Various Artists

Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands

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Where the first volume in Numero Records' Local Customs series focused on R&B, funk, gospel, and soul from small labels and a basement studio in Ecorse, MI, Lone Star Lowlands focuses on Mickey Rouse's Lowlands Recording Studio in Port Neches, TX, part of the States "Golden Triangle," that existed in between Port Arthur and Beaumont, located between Lake Charles, LA and Houston. Rouse's studio, like so many of the offerings that Numero passionately documents on its releases, was a hard-luck concern that recorded minor acts from the region between 1969 and 1972 when it shut its doors. The material ranges in form and genre but certainly has a sound. There's the folksy pop-psychedelia of Bobby Welch's "Yellow River," and his more Texas songwriter-oriented pop on "Benashaw Glen," and the spacy, harder rocking "Give Me Time" from Circus, and "Take a Look at Your Friends" by the Next Exit. There is also the deeply Crosby, Stills & Nash-saturated influence on "Where's Love Gone Today" by Mourning Sun that almost directly rips the "doo-doo doo-dit-doot-doot-doo doo doot" of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." For the collector interested in obscurities, Lone Star Lowlands will no doubt provide CD versions of recordings issued on tiny regional labels. Numero has done its usual exhaustive job in research, with a long liner essay by Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley, and did a stellar job of packaging with lots of rare photos, all packaged in a slip case box. [There is also a deluxe double-LP version of this set available.]

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