John Gorka talks about 'Before Beginning'

John Gorka
Singer-songwriter John Gorka (Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography)
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Back in 1987, a young John Gorka released his first album, I Know, on Red House Records. The album became a hit on folk-radio stations around the country, with songs like "Branching Out," "Love is Our Cross To Bear" and "I Saw a Stranger With Your Hair," helping launch a very successful career for Gorka. But what we didn't know was that this recording was actually not Gorka's first attempt to release these songs.

Two years earlier, Gorka took his life savings down to Cowboy Jack Clements' studio in Nashville and recorded essentially the same collection of songs with a band of professionals and a top-notch producer named Jim Rooney. After the recording was finished, Gorka decided the finished product didn't really go the musical direction he wanted.

Fast-forward to 2016: Gorka thought he'd give a listen to the 1985 sessions. He ended up bringing the tapes to Rob Genadek at The Brewhouse Recording Studio in Minneapolis, and with a few tweaks and re-mixes, and the help of Red House Records, Gorka decided to release the "new old" recording as Before Beginning — The Unreleased 'I Know' — Nashville, 1985.

John Gorka stopped in to the Radio Heartland studio to talk with Mike Pengra about the two different recordings of I Know and to compare versions of a few tunes.

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