Brownsville Station


Band members                          Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-72)

- T.J. Cronley -- drums 

- Tony Driggins -- bass

- Michael 'Cub' Koda (RIP 2000) -- vocals, guitar 

- Michael Lutz -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

 

  supporting musicians:

- Big Jim Bruzzese -- percussion

- Pat McCaffrey -- keyboards

- Al Naflli Sr. -- accordian

 

  line up 2 (1972-74)

- Tony Driggins -- bass

- Michael 'Cub' Koda (RIP 2000) -- vocals, guitar 

- Michael Lutz -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Henry 'H-Bomb' Weck -- drums (replaced T.J. Cronley)

 

 line up 3 (1974)

- Michael 'Cub' Koda (RIP 2000) -- vocals, guitar 

- Michael Lutz -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Henry 'H-Bomb' Weck -- drums

 

  line up 4 (1975-79)

- Michael 'Cub' Koda (RIP 2000) -- vocals, guitar 

- Michael Lutz -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Bruce Nazarine -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Henry 'H-Bomb' Weck -- drums 

 

 

 

- The Del-Tinos (Cub Koda)

- F- Stop (Michael Lutz)

- Cub Koda (solo efforts)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  No BS

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: WB 3888

Year: 1970

Country/State: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: cut top right corner

Available: 1

C catalog ID: 6274

Price: $20.00

 

1969 saw Brownsville Station signed to Punch Andrew's Detroit-based Palladium label where the made their label debut with the single:

 

 

 

- 1969's 'Be-Bop Confidential' b/w 'City Life' (Palladium catalog number H 1075)

 

The single sold well locally, leading Palladium to finance a supporting album - 1970's "No BS".  Curiously. anyone whose knowledge of Brownsville Station was limited to their hit 'Smokin' In the Boys' Room' was liable to be a bit confused and perhaps disappointed by their debut collection.  Mind you, it wasn't a bad album, but unless you lived in Detroit and saw some of the band's live shows, as the band's 'roots' album, the collection's heavy reliance on covers of popular 1950s rock and R&B chestnuts was probably going to prove somewhat unexpected.  So here's the god news; the album served as a pretty good representation of the band's Marshall amp powered live shows.  Yeah there were plenty of covers, but the performances were uniformly enthusiastic (these guys were foremost fans of these musical genre) and while remaining true to the spirit of the originals, most of their arrangements were at least somewhat updated and more rock oriented (back to those towering stacks of Marshall speakers that Cubby Koda would apparently climb and jump off of).  

 

-  Yeah, the track listing showed it as 'Be-Bop Confidential ', but for all intents and purposes this track was nothing more than a slightly 'rocked-up cover' of Gene Vincent's 'Be Bop a Lula'.  Not the most original way to start an album, but Cubby Koda turned in a nice lead guitar solo.   rating: ** stars

- One of four Michael Lutz originals, 'Guitar Train' borrowed more than a little from Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly'.  Enthusiastic, but to be honest the song sounded like the band had taken a best of the '50s rock anthology; cut it into pieces, and simply reassembled it into a slightly different running order.  Zero stars for  originality, but three for enthusiasm with Lutz turning in an over-the-top vocal.   rating: *** stars

- I've always disliked 'Rockin' Robin' and can't say Brownsville's version did anything to change my opinion of the song.   rating: ** stars

- The second Lutz composition 'Blue Eyed Girl' found the band shifting into '60s influences.  Very pop-flavored, this one sounded a bit like Van Morrison and Them having overdosed on sedatives.  Koda turned in another nice lead guitar solo on this one.   rating: *** stars

- Co-written by Lutz and drummer Driggers, 'City Life' found the band trotting out a stab at R&B (with a distinctively pop edge).   One of the my favorites songs on the album.   rating: **** stars

- I'm guessing the title was a reference to the famous Chocolate malt beverage, but who knows ...  Whatever the inspiration, 'Do the Bosco' was easily side one's hardest rocking number.  Great tune.   rating: **** stars

- Tapped as the album's second single, their cover of 'Roadrunner' was mildly entertaining - easy to see where George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers swiped half of their catalog ...     rating: ** stars

- The highlight of their second Gene Vincent cover 'Hello, Mary Lou' was Koda's guitar solo.  The rest of the song was merely pedestrian.   rating: ** stars

- Side two's lone original composition, 'Cadillac Express' was basically an opportunity for Koda to show off his '50s guitar influences (think Chuck Berry).   Mindless rock-and-roll fun for the Cadillac set.   rating: *** stars

