Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
My love of all things Scottish rears its tartan head again with Southside, the 1989 debut from Glasgow quartet Texas. It got some exposure on Alternative radio in the US but never became the hit it deserved to be, while in their native U.K. and various parts of Europe it was a huge success. Two less successful albums followed before they reinvented themselves with a healthy dose of blue-eyed soul, resulting in two decades of #1 and Top 10 albums seemingly everywhere but in the US. Sharleen Spiteri’s stunning voice has always been the focal point, and her commanding presence was evident right from the start. Previously included in the 4th part of my Great Out Of The Gate series, see below for the many reasons I still love this album more than 30 years after I first heard it. I’m so glad I saw them in small New York City clubs in support of their first two albums, where they proved to be an exciting & powerful live band.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 4:
When I saw an ad for the debut album by new Scottish band Texas in 1989, somehow I knew that I would like them just based on the cover design (which used the same bold white letters on a red background format as Ry Cooder’s moody, slide guitar-heavy soundtrack to the film Paris, Texas). My suspicions were confirmed when I heard their first single, “I Don’t Want A Lover,” shortly thereafter. The rock-steady rhythm laid down by drummer Stuart Kerr & bassist Johnny McElhone was the bedrock for lead singer/rhythm guitarist Sharleen Spiteri’s passionate & powerful vocals and Ally McErlaine’s biting-yet-tasteful lead guitar wizardry. I was convinced that McErlaine was going to be one of his generation’s guitar heroes based on his performances throughout this album, and having seen them live on their first couple of tours I stand by that assertion, even though he never achieved the kind of acclaim I expected. Tim Palmer’s clean production has kept the album from sounding dated, although the big drum sound occasionally date-stamps it to the late-‘80s. Not having played Southside for several years, I was pleased to discover how well it’s aged when I revisited it earlier this week. The album is filled with excellent rock songs like “Tell Me Why,” “Thrill Has Gone,” “Fight The Feeling” and “Everyday Now,” while the strummed acoustic blues of “Prayer For You” and atmospheric ballad “Future Is Promises” are proof that this young band weren’t a one-trick pony. They would go on to global success (outside the US) a decade later when they switched gears to a slicker, more soul-oriented direction, but their debut and the couple of albums that followed are the reason Texas has been an important band to me for more than a quarter century.
Who else was listening to Texas at the time? If you discovered them later on, how do you think this album stacks up against their more popular material? And if this is your first exposure to their music, do the clips above make you want to hear more?