WHAM-A-RAMA Shut Up And Kiss Me (1983)
TWO FAR GONE Two Far Gone (1988)

Shut Up And Kiss Me (1983)
Mitch Easter-Produced Rarity

When the New Wave trickled down to individual markets in the US, it provided fresh-faced kids with an open door to their local music scenes, via catchy, skinny-tie rock ‘n roll tailor-made for a new wave of young club goers. Every regional music fanatic {insert city here} remembers a band or two that, while never making it nationally, was as beloved as any big name act – if only for their bar-side accessibility and the simple fix a fun live show could provide. So, don’t be surprised if this post appeals mostly to those few readers who fondly recall Central Florida pop faves, Wham-A-Rama. Their sound and style should be recognizable to veteran listeners; snappy and upbeat new wave rock, with a snare-tight recording budget (produced by the great Mitch Easter) and an infectious enthusiasm that’s still as easy to appreciate as a Nick Lowe 45. In vocalist/leader Jim Boylston, Wham-A-Rama boasted a singer with a bright-eyed, soulful appeal, and pop chops to spare. Shut Up And Kiss Me, their only release, is a 6-song/12-inch, lovingly dated slab of vinyl that should rekindle memories for those whose local, live music baptism took place in the pre-cynical early 80s. To that end, we’re also including a handful of rare live recordings, unheard by anybody… unless, that is, you just happened to be sitting in front of the band that particular night. To outsiders hearing all this for the first time – 30 years after the fact – consider this post a tribute to a bygone era of youthful, musical innocence that’s now sadly lost to history. Those were the days.

Shut Up And Kiss Me EP
Shut Up And Kiss Me (3:03)
One Good Deed (2:08)
Shut Me Out (2:21)
Some Kind Of Clue (2:33)
Perfect Heart (3:33)
December (2:47)

Unreleased Material (1984)
The Price Of Love (Live) (2:38)
Stop Messin’ Me Around (Live) (2:28)
Shut Up And Kiss Me (Live) (3:17)
Another Perfect Night (Live) (2:55)
December (90’s Studio Version) (3:35)

Two Far Gone (1988)
What A Difference A Few Years Make

Vocalist/songwriter Jim Boylston and multi-instrumentalist Mark Michel (a new recruit to Wham-A-Rama’s post-EP stage show) created a new avenue for their songwriting partnership via Central Florida’s King Snake Records – a fledgling regional label that would later morph into a well-respected southern blues independent by the 1990s. Two Far Gone, the label’s 11th release, is a petri dish of smart songwriting, winning vocals and soulful/rockin’/countrified pop. A mixed bag of styles with consistently good (self) production, bolstered by horn charts, pedal steels and rollicking keyboards. “Barbara” should find favor amongst Dave Edmunds fans (killer lyric alert: “I drink and drink but I still don’t feel right, I end up like Charles Bukowski on a bad night”), while “The Silent Type” displays an appreciation for Nick Lowe’s style book, down to the doubled keyboard solo and repeated fade. The authentic country/drinking anthem, “Alcohol Of Fame,” by itself rates a star on the Nashville Walk Of Fame. Oddly, or maybe not, Boylston would eventually exit the music biz and co-author a book about famed frontiersman Davy Crockett, entitled David Crockett In Congress: The Rise And Fall Of The Poor Man’s Friend (HERE). So it goes.

Lover’s Leap (2:50)
Barbara (3:15)
The Silent Type (2:18)
Backfield In Motion (2:43)
Too Cool To Care (2:05)
Man Without A Heart (2:53)
Next Best Thing (To Being Alone) (2:48)
Alcohol Of Fame (2:02)
Every Little Trick In The Book Of Love (2:49)
Another Perfect Night (2:45)

23 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    September 21, 2012 - 08:57 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • 2
    Bruce
    September 22, 2012 - 06:27 | Permalink

    Awesome stuff, Cap. Thanks!

  • 3
    Eremenko
    September 22, 2012 - 07:20 | Permalink

    Thanks

  • 4
    Duncan Walls
    September 22, 2012 - 08:02 | Permalink

    Don’t know how I missed these guys unless they were SO regional they never got their music up to the Northeast past the coast. Always cool to find something new and good. I trust your tastes, Willard.

