Zion, Illinois’ Shoes comes in second only to Cheap Trick in embodying the sound and story of Illinois pop in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Helmed by brothers Jon and Jeff Murphy and schoolmate Gary Klebe, Zion’s favorite sons were more bedroom than barroom, focusing on nailing their technique, not the local beermaid. While their Elektra-issued Present Tense LP produced four MTV-ready singles and videos, it’s their pre-major-label work that genre fans have clung to hardest.
Though their catalog has remained in print on CD for as long as the format has been around, the LPs have had far less bin exposure as the decades have worn on. Prior to signing with Elektra in 1979, Shoes were just four guys cutting demos in a Zion, Illinois, basement. Compiled here for the first time on vinyl is a track-by-track reevaluation of those Zion demos, cut from the original master tapes and pressed into 150 grams of black or white PVC.