- I'd love to say something nice about their cover of Boyd Bennett and His Rockets 'My Boy Flat Top' but to my ears it came off as little more than a throwaway, pseudo-polka number.  Pretty forgettable.   rating; * star

- Personally I didn't think they came close to Link Wray's classic instrumental 'Rumble', but there was a certain charm to the Zeppelin-esque rendition and the bluesy, false start segment was pretty funny.  Hard to image anyone bothering to bleep the obscenity in this day and age.   rating: *** stars

 

As mentioned, with the original Palladium single doing well regionally, Warner Brothers stepped in with a national distribution deal, reissuing the original single, the parent album, and a follow-on single:

 

 

- 1970's 'Be-Bop Confidential' b/w 'City Life' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7441)

- 1971's 'Do the Bosco' b/w 'Roadrunner' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7456)

 

Naturally Warner Brothers marketing didn't have a clue with respect to marketing the band and they were quickly dropped from the company's recording roster.  (So here's a mystery.  The sleeve on my LP shows the Palladium label and catalog number (P-1004), but the LP label shows the Warner Brothers label.   As a cost cutting move did Warner Brothers acquire the existing stock of previously pressed sleeves and simply reuse them ?)

 

(side 1)

1.) Be-Bop Confidential  (Davis - Gene Vincent - Hargrave) - 2:23

2.) Guitar Train   (Michaal Lutz) - 2:05

3.) Rockin' Robin   (Robert Byrd) - 2:46

4.) Blue Eyed Girl    (Michaal Lutz) - 2:45

5.) City Life  (Michael Lutz - Tony Driggers) - 3:01

6.) Do the Bosco  (Michaal Lutz - Cubby Koda) - 2:36

(side 2)
1.) 
Roadrunner   (E. McDaniels) - 2:37
2.) Hello, Mary Lou   (Gene Vincent) - 3:06
3.) Cadillac Express   (Cubby Koda) - 2:30
4.) My Boy Flat Top   (Boyd Bennett - John Young) - 2:01
5.) Rumble   (Link Wray) - 3:04

 



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Yeah!

Company: Big Tree

Catalog: BT 2101

Year: 1973

Country/State: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Ccatalog ID: 5041

Price: $20.00

 

Even if it didn't include the classic teen age rebellion song 'Smokin' In the Boys Room', 1973's "Yeah!" would deserve classic status and the creative and commercial highlight of Brownsville Station's recording career.  

 

Produced by Big Tree President Doug Morris, the album served as a perfect showcase for Koda's role as rock historian and the band's fun brand of rock and roll. Sadly, describing an album as 'fun' certainly sounds kind of odd in this day and age.  That's made even stranger by the fact most of the ten tracks were covers.  Still, fun is an apt description for the album.  Name another band who could cover a Jimmy Cliff song ('Let Your Yeah Be Yeah), a 1960s obscurity like The Balloon Farm's 'Question of Temperature' and a Lou Reed track ('Sweet Jane') with equal success !!!  So what were the other highlights?  Well they were certainly a talented trio with lead singer Michael Lutz having a voice that was quite versatile and highly commercial.  His cover of Reed's 'Sweet Jane' was irrisistable and would have made a dandy single. Coda may have been the biggest surprise emerging as an excellent vocalist.  While his snarling delivery wasn't as commercial as Lutz, it was perfect for punkier numbers like 'Love, Love, Love' and 'Smokin' In the Boys Room'.   And then there was the band's song selection ... not a loser in the bunch.  Literally any of these ten tracks would have made for a top-40 single.

 

Big Tree also tapped the LP for two singles:

 

- 1973's 'Let Your Yeah Be Yeah' b/w 'Mr. Robert' (Big Tree catalog number BT-161)

- 1973's 'Smokin' In the Boys Room' b/w 'Barefootin'' (Big Tree catalog number BT-10611)

 

"Yeah!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Question of Temperature  (M. Appel - E. Schnug - D. Henny) - 3:25

2.) Lightnin' Bar Blues   (Hoyt Axton) - 2:40

3.) Take It Or Leave It   (H. Cardell) - 2:53

4,) All Night Long   (Michael Lutz - Cub Koda) - 2:50

5.) Let Your Yeah Be Yeah   (Jimmy Cliff) - 3:30

(side 2)
1.) Sweet Jane   (Lou Reed) - 2:53

2.) Love, Love, Love   (Terry Knight) - 2:48

3.) Go Out and Get Her   (Doug Morris) - 2:55

4.) Barefootin'   (Robert Parker) - 2:15

5.) Smokin' In the Boys Room   (Michael Lutz - Cub Koda) - 2:54

 

 

 

 

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