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What if the 60s LA Scene Still Existed in the 1980s?
Randall E. Adams | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I should disclose that this is the only release of the Textones' music that I have ever heard, so I am no expert of the band.
The Textones are the band that gave us Kathy Valentine (later of the Go Go's) and--more importantly in my view--Carla Olson. With these two relatively high profile distaff rockers in its ranks, you might lump the Textones in the girl rock crowd. More accurately, though, this is a band who came to Los Angeles at the beginning of the 1980s (from Texas I presume) to celebrate what some might view as the golden era of LA rock--the mid to late 60s. This band clearly absorbed all of the records by the Byrds as well as Gene Clark's solo records, the (not quite Los Angeles) sounds of the Beau Brummels, and probably Love, the Leaves and Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine. Oh, and if we must, maybe the Doors too.
After the exit of Ms. Valentine to more verdant (but less filling) pastures, the Textones became largely a creature of the joint talents of Ms. Olson and guitarist George Callins. Often both of these players donned 12 strings, and that should give you an idea of the prevailing aesthetic here. However, to create the whole brew stir in that honorary Los Angeles band, the Rolling Stones (most of whose recordings were made in Los Angeles until Andrew Oldham was elbowed out in 1967 and who still came to town to chum up with the likes of Gram Parsons)and a decent dollop of late 1970s/early 1980s punk. What you get is a frankly melodic, but tough, guitar rock of the indie persuasion with little or none of the sunny cheeriness of the Go Go's.
This collection spans from 1980 for a first single with Kathy Valentine on to 1985 when the band backed Gene Clark for the straight-ahead Clark country of "Day for Night" and finally 1986 when the band cut what proved to be an excellent demo version of "The Drifter." That same year, Olson would be out of the Textones and sharing the stage with Clark taking "The Drifter" with her. Most of the lead vocals are handled by Olson except for 1980's "Can't Stop the World" (Kathy Valentine) and a handful of tunes sung by drummer Phil Seymour, this latter choice not a happy one in my view.
The Rolling Stones influenced "Number One is to Survive" will probably be conceded by Olson to be her personal signature song. It justifies the purchase of this set. However, you also get a fine cover of Dave Paul's "Silver" in full jangly spendor, the fine title song, the harder-edged transitional (punk to Byrds) "What Do You Want With Me?" and the aforementioned "Day For Night" and "The Drifter." Plus there are the two sides of the Kathy Valentine single."