DON’T BE BAD! 60S PUNK RECORDED IN TEXAS.
DON’T BE BAD! 60S PUNK RECORDED IN TEXAS.
Not everyone can spot a hit record. Especially over a variety of musical genres. That takes a very special person. It also takes “good ears.” Not many people are blessed with good ears. However, Huey Purvis Meaux was. Good ears are what Huey credits his success to.
Huey Purvis Meaux knew a hit record when he heard one. It didn’t matter if it was blues, country, garage, R&B, rock ’n’ roll, swamp pop or Tex Mex, Huey knew a hit when he heard one. So it’s no surprise that for two decades, Huey who owned Crazy Cajun Enterprises, became one of the leading lights of the Texan music scene.
During the sixties and seventies, Huey established a reputation as one of the top producers in Texas. He produced many of the twenty-six tracks on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. This collection of Texan garage was recently released by Big Beat Records, an imprint of Ace Records. It includes ten previously unreleased tracks. The other sixteen tracks were released on the various labels Huey owned. These labels were a necessity in the post-Payola age.
Any record label who had several songs played on the radio at the same time, risked being on the wrong end of a Payola investigation. After what had happened in the late-fifties, and early-sixties, this was every record label owner’s worst nightmare.
Payola had blighted the music industry for three decades. It was commonplace for record labels to pay DJs to play their records. Some record labels gave DJs gifts. Often the bribery was a bit more subtle. Record labels paid for advertising on radio stations. By the late fifties, the US Government were keen to clean up the music industry.
The Congressional Payola Investigations of 1959 was the start of US government’s attempt to clean up the music industry. Then in 1960, the first Payola investigations began. Witnesses were called and soon, the clean up began.
DJ Alan Freed was called as a witness to the committee hearings. He proved an uncooperative witness. This didn’t please the committee, or his employers. After the committee hearings, Alan Freed was fired. One of his contemporaries survived, but only just.
Just like Alan Freed, Dick Clack was known across America. He was also asked to testify at the committee hearings. Dick Clark testified, and survived the hearings, but only after agreeing to sell his personal investments in music publishing and recording companies. Quite rightly, the committee considered these investments a conflict of interest. So, having sold his investments, Dick Clark lived to fight another day.
Following the Payola investigations, record label owners were worried about further investigations. This included Huey Purvis Meaux. Like many successful producers, he could have any number of songs in the charts at one time. They would all be played on radio. If that happened, he might find himself on the wrong end of a Payola investigation. However, there was a way round this.
Just like other record label owners, Huey setup different labels for different genres of music. Before long, in addition to Crazy Cajun, Huey had a string of labels, including Capri, Pacemaker, Pic One, Shane, Tear Drop, Tribe and Ventural. Each of these labels was a subsidiary of Huey’s Crazy Cajun Enterprises, which was housed at 227 Sterling Street, Pasadena, Texas. These labels allowed Huey to sleep safe in the knowledge that he wasn’t going to find himself on the wrong end of a Payola investigation.
This allowed Heuy to do what he did best, finding new talent and producing hit records. This is what Huey Purvis Meaux had been doing for years. He seemed to have the Midas touch. It didn’t seem to matter what musical genre it was, Huey could make magic happen in his recording studio in Pasadena.
Huey’s recording studio was situated in a former radio station in a suburb of Pasadena. Part of the old radio station was Huey’s recording studio. It had been built by Huey, albeit with the help of local teenage musicians. He told them he was building a recording studio, and somehow, the charismatic Texan managed to convince them to help build the recording studio. Next door was a club for teenagers. This gave the musicians and bands somewhere to hang out before the red light went on. Plenty of bands spent time there. Especially, between 1965 and 1967, which is remembered as as sixties punks golden era.
