Wednesday, January 30, 2013

T. Tex Edwards "Intexicated!"

(Saustex) Past and present Nervebreakers frontman, Exhumer of Country and Rockabilly crazy cool, Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Psychotic and the Psychedelic, organic garden and exotic print sportcoats cultivator, second to none, T. Tex Edwards has always left a long shadow in the past 30 years, whether it be in Dallas, Los Angeles, or Austin where he currently resides. It's his ability to get inside a song, as well as his mind numbing versatility that earned him a cult following (not the kind that drinks Grape Kool - Aid) in The U.S., Europe, and probably places that don't have the bomb.  "Intexicated!" originally saw the light of day as an  extremely limited edition (50 copies) cassette compilation, chronicling  T. Tex's  post-Nervebreakers work (barring only a few, like The Jungle Heirs, Same Old Bastards, and the more recent Texwardians). It was released in 1999, with the intention of an expanded CD release. Well, it's finally here. Most of the songs that appeared on the cassette, and many others, await your perusal on this new, improved CD version. The one glaring omission was a strong version of The Velvet's classic "What Goes on,” as performed by The Loafin' Hyenas, An L.A. based Garage/Roots/Cowpunk supergroup, featuring Click Mort (briefly with The Cramps, as their last-ever second Guitarist), the late Rob Ritter (bassist, Gun Club), Herman Senac (drummer, Blood on The Saddle, and, later, Crowbar Salvation), not to mention, the spooky, atmospheric Country fiddle stylings of Tom Blaylock. The Loafin Hyenas put out one great LP on New Rose, represented here in outtake form. "If Looks Could Kill" evokes T. Tex's most blood-curdling, bile-spewing contempt committed to vinyl:  "If looks could kill, I'd give you a second glance.” The ironic twist on an old cliche wasn’t lost on Texas Terri, who, when not kissing Ratso, found time to cover it. "Goin' South" is represented here in a much more stripped-down Rural Blues send up.  It is, at once, the most politically incorrect, and the most politically CORRECT song you're likely to hear. Two tracks recorded with Dallas Psych legends Lithium Xmas from a session that produced a mind-melting 45 on Sympathy (with a VERY dirty "Strange Movies,” featuring a phone sex rap with Edwards and Lithium Xmas chanteuse, K.Y. Boyce, and "Love Power" from the REAL "The Producers,” and, a staple in their early set, when The Artist Not Yet Known as MC900 Ft. Jesus, Mark Griffin, did the honors). Love Power" appears here in an alternate version, but the real standout track is The Alice Cooper Group's original Klezmer Rocker (Possibly The First), "Nobody Likes me. The band included founding members, Griffin and Greg Sinodis on Guitar, plus, Tom Battles (Si, mi Hermano) on THIRD Guitar (Tom was also in Tex's band The Swingin' Cornflake Killers, represented here by "Cravin',” a HAINTED  'Billy Rocker. That band also featured Paul Orr, from early Dallas Punk bands, Deprogrammer and The Assassins**), and, at the time, drummer Chris Merlick (Fireworks, Iron Bong), and Mark Ridlen as The Beaver. The Big D Ramblers produced more Roots madness with the title track (parts one and two) and "It's Gravity" (one of only two drug songs in the entire collection). Danny McCreary, from Graceland, handled Guitar and Bass Duties on these tracks. Graceland used to be my backing group, when I played out as "Elvis From Hell,” albeit with a different lineup than the one that did an EP, and still performs, today. Gentleman John Battles does NOT have a beef with Graceland, OK?  Tex recorded what would become his signature tune, "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine,” written by Phil Bennison (Teddy and The Tall Tops, Perry Mason and The Defendants, Eddie Kirkland, and Homer Henderson, The One Man Band), with the (recently reformed) Hickoids. The late Stanley Moore, of the legendary Zakary Thaks, played drums on this track. In fact, Edwards and my Brother did some studio recordings with Alan Schramm of Nobody's Children ("Good Times") infamy, engineering, and even writing the yet-unreleased "Lesbian Cowboy Girls"(Hey, Horton Heat's "Cowboy Love" didn’t seem to piss anyone off, and this song is positive, too). My Mom loves "Lee Harvey,” but, when The Cornflake Killers played it at my Brother's wedding, one guest literally left the building, fuming, and didn’t come back. Out on Parole was a real all-star collective of Austin's finest, including Mike Buck (Leroi Bros., Sir Douglas Quintet, Teddy and The Tall Tops, etc) and Freddie Krc (Roky Erickson and/or The Explosives, Jerry Jeff Walker, Freddie Steady 5) on drums, and Joe Dickens (Leroi Bros., Teddy and The Tall Tops). They recorded a number of the songs further associated with Tex's "Murder Country" fixation, which carried itself over into The Swingin' Cornflake Killers, upon his return to Dallas.  