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Handy Pocket Item
handypocketitemcover      During Feburary of 1987, amidst frantic telephone calls regarding the whereabouts of certain missing poultry placed to Eye in the Sky Studios in La Porte, Colorado, Great Exuma along with Recording Engineer Randy Miotke put the finishing touches on their second album, titled Handy Pocket Item. This was the second album produced by Great Exma, and it was recorded near the end of the band's 3-piece instrumentation phase. Featured are musicians Paul Murphey on lead vocals, piano, organ and synthesizer; Stephen Hartman on basses, bass pedals, vocals and devices; and Garland Hagman on acoustic and electronic drums, percussion, vocals and noises. Musically, Handy Pocket Item is a departure from the 3-piece epic rock sound of their first album Circus Maximus. In addition to the hard-driving keyboard-based rock feel of songs like "Icemaker" and "Ethereal Material," jazzier sounds along with sometimes sarchastic lyrics are introduced with such songs as "Handy Pocket Item" and "To Protect and Serve." According to Murphey at the time of the release of Handy Pocket Item in April 1987, "it represents a major step forward in the songwriting style of the group with a stronger emphasis on lead and backing vocals.The lyrical content of the album ranges from very satirical and  humorous to quite dramatic and fantastic." "Everything we write," says Hartman, "is intended to convey a meaninful message expressed in as entertaining a manner as possible." The title track was featured on the 1987 Colorado Songwriter's Award Album, and there was much rejoicing! 

     Band members Murphey and Hartman fondly recall toting massive quantities of musical equipment (for which Exma was legendary) to venues located around the Denver-Boulder area. For some reason, loading out in sub-zero temperatures in blizzards in the wee hours of the morning is an ever present theme of these memories. And during their shows, in addition to fielding questions from both club-goers and homeless people about how a rock band can exist without a guitar player, they were frequently questioned about the number of "wires and buttons" that they had. They never bothered to count.       
Great Exuma Live at the Glenn Miller Ballroom 1987
Live at the Glenn Miller Ballroom, University of Colorado Memorial Center
 (Ca 1987)

Paul and Steve
Rockin' with the "Keytar" (Ca 1987)
     To this day, the nature and degree of handiness of the legendary "pocket item" that is the namesake of the album title and its title track remain a mystery. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2007, with overwhelming popular support, band members Paul Murphey and Steve Hartman succumbed to a bout of nostalgia. With the help of Park Peters at Audio Park Recording Studio in Arvada CO, Handy Pocket Item was remixed and remastered . The Twentieth Anniversary Edition of Handy Pocket Item is a vast improvement over the original recording. We hope you enjoy it!   

1. Ethereal Material 6:23
2. Doctor Everything 5:31
3. Double Talk 5:46
4. Round to the Islands 4:27
5. Oh Wow (special bonus sound!) 0:04
6. Handy Pocket Item 5:57
7. To Protect and Serve 5:01
8. Icemaker 9:01

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Performing at Tulagis in Boulder
Live performance at Tulagis on "the hill" in Boulder, Colorado (Ca 1987)
Purchase Handy Pocket Item Now! No shoes new shows
No shoes but new shows! A promotiomal photo shoot in Denver (CA1987)
Chicken ribs, bouef jello, and pork breast avec nipple with a shot of the bunratty potcheen! Tasted so much like Spider Monkey, that I thought it was Spider Monkey....but it wasn't...it was Chicken!!!!