Michael Rabon & Choctaw


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972) as Michael Rabon & Choctaw

- Randy Fouts -- keyboards

- Jerry McDonald -- bass 

- Michael Rabon -- vocals, guitar 

- Jim Wright -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1975)

- Jim Grant -- bass

- Dahrell North -- drums, percussion

- Michael Rabon -- vocals, lead guitar

- Larry White -- steel guitar, dobro

 

  supporting musicians:

- Fred Crane -- keyboards

- Lynn Groom -- keyboards

- Doug Rhone -- guitar

- Ron Snyder -- percussion

 

 

 

 

 

The Five Americans (Michael Rabon and Jim Wright)

- Gladstone (Michael Rabon)

- Michael Rabon (solo efforts)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Michael Rabon & Choctaw

Company: Abnak/Uni

Catalog: 73102
Year:
 1971

Country/State: Oklahoma

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; bullet hole bottom right corner

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: 2336

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

Namesake Michael Rabon and drummer Jim Wright had both been members of The Five Americans.  When the band called it quits the pair elected to continue their collaboration in Michael Rabon & Choctaw.  Rounding out the lineup with keyboardist Randy Fouts and bass player Jerry McDonald the quartet was signed by Abnak (which coincidently had been The Five Americans' label).

 

left to right: Jim Wright - Michael Rabon

 

While this LP  isn't exactly rare, it took me a couple of years to actually track down a copy at a yard sale.  Since I'm a big Five Americans fan (see my write ups on their catalog) I had high hopes for the collection.  Probably a big mistake since high expectations are frequently dashed ...  Produced and largely written by Rabon, 1971's "Michael Rabon & Choctaw" wasn't exactly The Five Americans Part II.  To some extent that's probably a good thing.  Musically the set could be split into two components.  Rabon's folk and country-rock efforts made for what's best described as an acquired taste.  While there wasn't anything wrong with  material like 'Sad Jamboree', 'Musical Apparition', and 'Texas Sparrow', few of these tracks made a lasting impression.  An added problem; at least to my ears Rabon's voice just wasn't well suited for the country rock genre.   In contrast he sounded far more comfortable on more conventional rockers like 'Heaven Knows', 'Country Music' and 'I Need You'. 

 

Nah, it wasn't a great album, but song-for-song it was quite enjoyable with only one real mis-step.   It's also one of those album's that's gotten better over the years, witness the fact every time I sell a copy I end up going out and buying a replacement.

 

"Michael Rabon & Choctaw" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Heaven Knows   (Michael Rabon) - 3:18   rating:**** stars

The opener has always reminded me of a slightly roughened up Emmit Rhodes. Who in turn has always reminded me of a second generation Paul McCartney.  What's the old math therem ?  A = B, B = C, A = C ...  Michael Rabon = Emmit Rhodes, Emmiit Rhodes = Paul McCartney, Michael Rabon = Paul McCartney.   Yeah, that may have been a stretch, but I quite liked the bouncy rocker 'Heaven Knows'.  Would have made a nice single for folks who like Rhodes, Badfinger, The Raspberries, etc..

2.) Sad Jamboree   (Michael Rabon) - 2:45   rating: *** stars

Sweet and pretty acoustic country-rocker which again had a distinctive English feel to it.

3.) Musical Apparition   (Michael Rabon) - 3:58   rating:**** stars

Hum, do I detect traces of Buffalo Springfield and Poco ...   Probably the nicest of the country-rock efforts.  Okay, In spite of the cheesy "music as a life saver" lyrics, I'll admit this was actually a pretty nice effort.  One of the album highlights.

4.) Country Music   (Michael Rabon) - 2:36   rating:**** stars

Yes, I noted  there was a certain irony to the fact a song titled 'Country Music' was actually one of the album's best rockers.  One of those songs that creeps into your head and reappears when you least expect to hear it.   

5.) Mary Miles   (Michael Rabon) - 1:35   rating: ** stars

Hyper-sensitive, heavily orchestrated ballad that sounded out of place on the album.

 

(side 2)
1.) California, Hollywood   (Michael Rabon) - 2:05
   rating: *** stars

Yes there was pedal string guitar on this one, but the autobiographical 'California, Hollywood' was a fun little number which probably explains why it was tapped as a single:

- 1971's  'California Hollywood' b/w  ' Mary Miles' (Uni catalog number 55289).

