MARK’S MUSICAL MUSINGS
actually written about a plane crash. Bloodrock played primarily in the Dallas and Houston clubs for most of their career, and released six original albums, a bunch of singles, and later on, a bunch of compellation albums. 4) Bubble Puppy was formed in ’67 in Corpus Christi, by Rod Prince and Roy Cox of The Bad Seeds from Corpus Christi (not to be confused with The Bad Seeds from Kilgore). They were unusual for having two lead guitars (which other bands later copied), and went through a period of trial and error before settling on their final lineup and sound. [NOTE: Wiki and the band’s website both claim Bubble Puppy’s first public appearance was opening the San Antonio show for The Who’s ’67 tour! Except that, according to The Who’s official website: 1) that tour played only Houston and Dallas, not SA; and 2) The Who were themselves the opening act for Herman’s Hermits, not the headliners! So I don’t know what to believe on this one!] At any rate, once their line-up was solid, Bubble Puppy relocated to Austin to play, and began recording in Houston, releasing their only hit Hot Smoke and Sassafras https://youtu.be/Zl_COZrm5nA as a single early ’69. They released their only original album A Gathering Of Promises later that year. Why even ask? Yes, it is in my CD Library! In ’70 the band hired a new manager, moved to LA and changed their name to Demian, released one self-titled album, then broke up in ’72. The original band members reunited for a while in ’84 and released a second album early in ’87, then broke up again. In March ’11 Bubble Puppy reformed yet again, in Austin, around three of the original members (Prince, Cox and David Fore) and some members of Fore’s subsequent Austin bands, and began playing the Austin club circuit. Cox passed away in April ’13, but Bubble Puppy continues playing Austin area clubs! Check their website: bubblepuppy. com/
5) Fever Tree began in Houston as folk-rock band The Bostwick Vines in ’66, but with new producers changed their name the next year, along with a new line-up featuring keyboardist Rob Landes and a new style of music – Psychedelic Rock. They were quite popular in local Houston clubs. Fever Tree’s new producers also wrote all their music, and the band only had one hit in their entire career, San Francisco Girls in ’68 from their self-titled first album https:// youtu.be/xYe1HnZvioA . After moving to LA, the band broke up with their producers/writers, then fell apart as a group by ’70. Guitarist Michael Knust was the other noteworthy member of Fever Tree – he reformed the group in ’78, but passed in ’03. Billy Gibbons often played with Fever Tree in Houston, and can recognizably be heard on their first album, although uncredited. I know I did have this CD, but can’t seem to locate it now – I may have to order another copy. Besides, I always thought their 3rd album, Creation, which I do still have, was their best effort! Fever Tree released four original albums, and several later compilations. 6) The Moving Sidewalks sort of began in Hollywood, where Houston’s Billy Gibbons was attending art school in the early 60’s. He organized a succession of surf-rock bands there: the Saints, Billy G and the Blueflames, the Coachmen, but by ’67 he had returned to his hometown of Houston. Gibbons’ friend and mentor Roky Erickson of The 13th Floor Elevators helped him and drummer Dan Mitchell form Moving Sidewalks with organist Tom Moore and bass player Don Summers in Houston in ‘67, to play what Gibbons perceived as ‘psychedelic blues rock’. Moving Sidewalks was quite popular on the Houston club scene, and opened several shows for the 13th Floor Elevators when that band played Houston clubs – including that notorious show at the Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine which was raided by Houston PD, and members of the Elevators arrested on stage for drug possession. (Pot,
