On My Way to Houstonby Powell St. John
Finding a home on the Tompkins Square label seemed only logical for someone like Powell St. John, a veteran of folk, rock, and psychedelia of all stripes in the '60s -- and it makes further sense that he and his backing band tip their hat to fellow Texan Roky Erickson with a cover of the latter's "Hardest Working Man" to kick off the album. This said, On My Way to Houston feels more like a worthy effort than a striking release in its own right, something that seems strangely conservative rather than a second wind. On the one hand there's no denying St. John's general passion, and if his voice sounds his age then all the more credit for him not pretending otherwise -- he's no young man and not trying to be, though he does capture an adolescent crush from his past with humor and wisdom on "I Loved the Way You Played the Piccolo." But on the other, a number of the full-band performances throughout are little more than easygoing blues-rock of the sort that seemed to define a good chunk of the late '80s, time-killing and ultimately feeling rote and with a fairly flat sound to boot. Thus the more folk-derived performances stand out all the more, like the tribute to a forebear, "John Clay," given a banjo/fiddle treatment, or the enjoyable instrumental "Jerry Lightfoot," one of the better showcases for St. John's harmonica work.
- Release Date:
- Tompkins Square
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