The Burlington Express

The Burlington Express from Topeka, just west of Kansas City, released an excellent double-sider on the Cavern label from Missouri in 1967. Members of the band were Greg Gucker, Blair Honeyman (replaced by Bruce Lynn), Eric Larson and Mike West.

Greg Gucker wrote most of their material including “Memories”, though Mike West co-wrote “One Day Girl”. Michael Chapman, guitarist for the Bluethings produced their 45 on Cavern, and also played lead guitar on the unreleased song “If I Were Free”. The address on the label, 16400 E. Truman Rd, Independence is the location of Cavern Studios.

Besides the Cavern 45, at least eight demos have been discovered. A version of the Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” is competent, but their take on the Yardbirds’ “Stroll On” is spectacular, and suggests they were an excellent live band.

Bruce Lynn wrote to me:

I played bass for the Burlington Express from 1966-1970 when we ended the band. I took Blair Honeyman’s place and sing lead on “Stroll On” and “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”. I was in the band when we opened for The Who in 1968.

Four later demos, “Mr. Destiny”, “If I Were Free”, “Black Hearted Woman”, and “Listen Closely”, were recorded at Audio House studios in Lawrence in August 1968. These display psychedelic touches, but with the band’s fine pop sense and fuzztone intact. “If I Were Free” is an intense song that uses horns to good effect. Check them out at Audio House’s website.

A 7″ Audio House acetate contains a cover of the Blues Project’s “I Can’t Keep from Crying”, but I haven’t heard that yet.

Another group called the Burlington Express recorded a brooding song called “Comin’ Home” b/w the maudlin “A Girl” on the Roach label, but they’re supposed to be a different group altogether – songwriting credits list D. Gray, G. Niebur and J. Turner.

23 thoughts on “The Burlington Express”

  1. Close! Theresa Stocker was my maiden name. I have all those old 45s. Greg and I were married for a long time. You do know he’s changed his last name. I have all the old photos from The Mods on. Posters, promo shots, etc. Remember the one of them in woods-type scene? Greg must have been about 17! I talk to him every few weeks. I’ve been carrying around all those photos, posters, 45s for so many years, just couldn’t throw them out! I’d love to talk to you!
    Theresa

  2. I am Mike Nash the brother to the late Jim Nash who managed the “Express” as we used to say back in Topeka. I was at every recording session back then and remember well every B. E. moment and I would very much like to get my hands on a single or three. This link was sent to me by the ultra cool Mike Luthi from Davis, CA. alng wiht another link about Greg Gucker who was the lead guitarist in B.E. who is currently a real estate agent in L.V. NV. Mike Chapman was not the lead guitar for the B. E, but rather the lead for the Blue Things.

  3. Theresa, Remember me? My wife found this stuff and boy did it bring back memories. I would be interested in a copy of those old 45′s and possibly some copies of the other stuff. All I have left is an old poster (the one with the trees in the background and the red overlay) as some jerk contacted me years ago claiming to be compiling a midwest group thing and I was stupid enough to fall for it and “loaned” him all my stuff. Hope to hear from you. Blair

  4. I just stumbled onto this site and love it. B.E. was one of my alltime favorite Topeka bands. Grew up there, knew them early on as The Mods. Gucker, Blair, Eric Larsen, Mike West, etc. were a bit older than me but that added to the mystique…they were truly a great, regional/local band.
    Love seeing them at the Rec Center and on SBA Hill concert afternoons.

    Teresa…you have to be Larry Stocker’s sister. I went to TWHS with him…here’s proof: biggest WHO fan I’ve ever known.

    Anyway, if there are copies of any Burlington Express records around for sale, please let me know!
    last post on this site was several months ago…hope someone reads this soon.

    Thanks!

  5. I was curious about what ever became of Mike West and Eric Larsen? I followed your band from the ‘Mods’ to ‘B.E.’…used to love going to the old Topeka auditorium to hear you guys play, especially the night you all brought out the strobe light and started off with ‘Hey, Joe’ by the Leaves.

