Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bad Seeds (Texas)


Self-titled (also known as J-Beck Story 1) LP, Eva Records, 1984 (music recorded 1965-1967)

In the '60s, there was an explosion of small American independent labels that put out local rock and roll music, promoted shows and got their songs into local radio rotation ... and occasionally broke big. Tom Hanks made a movie about one such (improbable) band in That Thing You Do. Bad Seeds were not one of those bands that broke big but still have managed to be remembered as being a pioneer in Texas and American rock. The Bads Seeds were the first of the J-Beck / Cee-Bee bands from Corpus Christi and are known mostly for their Texas hit "Taste of the Same." Of course these aren't the same Bad Seeds that back up Nick Cave but with some slight stretching one could draw a line between their darkish blues-rock through The Doors off tangent to the goofy Texas punk of the '80s and all the way through to Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Yeah, it's a stretch but bear with me.

Starting a long Texas R&R tradition, and as you can see, this is one ugly band. The liner notes suggest things started going down for these local heroes once they got girlfriends (as it did in That Thing You Do) and they stopped practicing in favor of getting laid. The liner notes suggested also that 2nd Gen Corpus band Zakary Thaks also put them to shame and they "knew their days were numbered."

That's okay by me, as most of the other songs on this platter don't even begin to reach the sublime sneering hangdoggedness of the headsmackin' "Taste of the Same." Of note, is their b-side "I'm a King Bee," a take on black blues singer Slim Harpo's old song which while somewhat prosaic suggests these Southern boys knew their blues and weren't afraid to play "black music." The Doors would later modify this basic blues song into the more sinister (or more laughable) "Crawling King Snake"...

After they broke up (1967) the only cute guy in the band, singer and strummer Mike Taylor struck out on his own, attempted to capitalize on the late 60's Folk Rock trend calling himself, regrettably, The Fabulous Mike Taylor. Like Bad Seeds, the results of this solo act are mixed (and documented on Side 2) - Taylor managed to dredge up some of the worst cliches of that genre -- most of which occur when Americans try to be British minstrels. But his lonely-guy single "I'm Nobody's Man" that kicks off Side 2 recalls some of the better soulful strum of The Beatles and their ilk.

This record came out in 1984 from Eva, a French reissue label (which appears to be defunct) and apparently the first in three records documenting Carl Becker's J-Beck label. You gotta love these furrinners, helping to document American music and all. The liner notes include part one of an interview with Becker, Taylor and Chris Gerniottis (singer for later J-Beck bands Zakary Thaks and the Liberty Bell) and this rather ridiculous publicity photo of Michael Taylor (can anyone tell me whom the statue is of?).

There's an unsubstantiated rumor that surfaced on the Bomp! mailing list that the Mike Taylor who recorded the first two Butthole Surfers records was the same Mike Taylor here but I've searched high and low for any corroborating evidence and have found none. Although Taylor is listed as writer and producer for Zakary Thaks so it may well be that he's recording bands somewhere in Texas. Still it would be fitting that the band that recorded the surf-zonked "classics" (not) called "Zilch, Part 1" and "Zilch, Part 2" would have some association with those Trinity College nihilists (and hence my tenuous line to '80's Texas punk).

Bad Seeds are :
  • Mike Taylor (guitar, vocals),
  • Rod Prince (lead guitar),
  • Henry Edgeington (bass) and
  • Bobby Donaho (drums).

Fabulous Michael Taylor is credited with all the parts in his recording.

Songs:

Buy Bad Seeds - Texas Battle of the Bands compiles side 1's Bad Seeds songs with Zakary Thaks and seems to be available on the web.

Links:

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, Crawling Kingsnake was a John Lee Hooker tune (covered by the Doors badly). I think it came out before Harpo's King Bee.

The two songs may be unrelated.

countrygrrl said...

these bees give old rubber lips a run around the dressing room...fantastic..thanx for fab post..

Reverend Frost said...

Excellent band, thanx !

KS said...

You do know what band the Rod Prince started a little later, don't you? Here's a hint: They signed to Leland Rogers label and had a huge hit in 1969.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Rod Prince went on to Bubble Puppy ("Hot Smoke and Sassafras"). The Bad Seeds' Zilch is a smoking instrumental. I'm surprised it has never been covered or reworked. EVA basically put out a bunch of 60's garage punk records from about 83-88, I think. I never saw it, but I think the J-Beck/Cee Bee Story pt. 2 featured Zakary Thaks and the Liberty Bell. There is a CD reissue of the Bad Seeds, Liberty Bell, and a recent comprehensive overview of Zakary Thaks.

Jun Eric Pilar said...

Where are they now?great post & let's give a round of applause to the one of the cool & lost bands of the 60's!

cheers!

Elizabeth K said...

The statue looks like Michelangelo's Moses. I used to live by a big replica of it!

Carl Becker said...

I AM AMAZED THAT SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND THGE WORLD REMEMBER AND ARE INTERESTED IN WHAT WE DID IN CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS BACK IN THGE 60'S...IT MEANS A GREAT DEAL TO ME PERSONALLY AND KNOW IT MEANS THE "WORLD" TO ALL THE ARTISTS THAT WE HAD ON J-BECK AND CEE-BEE RECORDS OVER 40 YEARS AGO.

CARL BECKER
PRODUCER OF:
THE BAD SEEDS
TONY JOE WHITE
THE ZAKARY THAKS
SAM NEELY
THE LIBERTY BELL
MICHAEL TAYLOR

Anonymous said...

Hey, Carl, don't forget you weren't the only producer. I remember Jack Salyers playing a reel to reel of a song and asking me what I thought and whether they should release it. Don't remember what it was, but I told him yes. I know that Jack did most of the promotion work. Just saying . . .

joacim said...

hello vinyl mine! do you still have the mp3 for "taste of the same"?

i have a great urge for that one and can't seem to find it elsewhere! would be great. my favourite song!

/joacim from sweden

joacim said...

hey vinyl!
do you still have the "taste of the same" mp3?
the link does not work anymore.

would be great if you had, it is indeed my favourite song. so thats why i'm asking.

thanks /joacim from sweden