Behold the Texas 30, Plus Albums 40-31
At this point, hopefully you know what the Texas 30 is and why Rocks Off is counting down to the Top 30 Texas albums of the past 30 years, as determined by a statewide panel of professional music writers. The short answer is, of course, because we can, and because it was a great excuse to listen to a lot of great music during a stressful time of year.
As a good friend of ours likes to say, it's all over but the shouting. There isn't much else to say about it at this point, except that because the author was getting short on time this morning, here you can also read about the ten albums that just missed the cut, Nos. 40-31.
You can read all about the actual Top 30 in this week's cover story, and because we love album covers, we put together a slideshow of the Top 30 covers as well (coming soon). This has been a lot of fun, and a lot of work, and we hope all of our readers enjoy it.
40. The Vaughan Brothers, Family Style (1990)
Even from their earliest days in Dallas, Stevie Ray Vaughan and older brother Jimmie had always plowed parallel furrows in the Texas musical landscape. Jimmie showed up when Stevie was musical guest on a 1985 episode of Saturday Night Live, but Family Style was the first time the brothers teamed up in the studio. Chic's Nile Rodgers produced, polishing the set beyond either Double Trouble or the Fabulous Thunderbirds' usual fare, and the selections run the blues gauntlet from boogie-woogie to the gospel-soul of "Tick Tock," which sadly became an anthem around Austin after Stevie's helicopter crash.
39. Various Artists, Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson (1990)
This album, hard to find today, helped get the ball rolling on the '90s tribute/compilation trend and is the work former Houston musician and Austin Sun music writer Bill Bentley. Then working for Sire Records, Bentley saw Erickson had fallen on hard times (again) and started going through his Texas-heavy address book for Pyramid, starting off with a bang on ZZ Top's "Reverberation (Doubt)." The 19 tracks amount to a generous sampling of both Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators and punkish "horror film" years, and it's hard to imagine one single other person being an influence on a spectrum of musicians this broad: From Primal Scream, Jesus & Mary Chain, R.E.M. and the Butthole Surfers to Poi Dog Pondering, Julian Cope, Bongwater, T-Bone Burnett, Lou Ann Barton and Sister Double Happiness. For Roky, of course, it makes total sense.
38. Steve Earle, El Corazon (1997)
Steve Earle's horrific battle with addiction became heroic when he returned with the 1995 acoustic set Train a-Comin', but El Corazon is where he plugged back in. Corazon is a bit more of a mixed bag than Earle's usual albums, veering from hard rockers like "Taneytown" and the Supersuckers-assisted "N.Y.C." to the nice Texas tributes to Houston ("Telephone Road") and mentor Townes Van Zandt ("Ft. Worth Blues")