Reviewed by Ken Lieck, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001
Wild SeedsI'm Sorry, I Can't Rock You All Night Long: Wild Seeds 1984-1989 (Aznut) Remember back when the "Austin Music Scene" really was a scene? As in a definable type of not-ready-for-drive-time players with a high concentration of the heart, energy, and (dare I say it) sincerity that rock & roll was supposed to really be about? Back then, record companies came in droves, loved what they heard, and saved the demos for home use -- because they knew no mass-market success was ever gonna come out of this town until the bands learned to slick it up a bit. Doctors' Mob were considered the direct corollary to Minneapolis' Replacements at the time, but the Wild Seeds came close, slowly maturing and polishing to no commercial avail and ending up with leader Michael Hall going the way of Paul Westerberg -- as in "further aging into an aching, heartfelt solo singer-songwriter," not "becoming stagnant and predictable." This best, worst, and never-was collection of Seeds shoulda-been-hits (like the title track), live versions, and unreleased material from the band's myriad lineups is as hit-and-miss as the above implies. Even the misses, however, like "Sharlene" (did the world need another "Lola"?) are charming, shimmering with that naive, tinny ability that early indie New Wave-era productions have of making you forgive their shortcomings. By the time of majestic numbers like "If I Were a Storm," and Kris McKay's vocal solo "All This Time," Hall's lyrical skills were at their peak, the lineup of Bo Solomon, Paul Swift, former Standing Wave Randy Franklin, and future Fastball drummer Joey Shuffield were on top of their rockin' game, and Austin's recording studios were (almost) capable of reproducing what bands like the Seeds were doing. If only those days had lasted a little bit longer ...