Kearney Barton: Architect of the Northwest Sound (2LP)

VariousSKU: LITA168-1



When Seattle-based recording engineer Kearney Barton died in 2012, the 80 year-old studio veteran had spent the past 50 years recording the cream of the Seattle music scene through the decades. The Fleetwoods, Quincy Jones, The Ventures, The Wailers, The Sonics, Ann Wilson (Heart), The Frantics, The Kingsmen, and Dave Lewis to name a few. Barton also captured Seattle’s vibrant 1960s-70s R&B and soul scene, including Black On White Affair and Soul Swingers, among others, as documented in Light in the Attic’s Wheedle’s Groove series. In his later years Barton’s old school reputation drew in contemporary bands like Young Fresh Fellows, The Smugglers, The Minus 5, and The A-Bones into his studio. Essentially, when a local unknown band wanted to make a demo tape, or record their debut album, or perhaps someone just wanted to capture their uncle playing banjo or their kid sister’s first songs, they’d go to Barton’s studio.

There were 7,000 reel-to-reel tapes piled up in Barton’s house at the time of his passing. The University of Washington carefully cataloged these tapes, and former Sub Pop employee Dan Trager (who had learned the art of recording from Kearney years earlier as a student) began listening and taking notes. With input from a team drawn from the university and Light in the Attic, Dan compiled a shortlist of essential tracks that would form the basis of this compilation.

Kearney Barton: Architect of the Northwest Sound is a comprehensive document of Seattle in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. It is also a testament to Barton’s life-long dedication to the art of recording. It includes long out of print recordings originally released by local labels such as Jerden, Topaz, Piccadilly, and Etiquette Records. It covers a wide range of genres: sitar and balalaika players, gospel church choirs, unknown garage bands, steel drums, obscure soul artists and teenage a cappella singers. There’s also some familiar names here: Sonics, Wailers, a young pre-Heart Ann Wilson, Larry Coryell making his first ever studio recordings with Chuck Mahaffay, the Hudson Brothers long before they were on TV.

1 Kearney Barton Introduction 0:22
2 Woody Carr & The Entertainers Hey Little One 2:57
3 Ann Wilson & The Daybreaks Looking Through Eyes Of Grass 3:15
4 The Black On White Affair Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother 2:56
5 Occupation Soul Occupation Soul 2:17
6 James Henry & The Olympics Sticky 2:42
7 Valamont Dig That Crazy Jam Session 0:11
8 Serge Lusgins & His Russian Balalaika Orchestra Two Guitars 3:43
9 Valamont Ooze 0:06
10 Tropical Rainstorm Steel Band Flying Bird 3:57
11 Prabha Devi Spanish Harlem 2:47
12 Secret Dynamics Happy 2:57
13 Kearney Barton Introducing A New Concept 0:03
14 Beacon Hill First Baptist Choir Hold To God's Unchanging Hand 3:24
15 Sweet Rolle Everybody Knows 3:51
16 MUF (3) Wrong Age 2:58
17 Kearney Barton With Five Types Of Music 0:02
18 Wilkins Qui El Petit 1:43
19 Fox-Brownsmith Gold + Mellow 3:42
20 Keith Kessler Sunshine Morning 3:01
21 Chuck Mahaffay & The Individuals (12) Bossa Nada 2:30
22 Patty Waters For All We Know 5:31
23 Dave Lewis (4) Mmm Mmm Mmm 2:35
24 Tiki & The Fabulons* Don't Ask Me 2:49
25 The Sonics He's Waitin' 2:36
26 The Magic Fern High Flyer 1:34
27 The Cuidads Blind Love 1:46
28 The Wailers (2) All My Nights, All My Days 3:08
29 Fury Four Mr. Blue 3:03

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