    We never met personally but I remember you all coming to the Potawatomi Pow-wow back in the day….

  6. Hi Mike, I played drums in a band with Greg’s brother, Jim. I remember very clearly being at your house when you came home with the new Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green) LP and were very excited about it (rightly so). Ms. Stocker, I remember you as well. Greg had a nice range and B.E. was indeed very good live. Blair, Eric, all, hope you are living well. Try this site, a treasure of KS nostalgia: http://audiohouse.cscnt.net/burlington_express.htm Me? I stopped playing drums to make movies, and I stopped making movies to live in Spain… all good so far TC

  7. Blair, do you remember a garage band called The Noblemen? You played bass with us for a short time back in the heyday. I still stay in touch with Landis Dibble (drums) and Frank Wright (guitar), who were also in the band. Clint Laing played keyboard, but i haven’t seen him in a long time. Steve Wesley (i work with him) says “hi”. he stumbled onto this website as we were reminiscing about the old garage bands. Don Anderson, who played guitar with the Morning Dew (who will be inducted into the Kansas Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March) plays bass in the bluegrass band i’m in now.

  8. Blair: Congrats to you and MD for your recent honoring. Never too late to be a 20 year old rocker,huh? Best Wishes, Jim

  9. Theresa – I am the sister of Eric Larson, who was the drummer of the Burlington Express. No one in the family has anything as a “memento” of those days. I would love to have some of the demo records and would be happy to pay for them.

    Of course you left this message a long time ago, and I’m not sure this will reach you, but please reply if you get this!

    THANKS

    Alfhild Larson

  10. Hi Alfhild – I sure can send you stuff, I have a lot. And no need to pay for them! I live in Ottawa, KS, here’s my email: ramchaza@sbcglobal.net. I have lots of stuff with Eric in them, photos, promo sheets, etc. Here’s my home phone – 785-242-7977. I work at night but I’m off Fri., Sat., and Sun. Or just email me.

    Greg and I aren’t married anymore although I talk to him every week. He’s living in Las Vegas. Go to my page on Facebook, just do a search for: Theresa Ramcharan (my name now). I posted some old photos of your brother! What the heck happened to him?

    Theresa

  11. Hi Tom – Greg and I aren’t married anymore although I talk to him every week or so. He’s living in Las Vegas. I don’t know how much you know about what’s become of Jim, I’ll be glad to give you updates I know. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember your name!

    What the heck took you to live in Spain?

    Theresa

  12. Burlington Express circa ’66-’67 L- Greg Gucker, Eric Larson, the guy in back I am not sure, and R- it looks like Blair Honeyman to me.

  13. Just to add that the Burlington Express are being inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame at Liberty Hall, in Lawrence, Kansas – Saturday evening 25 February.

    For those looking for Eric – email me at alfhild.larson@gmail.com and I will reply!

  14. I’m from Topeka. I logged many hours with them when they were first starting (1965-67) and negotiated a gew gigs for them in Kansas and one in Omaha where I went to college (Creighton U). I was a classmate of Greg Gucker. I knew Eric and Mike from the band. I don’t recall Blair, but it’s probably my feeble mind. I remember Eric and Mike liked to drink malt liquour. I did think (and haven’t changed my mind) that they were a fantastic band live and way ahead of their time. I have always been puzzled about why they didn’t hit the big time. I sure thought they were heading there. My recollection is that they really liked the yardbirds. (Duh. Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck). They were one of the first bands to use synthetic smoke and strobe lights which had an incredible effect on the audience as they were playing. Thanks for hosting this web page. Some of my most formative experiences were with them. Fondly, craig cornish

  15. The BE were my friends, we hung out doing crazy stuff. Beer can walls, black lights, strobe lights, love of the Yard Byrds. We went to Wichita to see the Yardbirds together what a night.

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