2.) Texas Sparrow   (Michael Rabon) - 3:20   rating: **** stars

Another acoustic country-tinged number.  Very pretty tune with some great harmony vocals (though the treated sound effects were a curiosity).  A sleeper that grows on you in the same way McCartney's 'Blackbird' does.

3.) Down Past The Road   (Michael Rabon) - 3:10   rating: **** stars

Sounding almost like a sea chantey, I've always loved Jerry McDonald's rollicking bass line on this one.  It took a good song and made it great.  

4.) I Need You   (Michael Rabon) - 2:29   rating: **** stars

Kicked along by a nifty little Rabon guitar lick, 'I Need You' was easily the album's most conventional, most commercial, and most enjoyable rocker.  It would have been even better without the shrill female backing singers.   Regardless, this was the track Uni should have tapped as the single.

5.) Comin' Home   (Michael Rabon) - 3:00   rating: **** stars

I hate to label anything as being McCartney-esque, but 'Comin' Home' had the kind of pretty melody that McCartney used to effortlessly toss off.   The album's prettiest melody with some lovely organ from Randy Fouts.   Shame it faded out so early.

 

The group released at least one non-LP single before calling it quits:

- 1972's 'Let Your Light Shine On' b/w 'Texas Sparrow' (Uni catalog number 55305).

 

 

Rabon's musical career then shifted into down gear.  He apparently recorded some material with former Five Americans John Durrill and released an instantly obscure 1975 LP "Texas Till I Die" (Knifewing catalog number KRLP441).  I've never heard it, but judging by the song titles I'm guessing it had a country flavor to it.

There's also at least one solo 45: 'Love is Just A Word' b/w 'Two In One' (Zodiac catalog number Z5-1012).

 

He then moved on to work as an administrator in the Oklahoma school system and is a member of the Southeastern University Alumni Association Board of Directors.

 

 

Wright became a professional photographer living and working in Dennison, Texas.

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Texas Till I Die

Company: Knife Wing

Catalog:  LRKP441
Year:
 1975

Country/State: Port Arthur, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2

 

Released by the small Texas-based Knife Wing label, 1975's "Texas Till I Die" found Michael Rabon abandoning his earlier garage rock and blue-eyed soul leanings in favor of a country-orientation.  Recorded at Dallas' Dassasonic Studios with Rabon and Don Smith co-producing, 

 

 

 

As far as I can piece it together, "Texas Till I Die' marked the end of Rabon's musical career.  He moved back to his native Oklahoma, went back to college earning his bachelors degree and then finished a masters degree in public education.  He got married, had a family and worked as a school principal for the next 30 years. 

 

 

 

From the Mike Rabon album, "Texas 'Til I Die", 1975. Recorded at Dallasonic Studios, Dallas, TX. Mike Rabon was the writer of "I  See The Light" and "Western Union", hits for his former group, "The Five Americans". Years later he was still writing, singing, and playing and this particular song shows his sense of humor.

 

 

 

 

"Texas Till I Die" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Let the Music Play   (Michael Rabon) - 3:29

2.) Try a Little Harder   (Michael Rabon) - 3:00  rating: *** stars

'Try a Little Harder' was a nice enough up-tempo country tune - imagine The Eagles if they'd abandoned pop and rock for country-rock.  Still, as I said before, while there wasn't anything wrong with Rabon's new musical orientation, it just wasn't going to make much of an impression on his garage band and blue-eyed soul fans.  Larry White's pedal steel guitar was quite prominent throughout.

3.) Just for a Memory   (Michael Rabon) - 3:28

4.) Two-Sided Man   (Michael Rabon) - 2:11

5.) Shotgun   (Michael Rabon) - 3:55

 

(side 2)

1. Texas (Till I Die)   (Michael Rabon) - 3:19

2.) Free, Loose, and Lonesome    (Michael Rabon)- 2:50

3.) Straight Brothers   (Michael Rabon) - 2:09

Nice to see Rabon had a sense of humor.

4.) Dixie Rain   (Tommy Savanna) - 3:24

5.) Country Weddin'    (Michael Rabon) - 3:24

 

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