Golden Dawn, The
Band members Related acts
- Jimmy Bird -- guitar (1967)
- Bill Hallmark -- bass (1967)
- George Kinney -- vocals (1967)
- Tom Ramsey -- guitar (1967)
- Bobby Rector -- drums, percussion (1967)
- Rubyyat (Bill Hallmark)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Power Plant
Company: International Artists
Counry/State: Austin, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: minor ring wear; has two small cut out holes top right corner
GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed
Nowhere near as well known as Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators, to our ears fellow Texans The Golden Dawn are actually the more impressive band. 'Course those sentiments are bound to upset Erickson fans and will do little to rectify the fact that outside of hardcore collectors' circles these guys remain criminally overlooked.
Living in Austin, Texas, singer George Kinney grew up with Roky Erickson, attending the same schools. While in high school the two played together in a local garage band The Fugitives. With The Fugitives collapsing, Kinney moved on to join The Chelsea (along with future 13th Floor Elevator guitarist Powell St. John). When that group called it quits, he was invited to join fellow high school friends guitarist Jimmy Bird, bassist Bill Hallmark, guitarist Tom Ramsey and drummer Bobby Rector in The Golden Dawn.
Kinney's friendship with Erickson also proved handy in terms of career development. Erickson was largely responsible for getting Leland Rogers' International Artists label to sign the band in 1967 (coincidently Erickson and the Elevators were already signed to International Artists).
Produced by Rogers (yes, Kenny's brother), 1967's "Power Plant" actually bares a strong resemblance to The Elevators' catalog. The two bands certainly share the same mid-60s; low-tech Texas-psych roots, though to their credit these guys don't sound as strung out as The Elevators and (at least to our ears), Kinney's a better singer (though his fragile and occasionally shrill voice stands as an acquired taste). With Kinney and drummer Rector responsible for the majority of the 10 songs, musically the set's quite diverse. Tracks such as the opener "Evolution" and "The Way Please" boast a pleasing mix of pretty melodies and surprisingly complex and intriguing lyrics. Even better are the harder rocking numbers. Propelled by Bird and Ramsey's fuzz guitars, "Starvation", "I'll Be Around" and "My Time" are simply killer. Going out on a limb, we'll say this is a must-own psych classic and should be on most folk's top-40 psych lists. (Ignoring the illicit cannabis/mushroom subject matter, the LP's granted an extra star for the cool day-glo cover art.)
"Power Plant" track listing:
1.) Evolution (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 3:28
2.) The Way Please (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 5:08
3.) Starvation (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 2:52
4.) I'll Be Around (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 3:00
5.) Seeing Is Believing (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 2:21
1.) My Time (Jimmy Bird - Bill Hallmark - George Kinney) - 3:50
2.) A Nice Surprise (Bill Hallmark - George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 2:51
3.) Every Day (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 3:59
4.) Tell Me Why (George Kinney - Bobby Rector) - 2:07
5.) Reaching Out To You (Bill Hallmark - George Kinney) - 2:37
As a small label with little in the way of resources, International Artists did little to promote the LP nationally. Frustrated with the situation, Kinney promptly tendered his notice, relocating to California. The band subsequently collapsed with Hallmark reappeared as a member of Rubyyat.
(Kinney also deserves credit for financing and publishing Erickson's book "Openers". Publication of the book in turn helped get Erickson released from Rusk State Hospital.)
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