Friday, March 17, 2006

Texas Two-fer

At last, it’s Friday. I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s St Patrick’s Day, and as an American of Irish descent I’m proud to say that I will once again refrain from participating in the huge, pulsing public nuisance that has come to mark this holiday. I’ve been to Ireland, and it’s a lovely place, filled with equally lovely people. It in no way resembles the St Paddy’s day crowd at TJ McDrunken-fucks, spilling green vomit on each others shoes while U2 plays in the background. Do yourself a favor. Grab a corned beef sandwich (a wonderful reflection of the Irish/Jewish concord in my own marriage), a bottle of Guinness (or Harp, or Smithwicks, or the delicious hard cider of your choice), rent a copy of ‘The Commitments’ and realize that the Irish really do have soul (literal and figurative). It’s also the good ole end of the week, which of course signifies that we have two days of leisure before us in which to catch up on lost sleep, family time, old movies, reading or whatever it is you like to do to relax. A hearty HUZZAH to the inventor of the weekend! In celebration of this time honored institution, it’s time to whip out – as I am prone to do – a couple of bangers worthy of a celebratory Friday. Today’s selection both hail from the once great state of Texas, now home to all manner of insane, Bible-banging, creationist shit-heels. I know that there are still plenty of good folk in the Lone Star state, but really folks, it’s time to either get the crackpots under control or move to higher (philosophical) ground. That said, no amount of religious hysteria can mask the fact that Texas has produced a very impressive musical lineage, running from the days of the territory bands, western swing, a grip of wailing “Texas Tenors” (running from Arnett Cobb, to Illinois Jacquet, to the mighty Booker Ervin), blues giants like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lightnin’ Hopkins, right up to giants like Sir Doug Sahm and the 13th Floor Elevators. On the soul side of things, you can’t do better than Bobby Patterson and James Young & The Housewreckers. My first encounter with the music of Bobby Patterson was back in my early 80’s college days and heard the Fabulous Thunderbirds cover ‘How Do You Spell Love’. I didn’t know it was a Bobby Patterson tune for years, but when I found out, and started digging for more I realized that ‘How Do You Spell Love’ was only the tip of the iceberg. A few years ago, when someone (I don’t recall who) hepped me to ‘My Thing Is Your Thing’, I was blown away. After a few moments of chimp-like marvelling at the clear yellow vinyl, I managed to get the disc on the turntable, and things really started smoking. Opening with a wobbly, phlanged sounding guitar, the horn section punches its way into the tune and get the ball rolling. Bobby drops in with a wailing vocal, dropping funky “UHNN”s here and there, right up into the anthemic chorus. The wah-wah guitar, and snapping drums move things along nicely, making ‘My Thing Is Your Thing’ a hot slice of Dallas funk. While Bobby was steaming things up on the Jetstar label, James Young & The House Wreckers were, uh, wrecking the house on it’s sister label (both Huey P Meaux related) Jetstream. Originally known as “Big Sambo” & The House Wreckers (there are pressings of ‘Barking...’ that list him as ‘Big Sambo’), the band originally came to prominence with the original version of ‘The Rains Came’, later a hit for the Sir Douglas Quintet.This later 45 is a funk classic. Featuring Young’s screaming sax and wild vocals, the drummer is in the pocket, and the guitar is bluesy. A very tasty groove indeed. If you happen upon a copy (not cheap, mind you), flip it over to hear the band rip off Jean Knight’s ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ with an instrumental version entitled ‘Funky Butt’.


Anonymous Niall said...

Thanks for making it a FUUNNNKKY Paddy's Day!!

3/17/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Billy K said...

Man - love these tunes!

3/19/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite Bobby Patterson cut is the 150-mph "Don't Be So Mean" (b/w "The Good Old Days"), also on Jetstar. Regal stuff!

---Pablo de la Cruz

3/24/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Earwig2 said...

i saw bobby perform here in dallas back in april. some local musicians put together a great backing band and got him out for a show. it was the coolest thing i've seen in a long time. the whole crowd was dancing. they're playing again in july. i'm also going to see roky erickson in july. it's been great to see these texas legends considering that i missed so many others, like doug sahm.

6/06/2007 04:26:00 PM  

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