Listen To… The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers are somewhat of a local band for me. They basically call Kansas City home. They first surfaced in the mid-1980’s and appeared to be headed to reasonable amount of fame. They sold some records and played some sold out shows, made it on MTV and lived the life for a little while.

Now it has been roughly 25 years and The Rainmakers have split and recently re-formed. They have six proper studio albums. The first coming in 1986 and the sixth in 2011. They aren’t on MTV anymore, thankfully, but they have a small loyal following, in the Kansas City area and strangely Norway mainly.

The lead singer of the band is Bob Walkenhorst. Walkenhorst regularly plays shows in Westport, MO at a great little venue called the Record Bar. Walkenhorst usually plays every Wednesday at 7pm.

Bob Walkenhorst(left) performing as Walkenhorst/Porter in St. Joseph, MO in 2010 with new Rainmakers guitarist Jeff Porter.

Bob Walkenhorst(left) performing as Walkenhorst/Porter in St. Joseph, MO in 2010 with new Rainmakers guitarist Jeff Porter.

The Rainmakers most recent album is their first with new guitarist Jeff Porter. Former guitarist Steve Phillips performs with The Elders now. Pat Tomek on drums and Rich Ruth on bass make up the rhythm section of the band. Here is a brief run-through of their albums:

The Rainmakers (1986)

The self-titled debut features likely the Rainmakers 2 most well known songs and is undoubtedly the album to pick up if you don’t have any Rainmakers in your collection. The 2 songs are “Let My People Go-Go” and “Big Fat Blonde” The album is solid from start to finish and has recently been remastered with bonus tracks which is great news if you are a huge dork like me.It features what is in my opinion the absolute best Rainmakers song: “Downstream”

Check out: Let My People Go-Go, Big Fat Blonde, Downstream, Nobody Knows and Information

Tornado (1987)

The sophmore effort by The Rainmakers was no slouch either. It has solid rock songs and will never get as many listens as it deserves. It contains the big slow dance prom-style song “Small Circles.” On a personal note it features one of two of the first rock songs I ever liked: “Wages of Sin” the other being Lou Reed’s “Last Great American Whale” if you are curious.

Check out: Snakedance, Wages of Sin, Small Circles and The Lakeview Man

The Good News and the Bad News (1989)

This was The Rainmakers last big chance to try to make it. Unfortunately they would not reach Rolling Stones status but that doesn’t mean their music is any worse than the legendary bands’.

Check out: Reckoning Day, Hoo Dee Hoo and Spend It On Love

Flirting With The Universe (1994)

This album seemed less ambitious to take over the world and more just a simple effort to make good music to anyone who wanted to listen. A more grown up album that still has the genuine Rainmakers sound.

Check out: Another Guitar, Width of a Line, Little Tiny World and Spite

Skin (1997)

Talk about a grown up, adult album; how about a concept album about a pornographer. This is it. A really interesting concept album in my opinion possessing 13 solid cuts that flow well instead of the soaring rockers that filled the Rainmakers previous albums.

Check out: Did You See The Lightening, Too Many Twenties and Hunger Moon

25 On (2011)

The first album without all four original members. A very competent Jeff Porter fills in on guitar/keyboards and helps put out a fun album to bring fans back to the glory days of the band. Some corny references(“Missouri Girl”) and slapstick fun(“Like Dogs”) helps a light hearted album be a solid addition to a great catalog of music.

Check out: Given Time, Like Dogs and Turpentine

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