By 1965, American music was changing, and changing fast. The British Invasion of 1964 was a game-changer. Suddenly, America “got” The Beatles. Coast to coast, Beatlemania swept the States. This kick-started the British invasion. Suddenly, American artists no longer monopolised the American charts. Instead, British artists stole the limelight from their American counterparts. Soon, the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and later, The Animals and Cream would take America by storm. However, by 1965, a new musical genre was making its presence felt, and it was unashamedly American.
This new musical genre divided opinion in many ways. Even its name. Many called it garage rock, while others called it punk. One of the leading lights of sixties punk was Huey Purvis Meaux. Between 1965 and 1967, Huey was at the heart of the Texan punk scene. Any Texan punk band looking for a break, made their way to Huey’s Crazy Cajun Enterprises, at 227 Sterling Street, Pasadena, Texas. This includes the twenty-six bands who feature on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas, which I’ll pick the highlights of.
Opening Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas is Barry and Life’s Top-Less Girl. It was recorded in late 1966, and released on Heuy’s Pic-1 label in 1967. It’s not just punk that can be heard on Top-Less Girl. So can garage, rock and psychedelia. There’s a noticeable Doors’ influence. Mostly, that’s down to the keyboards. At the start, there’s also a similarity to Lou Reed’s classic 1972 single Walk On The Wild Side. After that, a melodic and technically proficient slice of garage rock unfolds. It’s bound to have inspired later a generation of punks in 1976.
The Driving Wheels only released one single, One Year Ago Today. It was written by Tommy Bolton. He also penned Don’t Be Bad and She Comes Running, two of the unreleased tracks on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. Both tracks were recorded on 10th October 1966, but never released. For The Driving Wheels this was a missed opportunity. They were obviously a talented band. That’s apparent on the two tracks. Don’t Be Bad epitomised the sixties punk sound, while She Comes Running has a much more poppy, chart-friendly sound.
Destiny’s Children are another group who only released one single. Their moment in the sun came in 1966. They entered Huey’s studios earlier in 1966, recording Your First Time and The Fall Of The Queen. When Destiny’s Children released their debut single, The Fall Of The Queen was destined for the flip-side. Ironically, Your First Time wasn’t a commercial success. The Fall Of The Queen, is a hugely underrated track. Jim McClain seems to have been inspired by Mick Jagger, as he struts his way through the lyrics, delivering an attitude packed, gravelly vocal.
1965 was the start of the sixties punk explosion. One of the groups at the vanguard of the Texan punk movement were The Pirates. On 27th July 1965, they made their way to Huey’s recording studio. That’s where they recorded Cuttin’ Out and Mona/Who Do You Love. Cuttin’ Out, a Stanley Chaisson and Mike Moore composition was released as a single later in 1965. Its introduction seems to have been inspired by John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom. This motif reappears during the track, albeit only briefly. However, it plays a part in one of the best, and most melodic tracks on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. The Pirates other contributions are covers of Mona/Who Do You Love. Both tracks are given a rocky and vampish makeover by The Pirates, as they take on new meaning.
Just a day after The Pirates recorded the two tracks that feature on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas, The People recorded Again. This Harvey Kagan penned track was recorded on 28th July 1965. It’s something of a slow burner. It has a slow, spacious and moody, that gradually unfolds. Soon, The Pirates are fusing pop, psychedelia and rock. In doing so, they don’t spare the hooks on what’s another of Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas’ highlights.
The Actioneers recorded It’s You on 15th November 1965. It was penned by Ray Gilburn and produced by Huey Meaux. It’s You was then released on Huey’s Shane label. Sadly, It’s You came to nothing. This explosive fusion of surf, garage and rock disappeared without trace. Nearly fifty years later, it makes a welcome return on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas.
Another group who headed to Huey Meaux’s studio seeking fame and fortune were The Phinx. Sadly their trip in June 1966 was in vain. Neither To No Place Of Its Own, nor Everything’s Right were ever released. Again, that’s a great shame. They were obviously a talented band. Proof of that is the wistful sounding To No Place Of Its Own, and the Rolling Stones’ inspired Everything’s Right. Both tracks have bags of potential. However, it wasn’t to be. For The Phinx, it was a case of what might have been?
