All Along the Moontower: Austin Gets Psychedelic
All Along the Moontower: Austin Gets Psychedelic (Odyssey Productions)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 20, 2015
All ATX has turned 1,000 locally sourced cover tune cavalcades into a funding stream for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. In conjunction with the Gary Keller-chaired advocacy organization's August benefit show, this year's compilation plunges into psychedelics. Twenty-one tracks from a local wellspring effectively summon the spirit of late Sixties/early Seventies free-form radio, the most intriguing selections taking the most liberties in reimagining the originals. The South Austin Moonlighters' "Good Vibrations" hews close to the Beach Boys' arrangement, but its twang undertone conjures a whole new head space. Israel Nash rides that model into the stratosphere with his ethereal take on the Byrds' "Eight Miles High." Patrice Pike's bluesy vocal workout on Cream's "White Room" stands out on its own, but her lilting hijack of the 5/4 hook is a coy surprise. White Denim barely contains its ravenous tendencies on a dynamic take of Traffic's "Light Up or Leave Me Alone," while Christopher Cross engulfs Spirit's "Nature's Way" so effectively that one could be forgiven for mistaking it for a lost Mike Post collaboration from his commercial heyday. Cotton Mather gives the Rolling Stones' "Dandelion" the Robyn Hitchcock treatment, and Guy Forsyth infuses Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" with guttural ribaldry by favoring the harmonica over the organ and excising the terminal drum solo. Go ahead – eat the brown acid. It's for a good cause.