Friday Free For All: Daniel Johnston, Dinosaur Jr., Doug Sahm, X-25, etc.
The Friday Free For All relays albums, artists, videos and vibes the Houston Press Music staff has been grooving to over the past week.
DANIEL JOHNSTON/THE SECRET GROUP
I had a bizarre dream that lo-fi pioneer Daniel Johnston was performing in Houston, not in a big, impersonal room but somewhere with living-room intimacy. In the dream, I’m standing only feet away from the legendary Texas songwriter, my noggin moving like a tapped bobblehead to “Walking the Cow.” During these proceedings, the doorbell rings and it’s a pizza delivery guy with boxes and boxes of free pies. They look and smell so tasty, but even in a dream I recognize my steadfast rule to never consume pizza unless there’s beer. Then, lo and behold, someone arrives to the party with cases of free Pabst Blue Ribbon for us all. If this sounds amazing, hurry over to The Secret Group’s Web page and snag what’s left of the $12 tickets that could make this scenario your reality. Free pizza, drinks and Daniel Johnston, up close and personal. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
Dinosaur Jr. recently announced a date at White Oak Music Hall on September 15, which got me thinking about Dinosaur Jr., which got me listening to nothing but Dinosaur Jr. on a recent three-hour train ride from D.C. to New York. Most notably, I revisited 2007's underrated comeback album, Beyond. The album – the band's first in a decade – is a throwback to what great albums used to be; namely, it wastes no space. Checking in at 11 songs and just under 50 minutes, Beyond features some of the best tunes Dinosaur Jr. ever released (most notably "Pick Me Up," "This is What I Came to Do" and "Been There All the Time"). Anyone who thought Dinosaur Jr. was finished by the mid-'90s needs to put this one on ASAP. CLINT HALE
ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ III
Puro conjunto compa! This is Houston musician Roberto Rodriguez III straight jammin' on the squeezebox on a sunny afternoon in the East End. This brings back so many memories of dancing to this type of polka at weddings and quinces growing up. I find it amazing how a simple two-man setup of an accordion and a bajo sexto guitar can create such lively and energetic rhythms that leave me looking for a cerveza and a dance partner, wishing I was on the dance floor somewhere. You can catch Rodriguez and his band Mas Pulpo at Voodoo Queen (322 Milby) most Tuesday nights. MARCO TORRES
The Dark Prince of reggae, Keith Hudson, practiced dentistry to fund his early productions.
Certainly, his tracks reek of nitrous and genius. He handles the little particulars of sounds — the
warbles, the ticks, the little guitar curls — like no other. His own warbly moans cut right through the
phony argot of so many pretenders to the chalice. Like many reggae luminaries, he was
pursued by the monsters at a multinational recording concern and trapped for a time in a
poisonous corporate environment. Even so, he continued to release uncompromising roots-dub
under the nom de plume Lloyd Linberg. Ultimately, he died too young of the cancer. TEX KERSCHEN
Houston, I don't ask you for much, but please, please, please show up early on Sunday to the big Memorial Day Weekend Blowout over at White Oak. I know that maybe means not partying as hard at brunch, but this is a favor I'm asking for you, because I don't want you to miss — with apologies to The Suffers, Blue Healer, the Beyhive, ZZ Top, so on and so forth — the best band in Texas right now, Austin's Moving Panoramas. Last year they put out One, an amazing collection of dream-pop numbers that are as wonderful live as they are on record. They've got interesting but not gaudy guitar work, catchy melodies and harmonies that'll make you melt. They're the best thing going on in the city at 1:20 p.m. on Sunday. Promise. CORY GARCIA
DECONSTRUCTED: THE EVOLUTION OF KANYE'S THE LIFE OF PABLO
How Kanye is changing the way an album is released, and the intrinsic details of the most beloved tracks on the album; rap journalist OG Rob Markman breaks it all down. A must-watch for Kanye and TLOP fans. MARCO TORRES
SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET +2
After a pot bust in Corpus Christi in 1966, Doug Sahm decided Texas was just too hot for him and he split for San Francisco. Lifelong friend and Quintet keyboardist Augie Meyers decided to stay in San Antonio, which led to the only Quintet recording that did not include Meyers, the obscure 1968 release Honkey Blues by an ensemble Sahm dubbed the Sir Douglas Quintet + 2. Texan Wayne Talbert handled the keyboards on this eclectic album, where songs ranged from old-school West Side soul like “So Glad For Your Sake (So Sorry For Mine)” to mellow pop ditties like “Sell a Song” to far-out psychedelic jazz on tunes like the murky “Song of Everything.” The album clocked in at around 25 minutes with only three tunes on the A side and four on the B side.
Sahm capped the album with one of the most interesting titles of his career, which laid down his philosophy about being a musician at that time: “You Never Get Too Big And You Sure Don't Get Too Heavy, That You Don't Have to Stop And Pay Some Dues Sometimes.” Talbert’s polished piano skills are front and center in this bluesy groover that takes a startling turn into Coltrane-ish jazz as Martin Fierro lays down a frantic sax part. With its all-over-the-map feel, the album never took off, and shortly many in Sahm’s band would move over to Mother Earth. Sahm would shortly disband the Quintet as he undertook solo projects. Honkey Blues remains a treasured obscurity and a reminder of how broad Sahm’s talents were. By 1974, he would return to Texas and settle down as one of the icons of Austin's Groover’s Paradise period. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
RAPPING, DECONSTRUCTED: THE BEST RHYMERS OF ALL TIME
This 12-minute video is riveting from beginning to end. At least ten people tagged or shared this with me when it was released last week. I finally got the chance to sit down and watch, and I was definitely impressed. From Rakim to Eminem, Biggie to Andre 3000, we are reminded that hip-hop is not just a beat and some funny rhymes, but rather a sometimes complex set of patterns and storytelling that is unequivocally creative and downright genius. MARCO TORRES
A friend of mine recently turned me on to X-25, a Houston-based electro-funk group from the early '80s. Like Houston Connection Recording Corporation labelmates Videeo they played the kind of P-Funk and Prince-influenced hard-edged robotic freestyles that used to be Majic 102’s stock in trade before they transitioned to Jamz and went all satin sheets. Thus far I’ve found an embarrassingly tiny amount of information about the group, except that they featured the fleet-fingered Jimi Kinnard on bass, so I guess we are going to have to extend the Internet’s lease on life a few more years. TEX KERSCHEN
And, for your weekend kicks, here’s Videeo…
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