Silver Laughter


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1969-)

- Steve Elliott -- bass

- Jon Ludtke -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar

- Kim Ludtke -- drums, percussion

- Mark Zaputil -- lead guitar

 

  line up 2  (1969-)

- Jon Ludtke -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar

- Kim Ludtke -- drums, percussion

- Michael Orton -- bass, guitar, keyboards (replaced Steve Elliott)

- Mark Zaputill -- lead guitar

 

  line up 3  (1969-)

- Jon Ludtke -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar

- Kim Ludtke -- drums, percussion

- Michael Orton -- bass, guitar, keyboards

- Kim Wiles -- lead guitar (replaced Mark Zaputil)

 

  line up 4  (1977-78)

- Jon Ludtke -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar

- Michael Orton -- bass, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Paul Staack -- drums, percussion (replaced Kim Ludtke)

- Kim Wiles -- lead guitar

 

  line up 5  (1978-79)

- Jon Ludtke -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar

NEW - Kim Ludtke -- drums, percussion (replaced Paul Staack)

- Michael Orton -- bass, guitar, keyboards

- Kim Wiles -- lead guitar

 

 

 

 

 

- Cold Stare

- The Contents Are (Michael Orton and Paul Staack)

- Morning Light (Ken Wiles)

- The Silvers

- Sneaky Feelin' (Steve Elliott)

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: **** 4 stars

Title:  Sailing on Fantasies

Company: Fanfare

Catalog:  4070
Year:
 1978

Country/State: Davenport, Iowa

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover (not shown in photo); original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3289

Price: $90.00

By the time the band's second album was released, the line-up had shifted to reflect rhythm guitarist 

Jon Ludtke , bassist Michael Orton, new drummer Paul Staack (replacing Kim Ludtke), and lead guitarist Kim Wiles.  

Recorded in West Minist'r Sound Studios, 1978's "Sailing On Fantasies" stands as a musical rarity - namely an album that's hyped as being Beatle-esque and actually manages to at least partially live up to the promise.  To manage expectations, it was hard to imagine four guys from Iowa were going to be able record a pseudo Beatles album (why would anyone want to).  What they did manage to do was turn in an album full of Beatles influences, while mostly holding on to their own personalities.  Actually, let me reset the baseline for comparisons.  These guys managed to turn in the best Emitt Rhodes album Rhodes never recorded.   Co-produced by the band and longtime manager Art Smart Stenstrom, the album was also interesting for the surprisingly impressive sound quality (kudos to recording engineer Frank Wiewel).  With Ludtke and Orton responsible for the majority of the material, Beatles-tinged tracks like 'Sing Me Your Love Songs', 'Turn It Down (You're Too Loud)', and 'Bad News' were quite commercial and radio friendly.  The problem is tracks like the single 'Lover' and 'Don't Feel Bad'  must have sounded way dated to mid and late-'70s mid-Western audiences.  Its just hard to see how someone into Grand Funk Railroad, Head East, or REO Speedwagon was going to saddle up to this retro-outfit.  And judging by sales, audiences didn't.  Shame and their ultimate loss.  

 

"Sailing On Fantasies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sing Me Your Love Songs   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:26   rating: **** stars

Okay, I'll admit 'Sing Me Your Love Songs' had a cheesy Beatles-vibe to it (in case you missed it, the song carried a dedicated to John, Paul, George and Ringo).  With a goofy mid-'60s vibe and some of the '70s synthesizers I'm a push-over for, I'll admit this one was a guilty pleasure.  It was released as a single:

- 1978's 'Sing Me Your Love Songs' b/w 'Hand In Hand' (Fanfare catalog number 4074 A/B)

2.) Turn It Down (You're Too Loud)   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:59   rating: **** stars

Complete with faux British sound, it was hard to believe the bouncy 'Turn It Down (You're Too Loud)' was recorded in Iowa.  This one has always  reminded me of something off an Emitt Rhodes album.  

3.) Don't Want To Love   (Ken Wiles) - 2:35   rating: **** stars

Who put the Matthew Sweet album on ???  And like a good Sweet song, this one had a great melody that wouldn't leave you head.  

4.) Bad News   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:06   rating: **** stars

Kicked along by horns and a killer Ludtke guitar solo, 'Bad News' found the band toughening up their sound and sounding all the better for it.  This was another one where Orton bore a striking resemblance to Emitt Rhodes.

5.) Rainbow   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 3:31   rating: ** stars

The album's first disappointment, 'Rainbow' was a dull, ponderous ballad that wasn't helped by flat vocals from Ludtke and Ortpon.

6.) Lover   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:01  rating: *** stars

 

 

 

It wasn't particularly original, but the pretty ballad 'Lover' really sounded like it could have been ripped off an Emitt Rhodes album.   Fanfare tapped it as a pre-album promotional single:

 

1978's 'Lover' b/w 'Rock and Roll Game' (Fanfare catalog number 4072 A/B)

 

 

 

 

 

7.) Lover (reprise)   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 0:37   rating: ** stars

Okay, The Beatles were big fans of reprises, so I'm guessing that was part of the inspiration for this 27 second instrumental section.  

