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August 07, 2007


The Swill Man

Wow! This stuff is great! Who knew you could build a song around a color? And in my opinion, the production isn't restrained, it's just really low budget. That drum machine sounds like a 70's Roland model.


Oh, you can absolutely write whole songs around a color (in fact another Ken/Kenny, Ken Nordine, did it very well with his "Colors" concept album). However this kid's approach is very different from Nordine's, although both are pretty excellent in their own right.

Gwen (Thomas) Owen

Hi there,
My name is Gwen Owen, maiden name Thomas, and now- I know you didn't ask for my life story, but in a way by posting this entry (and the unbelievable fact that I would have found my way here at all considering I live in Seattle, WA and wasn't searching for this), you and the universe did: My mother is Ann M. Thomas who wrote these songs, and my father, Al, is responsible for the lettering on the cover of the album.

I never knew Kenny, as this album was recorded the year of my birth, but I heard a rumor that recently his family had these songs converted to be blastable over the intercom system at his place of work on his birthday, just to embarrass him. (So I am hoping he's okay, too.) Just to let you know, mom is doing great, although she didn't really continue down the song-writing path. I have, however, sort of picked up where she left off and, with her blessing, have just over the last year breathed new life into Sliver Productions as a place that, for starters, I can make my own music available to the public.

You can see what I've done with the label by checking out music by The Luckless Pedestrian (i.e., myself- by visiting myspace.com/TheLucklessPedestrian), and you can yet again see dear old dad's handy-work for the lettering on the album- a tradition I couldn't resist reinstating when I, myself, blew the dust of an old copy of Purple earlier this year and thought, "How great is it to keep it in the family?". Also- my older sister Beth sings backing vocals on much of it. It's a real family affair in a weird way. To me, Sliver (a "thin fragment or slice that has been shaved from something") primarily stands as a way of taking the fragments of things I have shaved from my roots (the song-writing gene, a producer's heart, some administrative skills, and a tiny sliver of a label) and honouring them in whatever way I best can. Hence the music I have made available via Sliver. I believe there is plenty more to come from Sliver, because you know how the big record companies are in these economic times... ;)

Thanks for a place to share, I am in total shock that someone found this record- and that note my mom wrote is so classic-Ann ("cassingles"- haha, oh mom). By the way, she is also responsible for the "French chick" and most of the backing vocals.

My entire week has been made by seeing this online. Thank you so much!!
- Gwen Owen

Ann M. Thomas

Good heavens! I was enduring a rainy, creeping commute in Seattle when my cell rang and it was daughter, Gwen, who alerted me to this find. So much surprises me about this:

First surprise? That this funky little 45 surfaced so far from the source. I bet I still have 100 of the 200 copies of this recording stuffed in a box somewhere in the basement (the first hundred were snapped up by Kenny's mom).

The promotional note is a bigger surprise. Pre-spell check era of letter writing was normally disastrous for me. I didn't find any typos. Who knew I could do that? How perfect that there was a little food dribble on the note to maintain the flaw quotient.

Al (Gwen's dad) and I are thrilled and delighted and hopeful that Gwen Owen that Luckless Pedestrian (and husband Gary) will continue the Sliver Productions label. Her music is fresh and challenges the mainstream in colorful ways. The apple has not fallen too far from the tree in that regard. But they definitely have the savvy and more polished talent to take it to the next level! Although I was the ethereal French chick in ’Scuse Me Sassoon-- my songstress days are a mere memory. My "slivers" are currently oriented to pie in the sky as I am now an ordained minister pastoring with joy and purpose in Seattle Washington where I continue to snip the labels off my designer clothes.

Thanks for including this in your blog. You’ve made this a day to grab your cash and dash on out to the grape-gum candy store! Let’s GO! 

Reverend Ann M. Thomas

Jerry and Alice Meyer (Kenny's parents)

We are Kenny's parents, and still call him "Kenny," even though most of his friends refer to him as "Ken!" We had the 45 rpm record converted to a CD (with an intermediary tape, and considerable editing by a recording class at our local vocational high school).

The CD's continue to multiply, thanks to "burning" technolgy, so our grandkids (Kenny's nephew and nieces) and our neighbors can all sing "Purple."

Ken is now in the computer art field, with his own business. He still enjoys making music with his friends--his saxophone is on the shelf, but he has a drum set and a guitar.

Thanks Allison, Gwen, and Ann for your comments. LIFE IS GOOD.

Ken and Debby Graham

We are Kenny's Aunt and Uncle and to this day we still find ourselves humming "Purple". Our kids do too. We still have the original record but alas no record player. Are we, as family, the only ones who still call him Kenny? This was a fun article to find and read. Thanks so much.

The Swill Man

I'm curious- do any of you guys have the master tape? Then you could make it into a CD and it would be all "Kenny Meyer REMASTERED!"

None of your business

Sassoon???? Were you thinking of VIDAL SASSOON, the hairdresser???? The name of the jeans was SASSON. No relation. "Ooh, la la SASSON." Here's evidence:


How does it make you feel to know that after all these years you were WRONG WRONG WRONG????!!!

SASSON. Not Sassoon. Sassoon: hairdresser, Sasson: jeans. Got it???????!!!!!!

Sassoon wrong, Sasson right. Not that it matters. The kid who sang it is old and wasted now. Pffft.

Oh the Irony!

I think it is PERFECT and sooo poignantly ironic that the all the "importance" and grandeur of being a major name in fashion (Sasson) can be so easily lost on the everyday, normal people (like Ann and Kenny)- Sasson was apparently "such a big deal" (big enough to write a song about sticking it to 'em!)... but not big enough that anybody in the middle class masses could even differentiate between his name and the name of a hairdresser. Perhaps it was with this subtle irony in mind that Ann wrote the material just like she did (using Sassoon in place of Sasson) in the first place. I wouldn't put it past her.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sasson!!

Ain't no Calvin Coolridge gonna brand MY behind neeether!


I have an obsession of the color Purple. This song is the best song i ever herd! I love this song! Its a catchy song. It's one of those songs that get stuck in you'r head.

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