T. Tex Edwards and Out on Parole eventually released "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone To Kill" on New Rose, but, an earlier recording, "Crazy Date" by The Crazy Teens doesn’t involve killing anyone, it just IS a killer. Teddy and The Talltops would record it a few years later . Eddie Noack's "Psycho ('84) " is the definitive Killer Country classic, also covered by The Beasts of Bourbon and Elvis Costello, but, Tex owns this song, lock, stock and smokin' barrel.  Remember what I said, before, about getting INSIDE a song? This ain't Insurgent Country. This is the URGENT Country! "LSD (Made a Wreck Out of Me)" by Wendell Austin is certainly at the top of the Drug/Death heap, ready made for the Tex treatment, Marty Muse's Steel Guitar talking on an almost psychedelic tone in the crazed fadeout, as Edwards tastes a moment of madness, and Joe Dickens mimics Duane Eddy doing a scary rendition of "Strangers in The Night". Going back to the earliest tracks included here, Tex and The Saddletramps was the first Nervebreakers offshoot band to leave a dent in the Big "D.” Mike Haskins from The Nervebreakers played Guitar, Linda Shaw (later with Out on Parole) played Bass, and Russell Fleming from The Vomit Pigs (later with Teddy and The Tall Tops, The Big D Ramblers, and The Swingin' Cornflake Killers) made up the first band in the land to successfully Punk up Country and Rockabilly, just in time for the short-lived 80's Rockabilly Revival (though Rockabilly gigs had been staged, previously, with the likes of Gene Summers, Johnny Carroll, Sid and Billy King and Robert Gordon at Nick's Uptown in Dallas). Their recorded output was limited to three songs on the Steel Rok Presents cassette (with the fine Post-Punk /Psych outfit, Man in The Reign, The Assassins and The Hugh Beaumont Experience's last * (And, in the case of the latter, best) recordings, The Howling Dervishes (Tom Battles, with Chuck Rose of Cringe and Johnny Carroll's last band) and The Stinky Shits (a rare case of Hardcore with a sense of humor), and a known, but, until recently, never released, recording of "Move It!,” where Tex is in all his woman-hatin' glory (it's an act, folks. He's been with the same woman longer than most guys have been with their dicks). Another signature song, he re-recorded it with The Loafin' Hyenas. The Evan Johns-era Leroi Bros. covered it, too. The original "Move It!" makes it's commercial debut, after 30 years, here, as does an alternate version of "Have You Ever Spent The Night in Jail" from "Steel Rock" (arguably the better of the two), and a spiffy send-up of Bill Haley and The Comets' "13 Women.” A staggering rendition of Dave Davies' "Death of a Clown,” with The Toe Tags (Tex's short-lived Kinks tribute band) is another of many standout tracks on this collection . You might find it hard to believe that all 19 tracks are by the same person, or that so many talented people would, and still do, come to his aid when the creative muse is screaming. But, this is no vanity project. This is the career retrospective that needed to be made. Tex is an Artist, If he doesn’t want to do something, fuck it. He won't. But, in recent years, he's really been going to town, reforming several bands from his past, and starting new ones all the time. Lately, he's been kickin' out the punkadelic jams with Purple Stickpin (represented, here, by a completely atypical sendup of "Baby's Got a Gun" by The Only Ones), with Dan Hoekstra, late of The Sons of Hercules, and Tom Trusnovic of 27 Devils Joking. If you can't get to Austin to see 'em, friends and neighbors, there's lots of rockin' live footage on YouTube.
* I could sit here and spot trains all day, but I thought I'd tell you, after leaving the Ft. Worth Teen-Punk band, The Hugh Beaumont Experience (who had their own zine, Throbbing Cattle), drummer King Vitamin (nee Jeff Coffe) joined the Butthole Surfers and remains the only constant, besides founders, Paul Leary and Gibby Haynes.
**Patrick "Taz" Bentley, played drums with The Assassins, who morphed into Western Alliance, an outstanding melodic Punk - oriented outfit that later leaned on Metal, Heavy. Bentley later turned up in Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! with Barry Kooda, then in what most people consider the classic Reverend Horton Heat lineup. He went on to play in Tenderloin and The Burden Bros.

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