Seompi was an acronym for "self expression on musically potential instruments," and also the name of one of the hardest-rocking bands to come out of Texas in the early '70s. During the late '60s and early '70s, Texas had evolved from the garage rock state of the mid-'60s to one of America's hard rock capitols. Bands such as the Oxford Circle, Watermusic, the Remaning Few, Moving Sidewalks, 13th Floor Elevators, and the Headstones were evolving from a garage sound into that of heavy, guitar-dominated hard rock. Texas' Cicadelic label had brought many such bands to light by way of singles, but the times were changing. Groups like Josephus, ZZ Top, and Mariani were changing the face of Texas rock. Music was becoming heavy, and many former garage bands were experimenting with new sounds and techniques. One such band was the Headstones, from McAllen, TX. Formed by Dave Williams in the mid-'60s, the Headstones earned quite a bit of success locally. The band evolved into Meat in 1968, but a marijuana-possession charge landed Williams in jail, and the band split. When he was released in 1970, Williams teamed up with Patrick Rockhill and Bill Reid to form Seompi. They were signed to the Black Star label, for which they recorded the single "Summer's Comin' on Heavy," and recorded another single for the Yin Yang label the same year. Although the band never recorded an album, a number of their songs were recorded, and they became favorites on the Texas hard rock circuit. A.W.O.L. is the first collection of Seompi material gathered in album form. The 17 songs here were selected from nearly six hours of tapes. While some of the recordings have noticeably deteriorated because of age and neglect, the album gives the listener an accurate representation of Seompi in its heyday. Another piece of American music history resurrected by Gear Fab Records for all to hear and enjoy.
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AllMusic Review by Keith Pettipas