Showing posts with label Blackhorse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blackhorse. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blackhorse, Texas Southern Rock feature

Fox Huntin' has to be one of the best opening tracks on any album, ever! Baying hounds introduce one of the most driving riffs of all time, at first you think this might be Motörhead, but then the unmistakable Southern accents and bluesy leads come in and you find yourself in Southern hard rock heaven. Much of this 1979 album is on the verge of heavy metal, and that gives it a unique sound, there wasn't anything heavier than this in Southern rock at the time, that's for sure.

John Teugue  -  Gary James  -  Paul-Anthony Middleton
From Mineral Wells, Texas, power-trio Blackhorse self-released this record to sell at gigs. Gary James was on lead guitar, John Teague was on drums, Paul-Anthony Middleton was on bass and they all shared vocal duties. They made a name for themselves playing around the Dallas Fort Worth area, in clubs such as Motherload's, but their most-remembered gig was at KZEW's Zoo World free concert in the Dallas County Convention Center in 1980, clips of which can be found on Youtube. Along the way they supported other Southern heavyweights like Point Blank.

Live @ KZEW Zoo World 1980
Although the record is technically only a demo, the quality is remarkable. The fizzing guitars sound great, the playing is on the dime. The shared vocal duties, sometimes call and response, sometime in harmony, are perfect, and other than a couple of slower, but no less-good bluesy ballads, the pace never relents. Velvet Angel, The Party's Started, Hell Hotel and Dave's Song motor along and this is one record that doesn't tail off in intensity toward the end like so many others do.

There have been a couple of limited re-issues, an early '90s bootleg CD being the one that brought them to the wider attention of rock fans. 

One old fan remembers: "I worked as a bartender at Spencer's Corner in Ft. Worth late 70s and Blackhorse were once banned from the club because the rock n roll bar had a "No cowboy hats" policy and the drummer always wore one. Those dopes running the club (Spencer Taylor) would not back off the policy so Blackhorse wrote a tune (Spencer's Corner) that called them out. Eventually they played there again in 1979 I believe."

John Teague and Gary (under the name Jesse 'Ropeburn' James) reappeared in the mid-eighties in The Cauze (youtube). Unfortunately they were a very different proposition to Blackhorse, and made an album of silky smooth keyboard-laden AOR. But Blackhorse did reform in 2008 and play some shows, until Gary's untimely death in 2015. If you got to see them at any time you were very lucky indeed!

In the words of Blackhorse themselves: "Blackhorse is a three-piece of intense power and emotion whose concert apperances have been aptly hailed by critics as "kick-ass". This debut album is their story. So ... TURN IT UP and enjoy one of the best rock & roll albums ever".

Follow the Blackhorse facebook page.

Gary James - Lead guitar, vocals
John Teague - Drums, vocals
Paul-Anthony Middleton - Bass, vocals

Produced by Paul-Anthony Middleton
Associate Producer - Rick Hatfield
Engineer - Bob Hickey
Cover Art - Vicky Sheets

A1. Fox Huntin'
A2. Lucille
A3. Velvet Angel
A4. The Party’s Started
A5. Momma Gonna Love You Tonight
A6. Cannot Find My Way Home
B1. Hell Hotel
B2. You've Got The Way
B3. Slow Down Tom
B4. Dave’s Song
B5. Spencer's Corner

Release infos

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Day After The Sabbath 57: Speedball Morning

Download here: [mf] or [mg]
password:  tdats
TDATS 57 is another selection of English language rock and psych weirdities from my searches.

Blackhorse were a very obscure Florida-based band and open up the compilation with a full frontal assault of gritty southern-tinged hard rock, which takes us nicely on to more southern flavor with the Skynyrdian riffs of Swampgas who made one album, in 1972 according to the sources. "The Accent" were a one-single 60s band that showed some great proto-progressive song-writing for 'Red Sky At Night' and Bullet is reputedly one of the founding names of blogger's favourite Hard Stuff (see Vol.2) who's early recordings also came under the name of Daemon. As Hard Stuff they recorded two quirky and heavy rock/prog albums, they were an 'obscure supergroup' as such, including John Du Cann and Paul Hammond formerly of Atomic Rooster, and John Gustafson, formerly of Quatermass. Texas's Twilighters come in with another short sharp 60s psych single, and Patto was a progressive blues-rock band formed in England in 1970 by vocalist Mike Patto with a lineup taken from 60s psych band Timebox, consisting of vocalist Patto, drummer John Halsey, guitarist and vibraphone player Ollie Halsall, and bassist Clive Griffiths.

John Fitch & Associates' 'Stoned Out Of It' offers a great mix of funk and psychedelic soul. Best known for his work with Ducks Deluxe and Tyla Gang, Sean Tyler also played with Help Yourself and Joan Jett. His reputation as an influence on punk is evident with the attitude-filled performance in this comp's namesake 'Speedball Morning'. Surrey, UK's The Factory (aka Souvenir Badge Factory) are next with their mod-pop single 'Try a little sunshine' which has a great juxtaposition between angelic vocals and heavy fuzz guitar in an instantly likable mix. There is very little history on Facedancers, the only clue is the liner notes saying they recorded in NYC, which is a shame as 'Let the music set you free' could well have been an anthem for disaffected youth.

Take a listen to Feathered Fish from The Sons of Adam and you may be very surprised to hear it was recorded in 1966, it's hard rock structure is quite evident, this could be somewhat explained by their very early appearance of the forward-thinking Randy Holden (see Vol.2) who, after playing with Blue Cheer, would later record his solo opus 'Population II' with a bank of 16 (some say more) 200W Sunn Amps.

Thunder was a duo, consisting of David Alley and Whitey Thomas. For their only album release, they got a little help from some friends. Like Bloodrock's Randy Reeder (see vol 1), guitarist Bugs Henderson and, John Nitzinger (Nitzinger being a particular favourite of mine - see Vol 3). John playing guitar, bass and writing about half the album. California's Kingdom created a decent garage rock album in 1970 and 'Waiting, Hesitating' demonstrates some insistent catchy riffing. The Stereo Shoestring made a great job of re-constructing The Pretty Thing's 'Defecting Grey', adding even more fuzz, for 'On The Road South'. The compilation ends on a recent find for me while formulating a 'Southern Rock' comp.  Ann Arbor, MI's Brownville Station made a lot of hard / southern / boogie rock albums during the 70s and are mostly famous for their cover of  "Smokin' in the Boys Room" but their lesser-known tracks revealed a keen and quirky sense of humour, like 1977's 'The Martian Boogie'.

Track List:

01. Blackhorse - Fox Huntin' (1979)
02. Swampgas - Potato Strut (1972)
03. The Accent - Red Sky At Night (1967)
04. Bullet - Fortunes Told (1970)
05. The Twilighters - Nothing Can Bring Me Down (1967)
06. Patto - Loud Green Song (1972)
07. John Fitch & Associates - Stoned Out Of It (1969)
08. Tyla Gang - Speedball Morning (1975)
09. The Factory - Try a Little Sunshine (1969)
10. Facedancers - Let the Music Set You Free (1972)
11. The Sons of Adam (feat. Randy Holden) - Feathered Fish (1966)
12. Thunder - King's X (1974)
13. Kingdom - Waiting, Hesitating (1970)
14. The Stereo Shoestring - On The Road South (1968)
15. Brownsville Station - The Martian Boogie (1977)

Thanks for listening! Rich

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