Oh yes, they are from Texas
"Herd it Through the Grapevine" is a compilation of 10 unsigned bands from Texas, grouped together across genres. In fact, about the only thing the 10 bands here have in common is that they are all from the Lone Star State. But with the recent breakout success of Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother's band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the suits at Elektra must feel Texas is the next big thing musically.
The album opens with "Tell it On the Line" from the Commandos, a foursome with a mellow country-rock sound. It's a bit like Rockpile, with high energy, while lead singer Suzy Elkins sings a bit like Juice Newton.
The best performance on this LP easily belongs to Dan Del Santo, the only artist with two songs on the album. He plays a unique fusion of reggae, funk and jazz. "World Beat" is reminiscent of early Santana, with a strong Latin beat and call-and-response instrumental solos. Del Santo (who plays guitar and sings) and his band return on side 2 with "Everything's an Argument," on which he uses his voice almost as a percussion instrument.
Random Culture, a duo from Austin, play a very polished funk with elements of rap. "Fame" is a dance track full of scratching and rapping. Spudy Hunter plays bass, guitar and keyboards, as well as providing vocals. Jane Evans also plays keyboards, and they use a programmed drum machine.
Secret Six's track, "No More Weekends in Warsaw," is an art-rock piece that looks at martial law in Poland and the effect it must have on young people. Bassist and lead singer Jesse Sublett (who also wrote the song) exhibits a haunting voice here, and is joined on harmony vocals by Nancy Reynolds.
Johnny Reno and the Sax Maniacs play a '50s style jump blues that has a great dance beat to it.
The album closes out with The Tribe, another country-rock band whose track "Leave Me in the Desert" has a nice, folkish feel to it.
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