Titus Oates

Jungle Lady

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Titus Oates was a Dallas, TX, progressive hard rock five-piece that was never well known. The group's lone 1974 LP was only issued locally on the Lips label, and until this reissue from Radioactive the only way to hear the thing was to lay down hard cash for a shoddy bootleg -- an important point because, while it may not have the bombast of a major-label recording, Jungle Lady does not suffer from the murky sonics that dog most self-released records of this sort. Because it was a local pressing, it has been nearly impossible to locate, too; as a result, Titus Oates has been at the top of many collectors' want lists for years, its legend growing every time someone added it to a personal catalog of Holy Grails. Does it live up to the hype? Sort of. Jungle Lady is a competent curiosity that balances tough Texas-style hard rock playing -- it's not ZZ Top, but it's close -- with progressive rock keyboards and jazzy guitar licks. Those aren't things that often intersect, and so the legend is deserved. The execution leaves something to be desired, though, and despite some very nice guitar playing, Titus Oates sits flatly at the journeyman rock level, which is probably why Jungle Lady didn't make it out of Dallas the first time around. That doesn't really take away from enjoying Jungle Lady, though, and with its heady, largely unexplored mix of rock grit and prog flourish, it's sure to find an appreciative audience.

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