Lance Matthew wrote:Honkey Blues
They'd recorded easily enough material in the form of singles and what not for an album prior to this but Honkey Blues
is the first LP proper. It's not bad but not really what it should have been either. The band was living in the Bay Area at this point, Sahm trying his hand at being a Hippie in Northern California and not his beloved Texas. I recommend "Are In-Laws Really Outlaws" and one or two more but on the whole, the album's jazzy leanings and slight psychedelic feel don't really suit the boys.
I think this is basically right, except that Sahm wasn't trying anything. He was as Hippie as it got. A lot of these songs are sort of standard R&B type tunes (with typically ridiculous Sahm lyrics), and then they get all . . . weird. "Sell A Song" mutates into this sort of devolved, disintegrating vamp, which goes into the weird, sort of brief free jazz intro to "Song of Everything," which is classic dopey Sahm. "Song of everything has something for somebody" . . . "when you're there, breath air" . . . "and you know it's the season to groove." But it also has a classic horn line with atmospheric organ, and the chorus is amazing, and then it devolves into bullshit jazz jamming, repeat, so forth. "I'm Glad For Your Sake (But I'm Sorry For Mine)" is a stone classic Gulf Coast ballad. But wait! It gets weird with with freaky, massed fiddles with tons of reverb on them. There's psych-country in my triplets! The theme (freaky fiddles) starts "Whole Lotta Peace Of Mind" (I'm serious) and blows out progressively through the song. There are great moments and feelings throughout the song, but the song just isn't that good. So it sounds really cool, but there's nothing there. After about five minutes, it too devolves into weird saxophone bits. "You Never Get Too Big And You Sure Don't Get Too Heavy, That You Don't Have To Stop And Pay Some Dues Sometime" is really a song. This one is pretty strong melodically and production wise, but the decay into weird, random shit is more abrupt and profound (not in the "deep" sense). It's a suitable end to the record.
Overall, it's simply not a great record. It's a mess. It's a shame he didn't focus himself more -- there are enough great bits scattered hither and yon to really stitch something special together. But I think I prefer it as a mess, and I'm more and more tolerant of it. Of course, the songs I love, I've always loved. You need it, if nothing else, to make your Doug Sahm comp.