
"Lucy Bluebird" became a major staple of the Rastus catalog, loved and requested by nearly every Rastus fan in every town they performed. The song was written by Bobby Jameson, Vic Walkuski and George Sopuch at the second farmhouse in Chardon, Ohio in 1970. I had the opportunity of first hearing the song just after it was written in the company of some members of the James Gang during a blizzard where we were all held captive for nearly twenty-four hours. Jimmy Fox said, "Goddam! That song is a double-barreled motherfucker!" He was right. "Lucy Bluebird" was selected by Detroit Tubeworks to be recorded and utilized on the TV show of the same name. We pulled into Detroit in the middle of the night and found ourselves in this huge Quonset hut on the outskirts of town which was used as a studio for Detroit Tubeworks. It was freezing and George Sopuch complained about not being able to feel his fingers enough to play the solo. He played the hell out of the solo however. Unfortunately, the video has been lost. We all got to see the performance once before heading back on the road to the next gig. If anyone knows where a copy of the performance may be had....please let us know. Written By: Bobby Jameson, Vic Walkus and George Sopuch Published by: Neighborhood Music Publishing Corp.
Download Price: $0.075
Big City Letdown Blues In E
I started this song in Detroit and finished it in Chardon, Ohio with Bobby Jameson. One of the quiet places in the farmhouse in which Rastus was staying was the stairwell. I liked sitting there late at night fingering my guitar. I guess I was keeping Bobby awake one night as he came out from the room where he was attempting to sleep and said, "I can finish that damned song in five minutes." And he did. As simple as it is....it works. Written By: John Rhys and Bobby Jameson Published by: Valando Music Inc.
Download Price: $0.075
I-94 Riff
Another highway song for an artery we traveled many times. Spin the wheels and let the highway take you.... Written By: John Rhys Published by: Valando Music Inc.
Download Price: $0.075
I Love You
One of Rastus' sterling songs guaranteed to rock your socks off. Written by: Tony Corrao and "Smoky" Smelko Published by: Neighborhood Music Publishing Corp.
Download Price: $0.075
Keep On Pushin'
Another steamroller of a song. The kind that will not let you sit still. Written by: Mike Geraci, Tony Corrao and "Smoky" Smelko. Published by: Neighborhood Music Publishing Corp.
Download Price: $0.075
Lazy Kind Of Day
The only single released by Neighborhood Records. Written by: George Sopuch and "Smoky" Smelko Published by: Neighborhood Music Publishing Corp.
Download Price: $0.075
Tryin' To Find Her
From the pen of the mighty Don Nagy. One of the best of the Rastus tunes, this song features award winning screams from Marc Roman at the very end. Written by: Don Nagy Published by: Neighborhood Music Publishing Corp.
Download Price: $0.075
What Will It Take
Actually, this song is basically two parts. Opening with a somber note and changing to a "more than serious" tone halfway through. This song speaks of freedom and equality and says it most eloquently. Written by "Smoky" Smelko and Tony Corrao
Download Price: $0.075