Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Tex & The Horseheads "Life's So Cool" (1985)

Tex & the Horseheads always struck me as if they just came stumbling out of a saloon in some post-apocalyptic future version of the mythical Old West, laughing and slapping each other on the back and falling down sloppy drunk and looking for their next drink, score or fight - whichever they happen to run across first.  They were cowpunks before cowpunk was a subgenre, both in musical style and in lifestyle.

They were led by a pint-sized whirling dervish by the name of Texacala Jones, a female version of Stiv Bators wearing Adam Ant's makeup who sported a sleepy "C'm'ere darrrrlin'" hick drawl worn raspy from an equal mix of whiskey, cigarettes and heartbreak with which she belted bootstompers like "Tumbleweed" and purred bluesy ballads like "Big House Part III."  They were ragged, amphetamine-fueled, and authentic.

The best of their three albums was 1985's Life's So Cool, which contains the two titles mentioned above among its collection of hard hitting redneck punky rock-n-roll. Tales of drunken escapades ("Bartender Sam"), promises of rehabilitation ("I'll Quit Tomorrow") and the inevitable backslide into bleakness ("Jailed Again") combine for a helluva gut punch - you have no doubt at all that they have lived every word of it.  Add to that a 40-second slice of Cream's "Cat's Squirrel" (Texacala's Southern Comfort-slurred "AWWWWrightawrightawrightawrightawright...all ri-i-ight!" is the perfect intro to the album's festivities) and one of the greatest break-up songs ever, "The Slip," and you've got a platter that is damn hard to beat.

Their earlier self-titled debut album is also good, but not nearly as self-assured; the import-only concert album that followed should have been a better document of the band in action but suffers from poor sound quality.  Life's So Cool is the one to look for.

Check out two of my faves from the album, "Lucky Hand" and "Big House Part III."  Enjoy!

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