Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blue Shoes - Someone Like You

A1. Someone Like You

A2. Hey

B. Better

BLUE SHOES (Phoenix, AZ)
Someone Like You EP
Living Room (37559), 1980

Husband and wife duo DR Wilke and Peggy Murphy spent their nights as a hotel lounge act in the late 70s. After hearing the The Ramones and Pezband, they decided they wanted to do original material. So they put out a "want" ad in the New Times and auditioned musicians. Once they had Troy Janzen, Richard Dye, and Jim Allen in place, the band was coined Blue Shoes.

They started gigging around the Tempe/Phoenix area regularly and ventured into Tucson, Yuma, Flagstaff, and other parts of Arizona as well. Their set consisted of originals that conveyed a positive message of love and happiness, while incorporating covers of their favorite songs by Cheap Trick, The Cars, Police, etc. The band built a strong local following and received some regional airplay. They even earned their way onto bills opening for the Ramones, Vapors and Talking Heads. Their biggest outing was at the Mesa Amphitheater where they took the stage in front of 3,000 people supporting Ian Hunter.

The band did a lot of recording and released four records in their three year tenure. The first was a mini LP called "Put On Blue Shoes," which contained six originals and a Beatles cover. On it is a ballad called "Better" that's in the vein of the Raspberries/Badfinger. The song was recently featured in an episode of the TV show Bones. "Put On Blue Shoes" saw two pressings of 500 copies each and they also shopped it around on cassette.

After the LP, they released the EP featured here. The song "Someone Like You" is the standout track. It encompasses everything perfect about the power pop genre. The production is absolutely stellar with crystal clear instrumentation, perfect guitar tones, snappy drums, and the harmonies are spot-on with a chorus that is mesmerizing. The track was included on volume six of the Teenline series. "Hey" shares the A-Side and is a worthy contender which doesn't have as instant appeal, but grows nicely with repeat listens. The B-Side contains the song "Better" that was featured on their previous release.

The follow-up to "Someone Like You" was another EP that had two re-recorded songs from their earlier LP, "Disco Bucks" and "Tonight," as well as a cover of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman." The final Blue Shoes release was a single with "Startin' The Day With A Song" and "Kerry." Both records were on the Living Room label.

Jim, who played in a punk band called The Consumers before joining Blue Shoes, left the band several months later because he was getting burned out playing bars and not feeling camaraderie with a scene heavily induced with drugs. Not being able to find a suitable replacement, the band eventually added electronic drums in his place and continued on as a four piece, changing the name to Red Alert. As things continued to dissipate, Peggy and DR found themselves playing as a duo again, this time calling themselves The Last Word.

Different forms of Blue Shoes emerged in the early 90s playing many of the old songs until Peggy and DR eventually parted ways. A CD compilation called "The Best Of Blue Shoes" was recently released on the Fervor Records label, but mysteriously leaves off "Someone Like You." A follow up CD called "Beyond The Best" is scheduled for an April 2011 release and will feature material that was never before released.

The video below was filmed in their home town in 1980.

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