Color Blind (International Artists / Charly)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., March 11, 2011
Dave AllenColor Blind (International Artists/Charly)
Houston label landmark International Artists is remembered as much for its litigious accounting as its legendary recordings. The psychedelic haze of the 13th Floor Elevators and Bubble Puppy has historically overshadowed LPs such as Dave Allen's rare gem of Texas roadhouse blues. A onetime regional pop star that recorded for Huey Meaux, Allen's later work seeped in Houston's historic Fifth Ward, fraught with depression and the pains of addiction. Color Blind spits concrete truths and anguished soul in a manner that recalls recent archival treasures in Rodriguez's Cold Fact ("Poor Soul") and the Relatives' Don't Let Me Fall ("Lord Have Mercy"). The codeine drip of "Terp" sizzles in Allen's searing fuzz-tone guitar, chased by the bayou swoon of "How Can You Be So Cold" and "Baby, Please Don't Try To Tell Me What To Do." Digitally remastered from the original tapes and released for the first time on CD, this limited-edition digi-book tacks on two additional jump blues ("C.C. Rider") and Allen's guest guitar spots on Big Walter's early morning ramble "Breakfast in Bed" and Jimmy Rogers' sweet ode "All in My Mind." The disappointment of Color Blind's disappearing act sent Allen on a downward spiral that included divorce, estrangement from his daughter, and early death in 1985 from pneumonia. He was only 43. This long overdue reissue offers little compensation but makes a fine tribute.