 

(side 2)

1.) Don't Feel Bad   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton)  - 2:04   rating: *** stars

 

 

Geez, welcome back to 1964 ...  Yeah, 'Don't Feel Bad' may have been one of the tracks where the Fab Four influences went overboard.  It was also tapped as the third single:

 

1978's Don't Feel Bad' b/w 'Turn It Down (You're Too Loud)' (Fanfare catalog number 4076 A/B)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) I Can't Believe In You   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:30   rating: *** stars

'I Can't Believe In You' was a bouncy, radio-friendly pop tune.  Not to sound like a broken record, but damn if Orton didn't sound a lot like Emitt Rhodes.

3.) Hand In Hand   (Paul Staack) - 2:57   rating: *** stars

Imagine a flat sounding America and you'd get a feel for what the mid-tempo ballad 'Hand In Hand' sounded like. Since he wrote it,  I'm guessing drummer Staack handled the lead vocal.  Funny, even though the vocals were seriously flat, there was something quite attractive on this one.

4.) Rock and Roll Game   (Ken WIles) - 3:43   rating: **** stars

The second song by guitarist Wiles ,the rocker  'Rock and Roll Game' actually sounded like a far more contemporary tune.  One of the album's standout performances.

5.) The Showdown   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:55    rating: *** stars

Nice up-tempo rocker, but geez, these songs could have been so much better if someone in the band could sing ...  

6.) Dreams Still Live On   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton)  - 0:56   rating: ** stars

Pretty acoustic number, but more of a song fragment than anything.

7.) Sunny Day   (Jon Ludtke - Michael Orton) - 2:16   rating: **** stars

Most albums have a hidden gem and the country-rocker 'Sunny Days' is my pick for this collection. 

 

In support of the album the band toured Canada.  They auditioned for Atlantic, which passed on them; reportedly concerned they sounded too much like The Beatles..  Kim Ludtke subsequently rejoined the band on drums.  They kept playing  until the Spring of 1979.  

 

As The Silvers the band continues to record material.  They have a website at: www.silver-laughter.com 

 

The group were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in August 2014.

 

 

 

 

 


 

" Sailing On Fantasies "
Inclu

Silver Laughter Biography:
Silver Laughter was born in the fall of 1969 in Davenport, Ia. The band would eventually play over 1,700 gigs over ten years throughout every corner of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, as well as western Canada. The nine musicians that eventually played in Silver Laughter had all been teenage friends. The band would also record two albums of original material from which six singles were spawned. The band was originated by Jon Ludtke (guitar/lead singer) and Steve Elliott (bass/lead singer). John Carstensen (lead guitar) and Jon's brother Kim (Slim) Ludtke (drums) were incorporated within months to complete the original band. With the strong lead singing of Jon and Steve, Silver Laughter had an instant following in the Quad Cities, as the band played covers of some of the 60's most illustrious rock bands, including the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Some of the early gigs included the Hullabaloo in Moline, Ill - a left-over vintage teen club of the 1960's complete with go-go cages, as well as the famous Coliseum Ballroom in Davenport.
From its inception Silver Laughter focused on vocals and harmony, matched with the power of a driving rhythm section and lead guitar. During these early years, the band wrote and performed a few originals which became favorites of their fans.
In 1971 Denny Walton was added (guitar/ harmonica/ vocals). Denny brought a strong influence of up-tempo blues, and along with Steve's occasional cross-over to pedal steel guitar, the band expanded its repertoire. Silver Laughter also expanded its playing area, often playing up to 150 mile radius.
1974 would result in being a year of significant change. John Carstensen left the band and Mark Zaputil, a young guitar enthusiast, joined as the band began playing 3-4 nights per week. In August, Jon and Kim were at the Des Moines State Fair enjoying the music in the Teen Village when they saw an advertisement for a booking agency in West Des Moines. Upon meeting Rick Geisler, the two (although exhausted) realized that a new era was about to unfold for Silver Laughter. The band was managed by Geisler's assistant, Art Stenstrom, who eventually split off to found Entertainment Services Concept and helped guide their recording efforts.
Starting several weeks later, Silver Laughter began playing 6 nights a week throughout the Midwest. The change to playing on the road and being away took its toll however, as within six months Steve, Denny and Mark decided to return to Davenport. Although saddened by the departure of their friends, Jon and Kim were determined to continue and began contacting their family of musicians. First to be recruited was a teenage friend of Jon's, Mick Orton (bass/ vocals). Jon and Mick had started their first band in junior high in 1965. Mick had joined The Contents Are, who later became Columbia recording artists Tabernash. Next was Ken Wiles (lead guitar/ vocals), another friend from Davenport who had played in Ivory Coast. The new powerhouse of four musicians would now be booked continuously, 6-nights a week for what would become a five-year stint. In 1975, the band arranged a multimedia Beatles tribute show, consisting of two 45-minute medleys of Beatles' hits along with a visual history shown on two side-stage screens. The band also formed an International Fan Club during the road years, and stayed in touch with their fans through a fan club newsletter.
In 1976 Silver Laughter recorded their first Album, "Handle with Care" (Fanfare Records 4060). The album consists of 11 originals and included a guest appearance by Steve Elliott. Shortly after the completion of the album, Jon's brother, Kim, decided to take a detour to college. In mid-1976 Paul Staack (drums) joined the band. In late 1977 and early 1978, Silver Laughter recorded its premier album "Sailing on Fantasies" at the acclaimed West Minist'r Sound studio in Otho, Ia. (Fanfare Records 4070). As with the first album, the 14 songs were all originals, primarily coming from the pen of Jon Ludtke/Mick Orton. In Dec of 1978, Kim rejoined the band upon the departure of Paul, and Silver laughter continued to tour until performing their last gig on 5 May, 1979. 


