The Zakary Thaks
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Feb. 11, 2011
The Zakary ThaksPassage to India (Cicadelic)
Texas' foundational contribution to rock & roll in the 1960s included stellar garage rock acts across the state. Dry South Texas emerged as an uncommonly fertile ground for such bands as the Zakary Thaks. From 1966 to 1969 in Corpus Christi, which also begot Bubble Puppy, the Thaks traded in the currency of the day: three-minute regional hits on vinyl, designed for car radio blasts and home phonographs. That paid off when Mercury Records picked up "Bad Girl." A song had to say it all in 180 seconds – rebellion, lust, frustration, heartache – and the Thaks did, with unrestrained fervor, fuzz-guitar muscle, and style to burn. A dazzling collection from a true Texas 1960s garage group in all its facets – blues, psych, rock, folk – Passage to India may be the most important psych set since 2009 13th Floor Elevators' box Sign of the 3 Eyed Men. Neither as sophisticated nor intellectual as the 'Vators, the fivepieve Thaks was younger, recording the bulk of these 17 songs between the ages of 15 and 17, its teenagers charmingly transparent in their heavy peer worship of the Beatles ("Please"), the Rolling Stones ("Weekday Blues"), the Yardbirds ("Face to Face"), the Byrds ("Reality Is the Only Answer"), the Kinks ("I Need You"), and the Elevators ("I've Got Levitation"). It's also sequenced with heart, opening with the Thaks' skull-crushing fuzz rocker "Face to Face," followed by the never-released title track, recorded on a whim at Houston's Gold Star Studios and shelved for four decades, now revealing a harmony-laden raga-rock delight. Musicianship is teen pristine, and it's not enough to say the songs hold up. The real irony is if this music were made today, the Zakary Thaks would be patted on their heads as an exemplary teen band.