When we first posted our copy of Dave Major and the Minors’ first album here on the Hymie’s blog, we heard from people all over the midwest who remembered them. They were a touring show band who played mostly pop covers and worked a circuit of hotel lounges from Minnesota to Ohio. Fan recollected residencies in places as varied as the Blue Moon Ballroom in Elgin, IL and the New Inn in Okoboji, IA. From another fan we learned the tragic story of Dave Major’s death in 2000. He was shot in a gunfight with police in Dekalb, IL after attempting to kill his ex-wife and killing two others in the process (this, of course, the same Dekalb we talked with local musician Dan Newton about just a few months ago in an interview here). Its a heartbreaking story, but its nice to know that the memories of Dave Major and the Minors still bring joy to people who saw them perform in the 70s.
Here are our original posts of the two Dave Major and the Minors albums we have found. There is a third we hope to one day share here on the blog, too:
Albums by bands like Dave Major and the Minors are fairly rare, considering that they were privately-pressed and released, but not often particularly valuable. They’re sometimes called “souvenir albums.” And with that in mind, here is a favorite souvenir album that we recently found. Get ready to put yourself in Jon David’s Mood…
This classic souvenir album doesn’t have an address anywhere. There’s no record label. The photograph on the back is credited to “Dave Schuessler Photography Chicago.” The album turned up here in a record collection somebody brought into the shop, but it could have come from Chicago or Milwaukee or any other upper midwest city.
Jon David’s Mood starts out a little funkier than the two Dave Major and the Minors records we have posted, but takes a left turn in the first track when it turns into a loveable polka standard, “In Heaven there is no Beer.” From there the album takes a number of unexpected turns, and if it weren’t for the band’s irrepressible sincerity the album wouldn’t survive the bumpy trip. Each performer on the record is credited with more than one instrument – Bob D’Innocenzo performs on eight instruments and sings – and there is no Jon David! John Farrell is listed as “leader, arranger…” Why are these guys called Jon David’s Mood? Who names a band that?!
“Foot Stompin’ Music / In Heaven there is no Beer”
“The Lonely Bull”
The album features a more adult-contemporary set list than the Dave Major and the Minors albums, which tended towards jazz and rhythm and blues. Jon David’s Mood includes a fun arrangement of “The Lonely Bull” (which recalls the Ventures version on Telstar) alongside a theatrical arrangement of “Mr. Bojangles.” At the end of the first side they perform “If I Were a Rich Man” in a way that walks the line between lampoon and genuine appreciation, and then a hilariously sincere version of the theme from Shaft. These two tracks contain a few moments of brilliance, and several of brilliant awkwardness.
“If I Were a Rich Man”
I grew up loving albums like Jon David’s Mood simply because they introduced me to standards like “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Shaft.” Growing up near a suburban Goodwill store I spent a lot of time and a fairly small amount of money on albums like this, never once considering the fact that they may have been rare and valuable (as a kid I owned and gave away more than one copy of the Lewis Connection because it was, for a time, a fairly common local thrift store find). Are they great records? I guess not. But are they a lot of fun to listen to? I guess that’s subjective. I think so.