Nearly thirty-five

 

Silver Laughter was born in the fall of 1969 in Davenport, Ia. The band would eventually play over 1,700 gigs over ten years throughout every corner of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, as well as western Canada. The nine musicians that eventually played in Silver Laughter had all been teenage friends. The band would also record two albums of original material from which six singles were spawned.

The band was originated by Jon Ludtke (guitar/lead singer) and Steve Elliott (bass/lead singer). John Carstensen (lead guitar) and Jonís brother Kim (Slim) Ludtke (drums) were incorporated within months to complete the original band. With the strong lead singing of Jon and Steve, Silver Laughter had an instant following in the Quad Cities, as the band played covers of some of the 60ís most illustrious rock bands, including the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Some of the early gigs included the Hullabaloo in Moline, Ill - a left-over vintage teen club of the 1960ís complete with go-go cages, as well as the famous Coliseum Ballroom in Davenport.

From its inception Silver Laughter focused on vocals and harmony, matched with the power of a driving rhythm section and lead guitar. During these early years, the band wrote and performed a few originals which became favorites of their fans. 
In 1971 Denny Walton was added (guitar/ harmonica/ vocals). Denny brought a strong influence of up-tempo blues, and along with Steveís occasional cross-over to pedal steel guitar, the band expanded its repertoire. Silver Laughter also expanded its playing area, often playing up to 150 mile radius.

1974 would result in being a year of significant change. John Carstensen left the band and Mark Zaputil, a young guitar enthusiast, joined as the band began playing 3-4 nights per week. In August, Jon and Kim were at the Des Moines State Fair enjoying the music in the Teen Village when they saw an advertisement for a booking agency in West Des Moines. Upon meeting Rick Geisler, the two (although exhausted) realized that a new era was about to unfold for Silver Laughter. The band was managed by Geislerís assistant, Art Stenstrom, who eventually split off to found Entertainment Services Concept and helped guide their recording efforts.

Starting several weeks later, Silver Laughter began playing 6 nights a week throughout the Midwest. The change to playing on the road and being away took its toll however, as within six months Steve, Denny and Mark decided to return to Davenport. Although saddened by the departure of their friends, Jon and Kim were determined to continue and began contacting their family of musicians. First to be recruited was a teenage friend of Jonís, Mick Orton (bass/ vocals). Jon and Mick had started their first band in junior high in 1965. Mick had joined The Contents Are, who later became Columbia recording artists Tabernash. Next was Ken Wiles (lead guitar/ vocals), another friend from Davenport who had played in Ivory Coast.

The new powerhouse of four musicians would now be booked continuously, 6-nights a week for what would become a five-year stint. In 1975, the band arranged a multimedia Beatles tribute show, consisting of two 45-minute medleys of Beatlesí hits along with a visual history shown on two side-stage screens. The band also formed an International Fan Club during the road years, and stayed in touch with their fans through a fan club newsletter.

In 1976 Silver Laughter recorded their first Album, ďHandle with CareĒ (Fanfare Records 4060). The album consists of 11 originals and included a guest appearance by Steve Elliott. Shortly after the completion of the album, Jonís brother, Kim, decided to take a detour to college.

In mid-1976 Paul Staack (drums) joined the band. In late 1977 and early 1978, Silver Laughter recorded its premier album ďSailing on FantasiesĒ at the acclaimed West Ministír Sound studio in Otho, Ia. (Fanfare Records 4070). As with the first album, the 14 songs were all originals, primarily coming from the pen of Jon Ludtke/Mick Orton. In Dec of 1978, Kim rejoined the band upon the departure of Paul, and Silver laughter continued to tour until performing their last gig on 5 May, 1979.

Nearly thirty-five years after that final performance, Silver Laughter was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2014. Five past members, Jon and Kim Ludtke, Mick Orton, Paul Staack and Mark Zaputil comprised the band that performed for the induction concert on August 31, 2014.

Preserving the Silver Laughter legacy, The Silvers continue to record new music. More information on Silver Laughter may be found at their website, www.silver-laughter.com.

 

 

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