Baby, I Need You was recorded by The Eccentrics in January 1966. Later in 1966, this Les Swift penned was released on Huey Meaux’s Shane label. Huey, it didn’t seem, had much faith in the single. he only had 200 copies pressed. That’s ironic, given how polished sounding Baby, I Need You is. It’s polished sounding track that’s been influenced by the British Invasion. Especially The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. However, Baby, I Need You disappeared without trace. How different things might have been. With the right record label behind Baby, I Need You, maybe it would’ve given The Eccentrics that elusive hit single.
Blue Diamonds’ Gotta Tell Her is another of the unreleased tracks on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. It was recorded on 9th June 1966, and since then, has lain in Huey Meaux’s vaults. It’s a real find.Elements of surf, garage, psychedelia and rock combine during this moody, stomper.
The Chancellors’ roots were in Louisiana. They however, made the pilgrimage to Pasadena to record Don’t Tell Me at Huey Meaux’s studio in 1965. Later that year, Don’t Tell Me was released as a single. This Howard Lee and Rusty Shafer was The Chancellors’ second single. They were obviously a tight, talented and proficient group. Don’t Tell Me is melodic, and almost Byrdsian, given its use of harmonies. Despite having all this going for it, Don’t Tell Me passed record buyers. Thankfully, it makes a welcome return on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas.
Closing Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas is Dodad’s Bring Me. It was recorded in January 1966, but never released. With its raw, almost aggressive and punky sound, it’s the perfect way to close Dodad Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. After all, it goes a long way to defining the sixties Texan punk sound.
Probably the best way to describe Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas is eclectic. While the music is described as punk, that is slightly misleading. Some of the tracks could be described as garage, pop, psychedelia, rock or surf. Other tracks are a fusion of musical genres. They’ve also been influenced by a variety of musicians.
Among the influences, arethe British Invasion groups. Two of the most noticeable influences are The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Other influences include The Byrds and The Doors early releases. These influences shine through on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas, which was recently released by Big Beat Records, an imprint of Ace Records. These tracks were produced by Huey Purvis Meaux, a leading light of the Texan music scene.
Huey Purvis Meaux was blessed with what he calls “good ears.” This meant he knew a hit record when he heard one. It didn’t matter if it was blues, country, garage, R&B, rock ’n’ roll, swamp pop or Tex Mex, Huey knew a hit when he heard one. By 1965, Huey turned his attention to Texan punk.
His studio became the go-to place for aspiring punk bands. Huey many young punk musicians thought could make their dreams come true. He could turn them into stars. Fame and fortune was only a hit single away. Then the doors to the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle would be thrown wide open. Sadly, many of the bands on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas didn’t get the chance to live the dream.
Some bands enjoyed a regional hit. For others, releasing a single was a status symbol. This meant they were a cut above their rivals on the Texan punk scene. They were meant to be going places. Often, that wasn’t the case. Like many bands over the last fifty years, they only released the one single. The lucky ones maybe released two or three singles. After that, the dream was over. That was the case for many Texan punk bands by 1967.
By 1967, music was changing. The psychedelic age was dawning. Punk had had its day, for the time being.
Nine years later, in 1976, punk made a return. It was very different to the music on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas. Although the twenty-six tracks on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas are described as punk, the title is slightly misleading.
The Texan punk that features on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas is very different from the punk of 1976. Let’s get this clear, this isn’t the punk of 1976. Far from it. Instead, the music is much more accomplished, melodic and polished. The music incorporates garage, pop, psychedelia, rock and surf. Unlike their seventies counterparts, the bands that feature on Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas can actually play their instruments. They’re proficient and talented musicians. Some would say they’re too talented to be classified as punk musicians. I would. So will you, once you’ve heard the delights of Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas.
DON’T BE BAD! 60S PUNK RECORDED IN TEXAS.