HGR CD Review: Now and Then - The State College Music Scene 1968-2012

(VARIOUS ARTISTS) – NOW AND THEN: THE STATE COLLEGE MUSIC SCENE 1968-2012 (Apache Records) With its transient student population, the State College area has hosted many talented and diverse musical acts over the years and up to the present day. State College-based indie record label Apache Records undertook the mission of celebrating Happy Valley’s rich musical heritage with Now and Then: The State College Music Scene 1968-2012, a two-disc set celebrating area music from 1968 to now. Proceeds from sales of the set go to Happy Valley Cares, which helps child abuse victims. The first disc, “Then,” celebrates State College music from 1968 to 1990. The oldest representation is from 1968, the Woolly Thumpers’ playful folk-rock number “Come Closer.” Some of State College’s most legendary band names are represented on this half of the set; including Menagerie’s “Wrong About You,” Cartoon’s “In My Dreams Tonight,” Backseat Van Gogh’s timely 1980 pop anthem “Catch a New Wave,” Tahoka Freeway’s “Light Rain,” Code: Blue’s spirited “(You’re So Busy),” Queen Bee & the Blue Hornet Band’s “Take Your Lies Home to Mama,” Sideshow Bob’s “As She Says” and more. The “Now” disc, of course, spans 1990 to present (2012, the year this set was issued). A few of the acts here have since folded, such as the popular Sona and their 2001 track “Birdsong” and Katsu’s 2001 song “Walkaway.” But many current State College and area performers represent, such as Felix & the Hurricanes with “Grow,” Ted McCloskey’s “Dancing As Fast As I Can,” Triple A Blues Band’s “Call Home Blues,” My Hero Zero’s “Make Some Noise,” The Nightcrawlers’ “Place in the Dark,” Mama Corn’s “Fallen Leaves,” Harold Taddy’s “Buon Giorno,” Pure Cane Sugar’s “My Favorite Song” and others. Produced by Daniel Collins and mastered by Bill Filer at Audible Images Recording, Now and Then sounds consistent throughout, with the best quality brought out of the older recordings, some which were originally issued through prehistoric analog media such as vinyl records and tape. A little more background information on the performers – especially the older groups – might have made this set more complete; but as is, Now and Then still captures a nice chunk of State College area music past and present, and offers a good crash course in the Happy Valley music scene’s heritage to those curious in exploring where it has been and where it is now. (The compilation can be purchased through Apache Records’ website, www.apachemusic.net.)