Gadfly Records is proud to announce the first-ever reissue of The Contenders, the landmark self-titled release from the popular roots-rock band comprised of Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood, Steve Runkle, Jimbeau Walsh, and Tommy Goldsmith. Gadfly's reissue includes extended liner notes, photos and 3 bonus tracks produced by Don Dixon for the group's never-released follow-up album.
FROM THE LINER NOTES: This re-release of the Contenders' only album, along with some previously unreleased recordings with producer Don Dixon, is a document of a short-lived venture that yielded a remarkable blending of American roots music.
From 1976 until June 1978, the Nashville-based Contenders - Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood, Steve Runkle, Tommy Goldsmith and Jimbeau Walsh - got together, toured from New York City to San Antonio, built a cult following, made some memorable recordings and broke up. The recordings re-issued here represent a significant part of the group s legacy.
'They were wonderful - just a kind of unique band,' says Dixon, himself a one-of-a-kind music maker whose credits just begin with REM's Murmur.
Says Willis Alan Ramsey, the legendary Texas singer-songwriter: 'They were five of the most interesting musicians I know, and they were all in one band.'
From the cuts chosen here from the band's wealth of songs, we have Hyatt's swinging Lean on Your Mind; Goldsmith's Talk, a rocker that would have done George Harrison proud; Hood's Whatever Reason, reminiscent of Carolina beach music; and Runkle's rhythm-and-bluegrass anthem of love and home, Light From Carolina. With Bob Wills-inspired twin guitar parts, driving rock and roll, sophisticated chord structures, and harmonies based on everything from mountain music to the Beatles to the Coasters, this collection will bring to mind a wide assortment of styles and better-known artists.
'They were just a magnet for all the different influences,' Ramsey says. 'You couldn t throw too much at them. They could incorporate it all into their sound. 'It was just always intuitive and pure. Pure love of the music was where they were coming from. They took many forms of music and instilled them into their own unique songs.'