    • 5
      Willard
      September 22, 2012 - 10:40 | Permalink

      I might be a little biased about W-A-R, but back in my collecting days I used to stumble across “local” bands all the time and wonder how they got missed. Thanks for chiming in, as always.

  • 6
    Stephen Allen
    September 22, 2012 - 10:17 | Permalink

    Willard-Thanks for the post. I was the bass player in Whamarama and was fortunate to work with my friend Jim Boylston who was, and still is, a great songwriter. I appreciate the memories and the downloads since I don’t have a turntable…

    • 7
      Willard
      September 22, 2012 - 10:38 | Permalink

      Hi Stephen, thanks for the comment. Sorry I wasn’t more inclusive with the band’s players, but you know how it is with the singers… always hoggin’ the spotlight. You might be about the only person visiting this post that’s actually heard that live stuff. Thanks again.

  • 8
    puffnrandy
    September 22, 2012 - 16:25 | Permalink

    Being a North Carolina boy, I always like finding things Mitch Easter has something to do with. Thanks Cap’n W. As always, you find the coolest stuff.

  • 9
    Anonymous
    September 23, 2012 - 17:19 | Permalink

    This stuff sounds pretty good.

  • 10
    Stephen Allen
    September 24, 2012 - 10:09 | Permalink

    Willard-If I’m not mistaken, the live stuff was taken from the board when we opened for the Fixx at the Bob Carr auditorium in Orlando… 198?

  • 11
    Willard
    September 24, 2012 - 10:22 | Permalink

    November 25, 1984… maybe?

  • 12
    Anonymous
    September 24, 2012 - 11:11 | Permalink

    You are correct, sir.

  • 13
    slovenlyeric
    September 24, 2012 - 17:47 | Permalink

    Thank you very much for posting this. I pretty much picked up whatever I saw that Mitch Easter produced back then. I was almost always rewarded with recordings that I soon came to love. This looks to be exactly in line with that.

  • 14
    Mark Michel
    September 25, 2012 - 12:56 | Permalink

    Willard- Thanks for posting and the kind review. We recorded 4 tracks locally (including studio versions of Another Perfect Night and Stop Messin Me Around) for a second LP and we had conversations with producers such as Will Birch, Willie Mitchell and Don Dixon , but alas it never happened. The Two Far Gone LP was originally intended as a Wham A Rama side project ala Nuts & Bolts- the Richard Barone/James Mastro’s Bongos side project with was a favorite at the time.

    • 15
      Willard
      September 25, 2012 - 15:08 | Permalink

      Many thanks for the comment and additional info, Mark. I don’t really know Mitchell’s work, but I would have loved to hear what Dixon or Birch might have done on a follow up. Not that you really needed them, the production and instrumentation you managed yourselves is pretty impressive. Have you, yourself, released any commercially available material since TFG? Cheers.

  • 16
    Anonymous
    September 25, 2012 - 18:03 | Permalink

    Willie Mitchell produced most of the Al Green hits.

  • 18
    Mark Michel
    September 25, 2012 - 22:06 | Permalink

    Jim and I wrote a few songs for artists on Kingsnake/Alligator blues label (Lucky Peterson, Kenny Neal, Johnny Sansome, Dr Hector), but I was transfered to South Florida with my job and that was it for the music career. I have stayed in touch with Jim and Steve over the years.

  • 19
    Willard
    September 25, 2012 - 22:13 | Permalink

    Sorry to hear. Many thanks again for the insight and details, and this fine record.

  • 20
    Anonymous
    January 18, 2013 - 11:43 | Permalink

    Sad to report that Wham-A-Rama’s drummer, John Clixby, passed away last week. John was a real character, an all around good guy, and he’ll be missed. RIP, buddy.
    JB

  • 21
    Willard
    January 18, 2013 - 11:58 | Permalink

    That is sad. Thanks JB.

  • 22
    Indiana Scott
    April 9, 2013 - 13:24 | Permalink

    Williard, would you be able to re-up these files? Thank you much for your outstanding work!

    • 23
      Willard
      April 9, 2013 - 13:28 | Permalink

      Actually, the links are working fine. Always try MediaFire links a couple of times. They sometimes give false negatives.

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