West Minist'r was a garage psych rock band from Fort Dodge and Gowrie, Iowa. Gowrie had a population of just above 1000 in the 1960s, the time period that this band emerged. Sometimes the best stuff comes from the smallest places. This band is yet another inductee into the Iowa Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame, and you can read a short history about them here.
Like the Enoch Smoky 45, I had only ever heard the a-side of this record, as the song was featured in a few comps here and there throughout the years and it was widely available on the internet. I could never find a rip of the b-side of this record online and I had never heard it until my friend Nash gave me a copy of this single. Thanks buddy!
The a-side of this record, "Bright Lights, Windy City", opens with a pretty and haunting riff right before rocketing head first into a depressive rocker. Despite forlorn notes from a very lonely sounding organ looming through the background of this tune, this song is not "spooky" by any means, but a perfect example of small town midwest depression that you can really feel when the chorus kicks off - "Bright lights, windy city, I wanna go home. Long nights don't seem so pretty when you're alone." Each chorus is capped off with an amazing near anti-solo and the walking basslines leading into each new part are fantastic. The sample of the blowing wind at the end really makes sure that depression is setting in. A bummer of a song all around, but it's a joy to listen to. The b-side song, "Carnival", is a slower, sparse rocker. A little more chilled out on the depression vibe of the a-side, it's still a little bit of a bummer in a nostalgic way nonetheless. The organ lines at the end of the choruses are a nice touch and catchy in their own right. It's a good flipside and a great contrast to the a-side. Man, these guys are bummed.
Well, enough chit chat, download the West Minist'r "Bright Light, Windy City" b/w "Carnival" 45 single on Razzberry below. This band did have another 45 single out there and, again, I've only heard the a-side of that, so I'll try and track that record down sooner or later.
West Minist'r - "Bright Lights, Windy City" b/w "Carnival" 45 - 1968 (??)
1. Bright Lights, Windy City (3:06)
2. Carnival (3:45)
Click here to download.