Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.
Recording information: 1965-1967.
Huey P. Meaux knew what music would sell, which is why he was so hot to find a Texan band that could sound like one of those ravers out of the U.K. He found one with Sir Douglas Quintet, getting Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers to play Ray Charles with the ragged glee of the Kinks or Rolling Stones, but SDQ wasn't the only rock & roll band he recorded for his Crazy Cajun cabal. Once "She's About a Mover" hit in 1965, teenage Texans with guitars and organs sought out Meaux so he recorded them, putting out 7"s on Tear Drop, Ventural, Caddo, Capri, Shane, Pic, Pacemaker, Back Stage, and other imprints designed to disguise how Huey was running an empire. Alec Palao dug through the vaults, assembling Ace's 2015 compilation Don't Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded in Texas out of rare singles and excavated cuts, among which is the comp's title track. Eleven of the tracks are previously unreleased but the entire collection is essentially unheard for those who aren't hardcore '60s garage and proto-punk collectors. Although the Phinx, one of those bands tucked away deep in Meaux's vaults, flirt with spacy drones on "To No Place of Its Own," this is all prime mid-'60s fuzz-toned stomps -- lean, cacophonous three-chord rockers punctuated by the occasional blues jam and descending minor-key madness. In other words, a lot of Stones and Yardbirds -- the Pirates jammed those two influences together in a medley of Bo Diddley's "Mona"/"Who Do You Love," tunes that were covered by the Stones and Yardbirds, respectively -- but Texas had its own garage quirks, namely great sheets of cheap, greasy organ, a hint of wayward Dylan influence (best heard on the Dodads' "Lost in a Crowd"), and a strain of pop that echoed both the Beatles and that great son of Lubbock, Buddy Holly. It's enough variety to keep things cooking on Don't Be Bad!, but credit that to Palao's sharp selection and sequencing, skills that are as evident as his research and excellent liner notes. Although there's no denying Meaux's nefarious side -- the main reason this collection doesn't dip into psychedelia is because he was jailed in 1967 on a violation of the Mann Act - Palao spins spin Meaux's hucksterism in the best possible light, showcasing how his eagerness to make a quick buck led to the kind of timeless trashy thrills preserved here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine