Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Before there was a Columbus band called The Godz, there was Mixed Water. Based on the strength of a demo they sent to Elektra Records, Mixed Water was signed in 1972. In a sterling example of a label bumbling their handling of a band, Elektra changed their name to Capital City Rockets and dressed them up as a roller derby team for their album cover photo shoot. But let’s try to erase that from our minds and pretend that Mixed Water released an album called Capital City Rockets with super cool cover art. Once I did that, I was pleasantly surprised by this no-frills rock album.
Elektra - EKS-75059
Guitarist Bob Hill started Mixed Water, stealing guitarist Michael “Bopper” Warner and drummer Jerry Hertig from a band known as Hard Sauce. Eric Moore eventually joined on bass. Hill and Warner shared songwriting duties.
After Mixed Water sent their demo to Elektra, they added a singer named Jamie Lyons who’d already been a rock star for a brief moment a few years earlier. In the mid-'60s, Lyons was playing in a Mansfield band called The Chosen Few. They were signed by bubblegum pop producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz (Super K Productions), who changed The Chosen Few’s name (sound familiar?) to The Music Explosion. The Music Explosion went on to record a song called Little Bit O’ Soul which went all the way to number two on the Billboard chart in the summer of ‘67. The band saw little of the profit from their hit and Lyons was already gone by the time The Music Explosion split in January ‘69.
With Lyons on board and a new name, Capital City Rockets recorded at Elektra’s studio in Los Angeles. The record sounds great to these ears. There’s something about ‘70s production ethos that just sounds right to me. You don’t notice the production, which is good. The mix is excellent. Jamie Lyons has a great voice and his style suits the music well. The songs are good if you’re not too partial to cerebral lyrics. They have a good-time party feel with solid, if unspectacular, musicianship. The dual guitars, panned left and right and trading off parts, add a lot to the mix. A few spins and songs like Little Bit O’ Fun (a nod to Little Bit O’ Soul?) and Breakfast In Bed will start to stick in your head. Grab Your Honey has a ‘50s rock feel, while at other times dual leads provide shades of southern rock. Think Black Oak Arkansas mixed with prototypical Kiss or The Guess Who.
People Are Losing betrays some Beatles influence with a distict Don't Let Me Down feel. Breakfast In Bed was the first single and features a tinny lead with fast vibrato that sounds straight out of ‘60s San Fran. It got some airplay and was a minor regional hit, but despite “a major promotional advertising drive” from Elektra, the album didn’t sell. I wasn’t able to locate any national ads. For the most part, it was ignored critically or ripped apart ("Awful. Just Awful." - Allmusic, "The music is crummy." - David Christgau).
There are some fans out there, however. You can check out reviews from Something Else! and It's Great Shakes!. Judge for yourself, but I dig it. This would be the band’s only record and they’d split up after just a few years. Wounded Bird Records released the album on CD in 2010. Eric Moore would go on to found The Godz in 1975 and Bob Hill would join him in the band soon after. Drummer Jerry Hertig would play with Adrian Belew. But those are stories for another day.
Record Company – Warner Communications Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Elektra Records
Copyright (c) – Elektra Records
Published By – Gibsongs
Published By – Deep Fruit Music
Engineered At – Elektra Sound Recorders
Remixed At – Elektra Sound Recorders
Mastered At – Elektra Sound Recorders
Art Direction, Design – Robert L. Heimall
Bass – Eric Moore
Congas – Bobbye Hall
Drums – Jerry Hertig
Engineer, Remix – Fritz Richmond
Guitar, Vocals – Robert Hill, Michael (Bopper) Warner
Lead Vocals – Jamie Lyons
Photography By – Ed Caraeff
Piano – Gregory Prestopino
Producer – Michael Rosa