This week's episode of What's Playing On My Stereo features the stinging guitar solos of Johnny Guitar Watson right next to the melodic psychedelia of the 13th Floor Elevators.
From: Space Guitar: The Essential Early Masters [Varese Sarabande, 2004]
For those of you who are only familiar with Johnny Guitar Watson's 70's funk output on DJM Records, you will be quite surprised with the songs I have selected for today. These two tracks are back to back on this collection, but they couldn't be more different in sound. "Space Guitar" sounds less like a space-themed song than a cutting-edge blues song with blistering guitar solos that are both rhythmic and inventive at the same time. The next track, "Gettin' Drunk," is a rollicking jump blues that is guaranteed to get your body gyrating to the rhythm. Listen up! Johnny Guitar Watson is here to get you up out your seat, so don't disappoint the man.
From: Bull of the Woods [International Records, 1968]
I've recently converted to the music of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, but I definitely dig Bull of the Woods more than Easter Everywhere. Bull of the Woods is more varied in sound and has some absolutely spellbinding melodies that can't be found on the latter album. At certain parts of Bull of the Woods, Erickson's melodies evoke the sound of Neil Young and Jefferson Airplane, but the vocals are often buried under thick sheets of reverb and distorted beyond belief. My favorite song on the record is "Scarlet and Gold" because it features one of the catchiest melodies in recent memory, with hazy, psychedelic vocals that are practically impossible to shake from your cerebral cortex. The ironically titled, "Dear Dr. Doom," features the most jubilant melody on the record along with a fantastic horn section that could raise the spirits of a terminally ill cancer patient. If you like the tracks I've featured today, you will most likely dig the entire record.