Monday, 3 August 2009

Roy Head - The Same People

Same People (That You Meet Going Up, You Meet Coming Down)

She's About A Mover

The Same People

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Dunhill DS-50080

Not much to add to the reviews below since the truth lies somewhere between the two. The players are pretty much a complete mystery and the fact that the album was produced by the Crazy Cajun, Huey P. Meaux, at Houston's hit factory, Gold Star/Sugar Hill studio, and recorded in May of 1970 doesn't help much at all. Heck, these guys seem to have brokered quite the deal just by getting their first names and pics attached to the product, since most times Meaux paid struggling session musicians a flat fee and sent them on their way after recording was complete. However, Meaux gave his records to the University of Texas at Austin, including detailed lists of payments through that period, so the answer ostensibly sits there awaiting some intrepid soul to sift through the stacks of documents donated.

Head came back into the public view a few years ago when his son, Sundance, was a crowd favourite on American Idol's sixth season. Roy's been soaking up the attention since and has been giving interviews left, right and centre in his outspoken style as well as performing to unlikely crowds at hip events like SXSW a couple years back in addition to golden oldies soul and R&B fests. According to all accounts the attendees are blown away by this soon-to-be septuagenarian's splits, spins and kicks on stage.

An essential side for fans of blue-eyed soul, the history of Texas psych and rock or those that need a reminder on Monday regarding the karma and consequences of climbing the corporate ladder. All tracks were comped in '99 on Edsel's compendium of Head's Crazy Cajun sessions White Texas Soul Shouter but the LP itself has never seen a CD issue.

AMG Review
by Richie Unterberger
Roy Head was one of the best blue-eyed soul singers, and Huey P. Meaux one of the best Texas '60s rock producers. But though Meaux does produce this straightforward blue-eyed soul album, somehow it never catches fire. It's not the fault of Head, who sings well, with the tinge of country (particularly on the ballad "I'm Not a Fool Anymore") that sometimes surfaced in other first-rate blue-eyed soul singers like Lonnie Mack. The production is OK too, embellishing the standard guitar/bass/drums with organ, sax, and trumpet, as well as some female backup vocals.

The shortfall lies mainly in the material, which is somewhat by-the-numbers soul, though with some circa 1969-1970 touches of early funk. In fact, "Let a Woman Be a Woman" is a pretty blatant James Brown takeoff, though it sounds as if Head and his band's heart isn't fully in it. On the whole it seems like some essential ingredients were missing, in keeping with an album in which only the first names are given for all of the musicians save Head.

Ponderosa Stomp Foundation Review
In 1970 he cut his swan song LP for Dunhill, The Same People You Meet Going Up You Meet Coming Down. Produced by Huey P. Meaux, one of the world’s great mysteries is just why this album—replete with great “break beats”—isn’t coveted by the funk/ hip-hop DJ crowd. But don’t ponder, purchase!! It still sells for under ten bucks and is a true cornerstone in any Gulf Coast music collection. For one thing, the backing musicians are completely out of hand: funky drums, out-of-control bass lines, over-the-top fuzz guitars, screeching Ornette-Coleman style saxophone and trumpet and above it all, Roy testifying with every ounce of sweat and soul his body, mind and spirit can muster. Lord, have mercy!!! There’s just no arguing with the best.

The song selection, alas, couldn’t be better. T.K. Hulin’s swamp pop classic “I’m Not A Fool Anymore,” Jimmy Hughes’ “Neighbor, Neighbor,” Jackie Payne’s “Go-Go Train” (masquerading as “Soul Train”) and the BEST version of the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About A Mover” ever recorded. Yes, perhaps even better than the original, hardly a fair comparison because Roy strips the proceedings down to their rawest funkified core. And speaking of Sir Doug, Head even fronted the Texas Tornadoes for a tour when Freddy Fender couldn’t make the gig, and if he was any more intense back in the ‘60s then he was a few years ago, well, he certainly hasn’t lived up to the title of one of the songs from that aforementioned album, “Don’t Want To Make It Too Funky.” You won’t be able to take your eyes (or ears) off Head when he’s onstage, but just watch out: this man’s antics with a microphone are akin to an electrified boomerang.

Roy Head - Vocals
Ronald ? - Organ
Billy ? - Sax
Bobby ? - Trumpet
Eddie ? - Bass
Sid ? - Drums
David ? - Lead Guitar

1 Same People (That You Meet Going Up, You Meet Coming Down)
2 Trying To Reach My Goal
3 Driving Wheel
4 I'm Not A Fool Anymore
5 I Was Born A Free Man
6 Mama Mama
7 She's About A Mover
8 Neighbor-Neighbor
9 Don't Want To Make It Too Funky (In The Beginning)
10 Double Your Satisfaction
11 Let A Woman Be A Woman
12 Soul Train

If you want a vinyl copy there are stacks of still-sealed original pressings to be found at all the usual spots for anywhere from $10 to $20. Until you pick one up, you can get yourself some Head from Soundological HERE or HERE.


E-mile said...

nice....some killer tracks, ready to be "e-milesaysalized"...
thanks for all your hard work cheeba!
peace, E-mile
btw: check Ancestors - Neptune With Fire on Marcus's place, awesome stuff!

Cry-Baby Walker said...

Thanx for this! Roy Head is the man!