Saturday, September 12, 2015

Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic_Vol. 2 _ Cassette to MP3

Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic_Vol. 2
Cassette to MP3_Collectables, COL504

Just as my vinyl collection went from several hundred long players down to two and a handful of seven inchers... I whittled my massive cassette collection down to a hundred or so, which includes a few odd cassingles, many moons ago. I've been meaning to convert them to MP3, post 'em on YouTube or burn 'em to CDR. Well, the stars are aligned and now is the time. Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic Vol. 2 shall be the first entry in this long delayed Cassette to MP3 series. Acid Visions Vol. 1 is already available on YouTube. Seek it out, it makes a nice companion piece for Vol. 2.

Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic Vol. 2 was originally released as part of the Priceless Collection on the Collectables label. A series of low budget compilations, that true to their nature, could be found in cut out bins at music stores across the country. Such as Hastings in Rio Rancho where I found my copy in the early 1990s. “Collectables is a reissue record label founded in 1980 by Jerry Greene. It's the largest independently owned reissue label in the U.S., maintaining a catalog of over 3,400 active titles, mostly on compact disc, but also available on vinyl.” The CD versions usually combine at least two volumes on each disc.

Collectables releases have been criticized for their poor recording quality and Acid Visions Vol. 2 is no exceptions. The audio is heavily processed, which gets rid of the pops inherent with 60s vinyl, but it renders the music dull as dishwater in the process. Since the mid-1990s Little Walter DeVenne has remastered and restored many of the label's reissues to good results. (Acid Visions Vol. 2 was released in 1991, pre-Little Walter) A popular Boston radio personality, Little Walter DeVenne was also the host of the syndicated oldies program “Little Walter's Time Machine” on Clear Channel “Real Time Oldies Channel”

The Acid Visions series clocks in at a half dozen volumes with diminishing returns. It's a strange and spotty collection of tracks. A few gold nuggets salted into a slag heap of dubious material. Not for the casual listener for sure. However, it you have a thing for trashy 60s garage/psyche/punk from Texas, this will surely punch your ticket. Amazingly there's three bands on Vol. 2 that share names with El Paso bands from the same era, The Bobby Fuller 4 originally went by Bobby Fuller & The Fanatics, Neal Ford & The Fanatics from Houston, never reached those heights, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. Bill Taylor & The Sherwoods hailed from El Paso, The Sherwoods were based in Houston. The Things, from Houston should not be confused with the Things from El Paso... comprendes mendes? 

You can't tell your Texas 60s garage bands without a scorecard

“From the era of hip huggers, bell bottoms and miniskirts”, Neal Ford & The Fanatics, from Houston, worked really hard to establish themselves as stars. They seemed destined to break through, yet never had much of an impact outside of Texas. The Fanatics released on album on the Hickory label, along with a number of singles on Hickory and other labels. (“Good Men” a compilation released by Ace Records is a great introduction to this highly underrated band) Neal Ford – Vocals, Lanier Greig – Keyboards, Johnny Stringfellow - Lead Guitar, Jon Pereles - Rhythm Guitar, Dub Johnson-bass, John Cravey-drums.

The Sherwoods, a psychedelic garage punk outfit based in Houston, Texas, though originally from Corpus Christi. The Sherwoods peaked during 1968-69 when they signed with Mercury Records subsidiary label Smash Records. The band languished at Mercury (recording three singles) before the draft and lack of success broke them apart. The Sherwoods were Michael Claxton (lead and backing vocals), Johnny Clary (drums, lead and backing vocals), David Franklin (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jim Frye (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Kenny Blanchet (bass).

Thursday's Children were from Houston, they recorded for International Artists and they're best know for their single “Help, Murder, Police” written by Jan Pedersen. The Brother Love Congregation has a great 60s psyche name and little else going for them, probably from the Houston area. The Things from Houston were not the Things from El Paso.... that's all. Long before Space Cadet was synonymous with airheads, there were The Space Cadets who without a doubt hailed from Houston, the Space City. Warlocks was Dusty Hill and brother Rocky Hill's first musical venture. They were joined by Frank Beard, making Warlocks a primordial version of ZZ Top, sans Billy Gibbons. Later on they dyed their hair blue and started calling themselves American Blues.

The flip side of Homer's single “Dandelion Wine” was an obscure Willie Nelson composition “I Never cared For You” recorded long before the “Outlaw Country” movement took shape. Galen Niles, guitarist and songwriter from San Antonio, was the driving force behind The Outcasts, Homer and Ultra. Homer released one album “Grown in the USA” for International Artists in 1970. The final track on this compilation “Outside Looking In” is credited to The Unknowns, claims they're actually The Bad Roads from Lake Charles, Louisiana, though keeping with the Texas nature of this compilation, I would bet that they're The Unknowns from Corpus Christi.... don't mess with Texas punk, ya'll.

I Can't Believe- The Fanatics
I Will Not Be Lonely- The Fanatics
Bless Me Woman- The Sherwoods
I Know You Cried- The Sherwoods
You'll Never Be My Girl- Thursday's Children
I Don't Want to Go- BLC
Loveless Lover- The Things
Nothing Will Stand In My Way- Space Cadets
Love-Itis- Space Cadets
Another Girl Like You- The Things
Life's A Misery- The Warlocks
Dandelion Wine- Homer
Sunrise- Homer
Outside Looking In- The Unknowns