V/A - Buttons: From Campaign To Chicago

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Used/open copy. from the label: "From Champaign To Chicago is a 19-track survey of Illinois’ Cheapest Tricks. Reaching back to 1973’s Peoria outliers the Jets and winding up in 1987 with Romeoville’s Julian Leal and his Dick Clark-approved “Get Away,” From Champaign To Chicago connects, via map, pins, and string, the various scenes that pockmarked the face of the Land of Lincoln. Chicago’s Prettyboys, Tom Orsi, All-Night Newsboys, Kevin Lee & Heartbeat, Band Jocks, Northshore, Paul, the Kind, and Loose Lips are tethered to Rockford’s the Names; Champaign’s Vertebrats, Contra-Band, and the Nines; LaSalle’s the Jerks; Joliet’s Lay-Z; and Zion’s Shoes...through the clubs, booking agents, weekly newspapers, and regional radio stations they were all fighting for access to. Our CD edition has been given Numero's signature treatment, complete with exhaustive histories of each band’s sonic contribution"

From AMG: "4 stars. Maybe it's something in the water (or in Old Style beer), but Illinois has a rich history as the Midwest's Mecca for power pop; in the 1970s and early ‘80s, the Land of Lincoln was home to hundreds of bands that were serving up soaring melodies, guitar-powered hooks, earnest vocal harmonies, dancefloor-filling rhythms, and as much Beatles-like personality as they could muster. Cheap Trick were the Illinois band who were able to sell updated pop to the masses that filled the arenas, and Shoes proved a band could rise from a basement studio and score a major-label deal and international attention, but the vast majority of Illinois power pop bands played the clubs for a few years, left behind some demo tapes or self-released singles, and then vanished without a trace. The archivists at the Numero Group pay loving homage to the glory days of Illinois power pop with Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago, a compilation that features 19 lost classics of Midwest pop, most of which are as hopelessly obscure as any record collector could wish. Shoes are represented with one early track, "In My Arms Again," but for the rest of the acts, claims to fame are a bit dubious -- the Names were featured in the memorably clumsy low-budget horror flick Terror on Tour, the Vertebrats' "Left in the Dark" was later covered by the Replacements and Uncle Tupelo (Numero Group, of course, has chosen to feature their lesser-known "Diamonds in the Rough" instead), and the All Night Newsboys were the victims of a notorious practical joke in which their roadie was paid to vanish with their gear the night they were set to open for Heart and John Cougar Mellencamp, with several major-label scouts in attendance. And while most of these bands came of age in the New Wave era, "Be for Me" by the Jets, recorded in 1973, makes it clear that the pop underground was lurking about in Illinois long before skinny ties made their comeback. The pleasant surprise is how uniformly good these bands are -- while a few tunes mostly get by on their energy and charm, "It's a Miracle" by the Names is a brilliant Cheap Trick rip; "Holiday" by Nines is manna from Farfisa heaven; "So Lifelike" by the Jerks is a sly and catchy variation on the theme of the Who's "Pictures of Lily," and if Band of Jocks had the worst name ever, "At Practice" is pretty brilliant. Anyone who ever had a taste for a cool hook in the pre-Reagan era will fall like a ton of bricks for Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago, and younger pop enthusiasts will be wowed by its strength and variety."