The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41

Categories: The Texas 30

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47. Michael Haaga, The Plus and Minus Show (2004)
This psychedelic hard rock fantasia by the former deadhorse front man featured a revolving-door cast of the Houston music scene in the early/mid-'00s, and even Haaga's old Superjoint Ritual bandmate Phil Anselmo. Plus and Minus cleaned up at the 2005 Houston Press Music Awards, with Haaga taking Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year ("If and When"), Local Artist of the Year. But, as John Nova Lomax explains in this February 2006 Press cover story ("Band Suicide"), even by the awards the Plus and Minus Show was a dead band walking. Haaga faded from the scene, as they say, and never released a follow-up. He did come out of retirement (or whatever you want to call it) to portray Frank Black in Catastrophic Theatre's Bluefinger in 2010, but has kept to himself ever since. Unfortunately.

46. Willie Nelson, Teatro (1998)
For an A-list star like Our Willie, Teatro is more of a genre picture: Lower budget, less of a crowd-pleaser than something that lets him scratch a more personal itch. Recorded live in an old California movie theater, Teatro lets Daniel Lanois' soft-focus production rub some vaseline on the lens of some of Nelson's starkest material ever, like "Darkness On the Face of the Earth" and "I Never Cared For You."

45. The Sword, Age of Winters (2006)
Texas had not seen a metal band like The Sword in at least a generation, if ever -- ponderous, mythological, possibly speaking an arcane language entirely unto themselves. (Hey, you try to decipher songs called "Lament for the Aurochs" or "Ebethron.") Winters is a contemporary hair-flipping masterpiece, but also a throwback to the Sabbath-ruled days before Metallica's cleansing fire swept through metal, and kids stayed up all night playing D&D instead of Call of Duty.

44. Big Boys, Fun Fun Fun (1982)
With plus-sized, hypercharismatic goofball Randy "Biscuit" Turner up front and Chris Gates and Tim Kerr in the engine room, the Big Boys pioneered a combination of hardcore punk and ass-slapping funk that served as the template for a good bit of alternative rock in Texas during the '80s and '90s. (Bad Mutha Goose, anyone?) Fun Fun Fun... is only six songs long, saving room for a cover of Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swingin'," but it left a lasting impression.

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