Powell St. John Reviewed

Powell St. John Reviewed

Powell St. John

Right Track Now (Dream Tracks)

The remarkable nature of Right Track Now isn't quite evident until the second disc, when chiming guitar meets the trippy burble of an electric jug on "You Don't Know." For the uninitiated, the 13th Floor Elevators debuted "You Don't Know (How Young You Are)," written by Powell St. John, on their 1966 debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of.... Roky Erickson and company recorded other PSJ songs ("Monkey Island," "Slide Machine," "Kingdom of Heaven"), as did Janis Joplin ("Bye, Bye Baby"), Boz Scaggs ("I Will Forever Sing the Blues"), and his own band Mother Earth ("Living With the Animals," "Marvel Group," "I, the Fly"). Forty years on, here comes St. John with all those songs plus a few new ones. At two discs, Right Track Now is a mixed bag of first-wave psychedelia, Sixties-style blues-rock ("I Will Forever Sing the Blues," "Living With the Animals"), tender Mexican ballads ("Hermanita," "Abandonado"), the kind of proto-folk that often passes for roots rock ("City Hall," "Right Track Now"), and charming whimsy ("Marvel Group," "I, the Fly"). Like many songwriters, St. John's vocals are limited but expressive enough to carry the 17 tracks distinctively. This is especially true on the title tune, a duet with Erickson, with fine-touch production from Elevators tribute king Fred Mitchim. Powell St. John was there at the creation of all things psychedelic, and Right Track Now ensures he won't be just a footnote.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle