Powell St. John

Sultan of Psychedelia (Lysergic Sound Distributors)

Texas Platters

As the bridge between the roots-oriented Waller Creek Boys (with Janis Joplin on autoharp) and the 13th Floor Elevators, Powell St. John's impact on Austin music history is hard to overstate. His contributions to the Elevators' recorded canon easily earn this album's honorific. Several get reimagined here in a manner highlighting St. John's essential strengths as a songwriter. Beneath high desert slide guitar and jug pulsations lie well-steeped folk and blues structures with a hint of Tin Pan Alley. Hearing "Kingdom of Heaven" delivered in St. John's weathered, emotive voice gives new dimension to the acid litany. Likewise, a shambling take on "Bye, Bye Baby" accentuates the song's jug band allusions more than Big Brother & the Holding Company's version did. St. John revisits his Mother Earth days with a bucolic reading of "I, The Fly" before Roky Erickson turns up to duet on Easter Everywhere outtake "Right Track Now." The intriguingly incongruent "Synthetic Love" augments acoustic guitar with harrowing synthesizer washes out of a Dario Argento score. All the better to keep this trip eclectic.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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  

READ MORE
More Powell St. John
Texas Platters
Powell St. John
On My Way to Houston (Record Review)

Austin Powell, July 31, 2009

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Mobley
Fresh Lies, Vol. I (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, May 11, 2018

Texas Platters
Kat Edmonson
Old Fashioned Gal (Record Review)

Lauren Modery, May 11, 2018

More by Greg Beets
Recommended Shows for Levitation Weekend
Recommended Shows for Levitation Weekend
The sounds may be scattered all over Austin, but here are a few must-see performances

April 27, 2018

Levitating Platters
Imarhan
Temet (Record Review)

April 27, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Powell St. John

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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