The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

 |   |  1 min read

The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

Bob Walkenhorst of Kansas City's Rainmakers had a good line about his fellow Americans' willingness to get out of it.

"The generation that would change the world is still looking for its car keys."

The smart line came from the song Drinkin' on the Job off the band's self-titled, major label album in '86 ("Everybody's drunk, everybody's wasted, everybody's stoned and there's nothing that's gonna change it") and in some circles that had Walkenhorst labelled as a wowser Right Winger.

On the other hand however their minor hit Let My People Go-Go which quoted loosely from the Bible (and Little Richard) had him pinned as anti-religious and a blasphemer.

Oh, and the song Government Cheese -- written after the Reagan government got rid of surplus cheese by handing out free dairy products to those on welfare -- had him described as anti-welfare.

"It was a very degrading sight," he said. "A van would pull up in a busy street and people would be given these little boxes with cheese in them. Because it was something for nothing everyone tried cheating the rules to get more than their fair share and it ended up with big fights in the street over pieces of cheese. I thought, 'Christ, have these people no respect for themselves?' "

When he added he'd done menial jobs "but at least I was doing something and kept my dignity" and observed "American people just don't seem to have any pride" you just knew he was also going to be accused of being anti-American.

Walkenhorst was a guy who spoke his mind . . . but also rocked out. And they were smart too, not just any band would be knowing enough to put a coded Thomas Hart Benton painting on their album cover.

One part Jason and the Scorchers/Georgia Satellites, a touch of Dylan's Highway 61 and a lot of post-modern rock'n'roll references, Let My People Go-Go was the most successful song of the band's career (which largely disappeared after this album, aside from in Scandanavia where they were always well received).

And Walkenhorst was typically mouthy and as unapologetic about it as he was when talking up Government Cheese.

"God quoting Little Richard, why not? God probably gets a kick out of Little Richard. I don't know if that offends anyone. But I hope so. I hope someone out there is getting pissed off."

Gee, who knew the guy who wrote Big Fat Blonde three years previous ("That song riled people because it sounded so terribly sexist, which it is") would want to get people's hackles up?  

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Gurus: Shelley in Camp (1968)

Gurus: Shelley in Camp (1968)

The '68 film Wild in the Streets had a helluva cast: mad Shelley Winters as a hippie convert then chewing up the scenery, Hal Holbrook as a shrewd politico seething as only Hal could do; Richard... > Read more

Toni Basil: Nobody (1982)

Toni Basil: Nobody (1982)

Is there a more annoying song than Toni Basil's inanely catchy Mickey ("Oh Mickey you're so fine . . . hey Mickey" etc)? It's the kind of song you wake up with banging around inside... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: Womad; Sounds of the Planet 2011 (Border)

Various Artists: Womad; Sounds of the Planet 2011 (Border)

A Womad festival -- like the Big Day Out -- rather sells itself these days: many people will go knowing only a couple of names in the line-up but will make discoveries on the day. This 14 track... > Read more

Joan Osborne: Taking qawwali to the kids

Joan Osborne: Taking qawwali to the kids

Burlington in Vermont was just starting to take on the complexion of winter when I dropped out of the sky into its verdant beauty. Little wafts of snow were blown around the trunks of the trees and... > Read more