documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

Acid Visions: The Best Of Texas Punk & Psychedelic (Voxx)

‘Acid Visions’ (Voxx Records VHM 200.008) 1983

I started buying 60s garage compilations in 1984 and my earliest experience into the world of comps were Acid VisionsAttack Of The Jersey Teens and the first two volumes of Back From The Grave.

Throughout the 80s I kept a diary and notes of any records that I bought, so I’m hoping those will reveal the exact date and vinyl bought from Funhouse Records, a mail order records emporium, who, during that time used to get a monthly order from me.

My insatiable thirst for 60s garage and psych LPs had to be curtailed with a small budget because during 1984 to 1988 I was either unemployed or spending life as a student.  Money was tight but I somehow always found spare cash for compilations.

’Acid Visions’ on Voxx Records was the one comp that truly opened my mind to a whole new sound. Those Texas groups with their wild fuzztoned noise really appealed to my senses.

This LP was on heavy rotation and has been a constant thrill for nearly 30 years. Strangely, I’ve never got any of the songs compiled on an original 45. Some of them will be within my budget but I’m thinking that records by A-440, The Stoics and Satori will be outta my price range (if they ever did show up for sale)

Over the years I’ve downloaded hundreds of label scans from fellow collectors and the scans that appear with this article are from the collections of Rich Strauss and Mark Taylor who both have stellar garage collections.

A couple of the scans come from popsike. Of course the ’Acid Visions’ label and back cover pics come from my treasured vinyl copy of the latter.

The edited liners that make up the bulk of this article were written by Peter Buesnell and are the words that appeared on the back cover of ’Acid Visions.’

Side One opens with ’Comin’ Up Fast, Part 1’, by The Great Believers out of Houston. Originally known as Amos Boynton & the ABCs, the group consisted of Johnny and Edgar Winter, Amos Boynton and Dave Russell.

A great fuzz bass pumps along with everybody shouting and talking to provide a great party atmosphere. Johnny laments about not being able to grow up in the mid 60s, missing out on mini-dresses and the like. (I’m hoping Buesnell means that Johnny wanted to see mini-dresses on girls not to actually wear them himself).

Out of Fort Worth, came The Scotty McKay Quintet. McKay opened for The Yardbirds and was befriended by Jimmy Page. He sent Page a tape of ’Train Kept A-Rollin’, Page sent it back with his lead guitar dubbed in. The result is one of the best versions you’re likely to ever hear.

A-440, Rock Romano of The Fun and Games played guitar for A-440, who were from Houston. ’Torture’ is a great psychedelic punker with a raw vocal singing about death and other great subjects while a voice whispers the song title over and over behind the music. The drummer bangs unmercifully at the kit while a Bubble Puppy style lead guitar and thick Farfisa organ chords fill it out.

The Things were from Houston but little else is known. Their recordings never made it to vinyl, which is a shame, as they were a great Farfisa based band. A nice fuzz guitar interweaves through both of their songs.

’I Don’t Believe It’ and ’In Your Soul’ originate from tapes.

The Stoics have one of the most interesting stories of all the bands here. Comprised of Bill Ash, later in The Children on lead guitar, Al Acosta lead vocals, Sam Allen drums, Roy Quillan on rhythm guitar and Mike Marachal on bass, they came from San Antonio.

The Stoics had become favourites of a Mexican gang called ’Capinch’. They always won all the ’Battle Of The Bands’ in San Antonio. It seems that the ’Capinch’ would always be present during the voting to make sure all the kids picked The Stoics. Nothing more than friendly persuasion, of course.

’Enough Of What I Need’ was also recorded by The Children (on Laramie Records), could have been a big hit but the KTSA Radio Station in San Antonio banned it because of the line:

”Remember all the nights you kissed my lips
And the pleasure of my fingertips”

As a result of no airplay, there were no sales and no need to press more than 150 copies, thus a very rare record. The flip side ’Hate’ is also a very strong tune, being originally credited on the 45 to Jay Ketira, leader of the ’Capinch’, even though he didn’t write it. Always helps to keep your friends happy.

Satori was a one man group from Houston. Dennis Warkentin played everything in sight for this one. The song featured on ’Acid Visions’ is ’Time Machine’, the B-side of the single is ’1000 Micrograms of Love’.

’Time Machine’ is one of the most frantic all out rockers of the 60s, much like ’7 & 7 Is’ by Love. The lead guitar has a high trebly sound that eats at you through the whole song and doesn’t let up. Truly one of the most unique things out of Texas, collectors will be looking hard for this one.

The Ramadas was one of Neal Ford’s bands before he formed The Fanatics. ’Life Is So Tough’ is almost a parody of all the white boy plays the blues bands. This actually sounds like white boys playing the blues with almost easy listening vocals over a nice bluesy pattern.

