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The Coctails

Progenitors of the lounge revival movement, kitsch-pop icons the Coctails formed in Kansas City in 1989; making their debut at an area art gallery clad in matching yellow tuxedos complete with maroon bowties. The group (singers/multi-instrumentalists Archer Prewitt, Mark Greenberg, John Upchurch, and Barry Phipps) forged a unique, eclectic sound celebrating the sound and imagery of '50s-era space age bachelor pad music, drawing influence from everyone from Miles Davis to Martin Denny. After issuing their 1990 debut EP Hip Hip Hooray on their own Hi Ball label, the Coctails adopted a slightly less whimsical approach for the 1991 full-length Here Now Today, the first major step forward in the band's continued creative development. A relocation to Chicago preceded the release of the Songs for Children EP, while with 1992's The Long Sound, the Coctails abandoned their pop leanings altogether in favor of straight-faced jazz instrumentals, collaborating with the likes of veteran jazzman Hal Russell and reed virtuoso Ken Vandermark.

As the Coctails' notoriety grew, they emerged as something of a cottage industry; in addition to operating their own labels (Hi-Ball and its sister imprint Carrot Top), the band produced a series of handmade novelty items ranging from dolls to calendars. After issuing a pair of 1993 EPs -- 3/4 Time and the Christmas-themed Winter Wonderland -- the group returned to their pop roots the following year with Peel, their most fully realized effort. The Coctails' self-titled finale was released December 31, 1995, the date of their farewell live performance (preserved for posterity on the Live at Lounge Ax, Chicago disc); in the wake of the band's demise Prewitt continued with his work in the Sea and Cake, later issuing several superb solo records, while Greenberg recorded with wife Anne-Marie as the Log Letters. The Coctails reunited January 15, 2000, for a one-time-only gig in honor of Lounge Ax's final night of business. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Popcorn Box

Disc 1

1. Grassland

2. Dark Green

3. Luke? Luke?

4. The Hell To Pay

5. Fins, Limbs And Wings

6. Alderaan

7. Lights Of A Satellite

8. Spinning

9. Circles

10. City Sun

11. Cadali

12. Even Time

13. Grace

14. Twilight For Henry

15. Peel

16. Starling

17. Traveling Circus

19. Rose Selavy

Disc 2

1. Aba Dabba Do Dance

2. Penguin / Powerhouse

3. Woodbee

4. Working Holiday

5. Fennel

6. Holiday In Paradise

7. Potch In The Tuchus

8. Snorer's Wife

9. Theme From Mr. Pillow

10. Ferris Wheel

11. Hey Ho

12. Walt's Waltz

13. Donut Shoppe (False Start)

14. Donut Shoppe

15. Down In The Crypt

16. Road Hog

17. Ghost Town

18. Pedigree

19. Molasses

20. All In A Day

21. Wheels

22. Why?

Disc 3

1. Skeleton Bones

2. Monkeys And Seals

3. Transcalography

4. Steam

5. Tar Pit

6. Hip Hop

7. Trumpet Song

8. DEVO Corporate Anthem

9. Leap Year Day

10. Marseilles

11. Skeleton (Prelude)

12. Tenement

13. Gripper Bite

14. Black Cricket

x

Track List: Live At Lounge Ax

1. Skeleton Bones (Live)

2. Wood Bee (Live)

3. First Snowfall (Live)

4. Whoopsy Daisy (Live)

5. Don't Got Time (Live)

6. Even Time (Live)

7. Miss Maple (Live)

8. Cast Stones (Live)

9. Low Road (Live)

10. Cadali (Live)

11. New Organ (Live)

12. The Tingler (Live)

13. The Penguin / Powerhouse (Live)

14. Florence (Live)

15. And You Could (Live)

16. Wheels (Live)

17. Walkin' Down The Street (Live)

18. Talkin' Bout My Baby (Live)

19. Why (Live)

x

Track List: The Coctails

1. When I Come Around

2. Circles

3. City Sun

4. Cadali

5. So Low

6. Grace

7. Starling

8. Never Knew

9. Low Road

10. Hey

11. Sun Is Down

12. Cast Stones

13. Last Organ

x

Track List: Long Sound

1. Steam

2. China Song

3. Monkeys And Seals

4. Stray Horn

5. Tenement

6. Twilight For Henry

7. Waterlogged

8. Clown's Coffee

9. Far East

10. Gripper Bite

x

Track List: Peel

1. Miss Maple

2. Peel

3. And You Could

4. Daylight

5. Postcard

6. Wicked Ways

7. Weather King

8. 2000

9. Moment Of The Day

10. Cottonbelt

11. Even Time

x

Track List: The Early Hi-Ball Years

1. Whoopsy Daisy

2. Road Hog

3. Wet Suit

4. Intermission

5. Talkin' About My Baby

6. Clown's Coffee

7. Walkin' Down The Street

8. Mr. E. Claffn

9. Martin Denny's Sake Rock

10. Bold Rat

11. West Couch Place

12. It's All Right

13. Since October

14. Don't Got Time

15. City Gone

16. In A Tub

17. Dom Casual

18. Jobless

19. Old Gray Mule

20. Cakewalk

21. China Song

22. Florence

23. Prisoner Of The Highway

24. Waiting For Godot

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Boring. When you have to come up with gimmicks you become an act rather than musicians. Selling novelty items like dolls ? Gimme a break
Report as inappropriate
Luke? Luke? ...love it
Report as inappropriate
paulmurphy10
me likey
Report as inappropriate
The live shows were something to behold. Its too bad they split up... good run though... Good times in KCMO and Lawrence, KS. Even went as far as Manhattan, KS to see them once. Gotta love banjo feedback.

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