Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Vicki Welch Ayo

Rock & Roll Books

Boys From Houston: The Spirit and Image of Our Music

by Vicki Welch Ayo
Self-published, 450 pp., $89.95

Amidst the documentaries and books on assorted Texas music scenes of the Sixties comes Boys From Houston, a psychedelic labor of love. Vicki Welch Ayo's self-published tome brims with interviews of scenesters, insiders, and witnesses as well as musicians, media, and clubs from rock & roll's youth. The transition from the Moving Sidewalks to ZZ Top distinguishes the Bay Town psych scene, but Ayo doggedly uncovers other popular acts of the day for context, so while Fever Tree are well-remembered, Naked Letus and Buttermilk Bottom remain strictly H-town phenoms. Bands attracted to the city's recording and live scene included the 13th Floor Elevators from Austin and Bubble Puppy and the Children from San Antonio, all in a decade Ayo points out started in black-and-white and ended in color. That's crucial, for art too exploded in the era, and Love Street's logo with smoldering silent star Theda Bara brands Texas poster art as surely as armadillos. Not much scene analysis or examination, save for the band transitions, yet what's always been so compelling about oral histories is the eyewitness factor, and for that, Boys From Houston arrives essential.

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