not their professed LSD!) [NOTE: Many PDs – expecially HPD! - were notorious for raiding rock music clubs (but NOT strip clubs!) Houston’s Catacombs Club, Houston’s Cellar, along with Austin’s Vulcan Gas Company, never even bothered to get liquor licenses or sold booze, they were raided so often! However, rather than drugs or alcohol violations, these raids were actually conducted for pure ‘Hippie harassment’ – usually citing ‘electrical violations’ - the ‘electric light shows’ were deemed to be harmful to patrons! Ask me sometime how ‘Hippies’ were treated in Orange, Texas in that era!] Anyway, while living in California, Gibbons had formed an intense friendship with Jimi Hendrix, and Moving Sidewalks also opened four concerts for him on tour. Moving Sidewalks released three singles and one album, Flash https://youtu.be/ WPheF4Gw-K0 of which 99th Floor was the biggest hit. Yes, I have this album in my CD library. In the years since, no less than 5 compilation albums and an EP of the Moving Sidewalks music have been released. Moving Sidewalks reunited in 2013 for 3 benefit concerts, in NYC, Austin and Houston. Here is their performance of 99th Floor from the NYC show https://youtu.be/ bTusGNQvG4Q . 7) The Nomads from Texas City - NOT to be confused with the Nomads from Ft. Worth or Nomads from San Antonio – come to think of it, there were probably twenty bands called the Nomads! Anyway, the Nomads from Texas City formed in the early ‘60s by vocalist Frank Ziegel, and were popular in clubs on the south and east sides of Houston. They released two singles, I Walk Alone https://youtu.be/3c4MveIIiUo and I’ll Be There https://youtu.be/6Er5Hpzw26M in ’67, and another in ‘68. The ’68 single earned the group a move to California in ‘69, where guitarist Johnny Orvis took over the band and they turned into The Smoke - not to be confused with the bands of the same name from Australia or England – and recorded several albums before breaking up. They never recorded any albums as The Nomads from Texas City. 8) In ’69, after Moore and Summers of Moving Sidewalks were drafted into the Army, Billy Gibbons and Dan Mitchell formed a new trio (bands back then were usually at least 4-5 or more members) with organist Lanier Greig. Gibbons says he came up with the new band’s name from two posters of BB King and ZZ Hill on his apartment wall – ZZ Top!
This original lineup of ZZ Top released their first single, Salt Lick https://youtu.be/ dfjAcPRrFfE , the flip side of which was Miller’s Garage https://youtu.be/cobbo697QE in ’69. After this release, Greig was replaced by bassist Billy Ethridge (of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band), and Mitchell was replaced by Frank Beard of the American Blues from Dallas. Ethridge was then replaced by Dusty Hill also of the American Blues. The band’s lineup has never changed again. The new ZZ Top played their first concert together at a dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Beaumont on February 10, 1970, and was very popular in East Texas, playing local clubs, high school dances, etc. And yes, for those of you who caught my reference to Little Cypress-Mauriceville early in this article, ZZ Top played MY High School Senior Prom at the Jack Tar Hotel in Orange in the spring of ’71! Here’s the band’s photo from my yearbook: They had actually recorded (but not released) ZZ Top’s First Album https://youtu. be/aOy4XdMYQb0 by then, and their producer tried to get them out of the contract, but our school refused. To my recollection, they played the usual litany of Top-40 and radio hit covers customary to a high school dance, none of their own music. [LCM classmates help me out here – what do you remember?] The later hype the band’s PR people put out about crowds trying to crash the dance, people climbing through bathroom windows at the hotel, etc. is NONSENSE – no one had heard their first album yet (I myself first heard it late that fall!) and at that time they were just another local garage band who could be heard at local clubs or dances on any weekend, playing radio covers! Much later in their career, ZZ Top did play the ’97 Super Bowl Halftime show https:// youtu.be/nC_iiq06qck and the 2008 Orange Bowl Halftime show https://youtu.be/o9n06jBjPlQ . I don’t know if anyone has actually counted how many albums ZZ Top have released over the years – I have 18 in my CD Library, and just got in a packaged compilation of their first 10 CDs! There you have it folks. A quick breakdown of eight of the more popular psychedelic bands of late ‘60s East Texas, two of whom – ZZ Top and Bubble Puppy – are still together and playing! Not all the bands of that era and ilk, of course. Maybe there’s enough for another article.
MARCH 29 - APRIL 18, 2017
Houston's Arts & Entertainment Digital Press March 29 - April 18, 2017