This week’s Saustex-centered column leads off with my review of a posthumous release by Texas singer/songwriter Rich Minus, followed by my thoughts on a single by FranCina Jones and a compilation from many artists on the Saustex Records roster. A preview of upcoming Sound Checks winds things up.
‘The Son Is A Stranger To You,’ Rich Minus (Saustex Records,☆☆☆1/2)
This March 17 CD/EP consists of unreleased tracks from Minus’ last recording session at Memphis’ legendary Sun Studio, produced by Grammy-winner Matt Ross-Spang. The late acoustic guitarist-singer-songwriter is supported by drummer Steve Potts, bassist Dave Roe, guitarist John Paul Keith and (on one song) pianist Patrick Fusco. There are other sidemen on a later American Recordings session.
My favorite songs are “Laredo Rose,” featuring Sir Douglas Quintet organ, the twangy “Blue Stockings,” the cocktail-lounge flavored “Penny For Your Thoughts” and “The Most Beautiful Waltz,” featuring fiddler Ralph White.
Fans of classic Texan country music will dig this release.
‘No Way Out/I Am Controlled By Your Love,’ FranCina Jones & The Overtown Soul Revue (Saustex Records,☆☆☆☆)
Your reviewer isn’t familiar with the late singer/songwriter Clarence Reid or his X-rated, rapping alter ego, Blowfly. However, I enjoy the tight, old-school funk played by The Overtown Soul Revue (principally multi-instrumentalist Reggie Sears and drummer Tom Bowker) on the up-tempo Reid song “No Way Out” and slower “Controlled By Your Love.”
Soul savants will enjoy these tunes.
‘Saustex Variation Volume Three,’ various artists (Saustex Records,☆☆☆☆)
This compilation CD leads off with two songs from the (reviewed March 31) Churchwood “Hex City” album (“One Big White Nightmare” and “You Let The Dead In”) before blasting into two songs apiece by Grandpa Death Experience, Javier Escovedo (reviewed in 2016), Western Star (ditto), The Grannies and other Saustex artists, including a couple tunes from 2016’s cool Black Oak Arkansas tribute album (reviewed Aug. 26, 2016).
The Saustex dinosaur-with-microphone mascot, the Churchwood tunes, the hard-rocking “Jim Dandy,” Escovedo’s two garage-power-pop tunes, The Grannies’ swinging “White Glove Service,” Jimbo Mathus’ impassioned singing on BOA’s “Uncle Lijah” and The Beaumonts’ “San Antonio” are my favorite moments here.
This is a great sampler of Saustex music and mayhem. Fans of independent music should grab one!
Weeks to come will feature my thoughts on Ian Anderson’s string-quartet adaptations of classic Tull tunes, vintage South American concert music from Emerson Lake and Palmer, new singer/songwriters Matt Record and Kelsey Kernochan, new recordings from Procol Harum and Professor Louie and The Crowmatix, live albums from Commander Cody, The Flamin’ Groovies and Paul Butterfield plus new studio work from former Police guitarist Andy Summers.
I’m sorry to report that Allan Holdsworth, whose “Eidolon” collection album was reviewed in last Friday’s Sound Check, died Sunday. He leaves behind a legacy of progressive jazz music. RIP!
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com.