Listening to these guys singing about how tough life is will definitely give you a lift.

Although Roy Head is currently pursuing a country career, at one time he was a great rock’n’roll singer. ’Easy Lovin’ Girl’ written by Johnny Winter, is one of Roy’s great rockin’ cuts. 

The Great Believers are the back-up band with Johnny Winter providing some great fuzz guitar and with, we presume, Edgar Winter playing some wild vibraphone. Roy Head shows off some fine rhythm ’n’ blues vocalizing on this tune.

’Easy Lovin’ Girl’ is from tapes and previously unreleased.

Besides his work with The Believers, almost all of Johnny Winter’s output has been the blues. One of the exceptions to this is the B-side of ’Leavin’ Blues’. ’Birds Can’t Row Boats,’ a Byrds/Blue Things like guitar rings throughout with Johnny doing his best impression of Mouse imitating Dylan. The lyrics are worth the price of admission alone.

”Ugly are the spiders of the mind
The reality of you turns them on”

The comp used an album version of ’Birds Can’t Row Boats’ which is a slightly different take/mix of the single released on Pacemaker Records.

The Pandas were a five man combo from Alamo City, San Antonio. Originally called The Centurys, they released a version of ’Whole Lot Of Shakin’ in 1965. This single ’Walk’ is one of the best Texas ravers.

It features incredible fuzz lead/rhythm guitar and a bass riff that pulsates so much you’ll want to get up and dance before you realise what’s happening. The Pandas later became The Giant Smiling Dogs, with no known recordings.

Since ’Acid Visions’ was released in 1983 it has been confirmed that The Bad Roads hailed from Lake Charles, Louisiana and were a six piece outfit. Members were Buzz Clark (vocals), Terry Green (lead guitar), Brian Smith (rhythm guitar), Mike Hicks (bass), Kenny Cooley (tambourine) and Danny Kimball (drums).

’Blue Girl’ is one of those instantly addictive songs with a great fuzz lead, punky sneering vocals and Farfisa pumping along in the background. It has a memorable guitar breaks in the middle of the song. Killer!!

It was originally assumed that The Bad Roads were from Texas however, this was untrue. They did travel to Houston in 1967 to appear on a The Larry Kane Show, a local TV music programme to lip-sync two songs. I wonder if the tape still exists? 

The Bad Roads had all four of their songs re-issued by Sundazed in 1999 on a must have EP.

Closing out the album is Amos Boynton & The ABCs, the earlier incarnation of The Great Believers. This is a different version of ’Comin’ Up Fast’ with different lyrics, vocalists and a much heavier fuzz guitar line. This version was recorded in Tyler, Texas.

Records used on ’Acid Visions’:

’Comin’ Up Fast Part 1’/’Comin’ Up Fast Part 2’ (Cascade 365) January 1970 *see comment from MTM*

’The Train Kept A’Rollin’/’The Theme From The Black Cat’ (Falcon FIC-101) 1967

’Torture’/’It’s Just Your Mind’ (Sona USA-103) May 1967

’Enough Of What I Need’/’Hate’ (Brams Records BM-101) January 1967

’Time Machine’/’1000 Micrograms Of Love’ (Stefek Records S-621) June 1967

’Life Is So Tough’/’The Very First Time’ (New World 2008) 1965

’Walk’/’Girl From New York City’ (Swingtime SW-1001/2) 1966

’Blue Girl’/’Too Bad’ (JIN 45-210) September 1966

’Leavin’ Blues’/’Birds Can’t Row Boats’ (Pacemaker Records PM-243) 1966
**album take used on Acid Visions**

Readers comments:
MTM: The Bad Roads single was released in September 1966.
The Great Believers 45 was released in January, 1970, likely as one of those ”cash-in” type deals, since Johnny was recording for Columbia Records at that time.

In my rather motley 45 collection, I do have the Stoics 45, bought from Doug Hanners after he found a box of them in a Texan warehouse and sold them for $12.00 each in the late 70’s. My copy was rather battered (but playable)and was autographed by W. Ash!

Paul Messis: Johnny Winters influenced my own ‘Why’, this LP was equally of an importance to me, it was one of my first garage comps I found around the age of 16.

The liners are wrong about ”Birds Can’t Row Boats.” It is not a ”slightly different take” but the music track overdubbed with a completely different vocal (not by Winter) and rewritten as ”The Statue.”

About Johnny Winter’s song: The text isn’t ”The reality of you turns them on”, but ”The reality of Hewitt turns them on” Hewitt was an Irish author, much beloved by Bod Dylan and the song ”Birds can’t row boats” is supposed to be written and sung in an exaggerated Dylan-style.

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