Cow Fish Fowl or Pig – The Gourds
Sugar Hill Records 3953
In McAllen, Texas, just footsteps from Mexico, a post-office reported the
presence of a white substance emanating from an envelope. Over seventy
workers in the office mentioned severe reactions, most with hives and
various lesions which they contributed to the product they called "Anthrax."
When the FBI arrived and tested the "white powder," they discovered the
substance was one of the most innocuous in the world: desert dust. As for
the dermatological problems, the city discovered a harmful sewer-gas leak
which unequivocally contributed to the hives being reported by the workers.
The strange stories – often best described as "eccentric" – which arise from
Texas often initially shock and then cause a guttural guffaw; a quality that
recapitulates within the Gourds' music. Certainly, sincerity exists in the
band's cultural melange in reflecting Texas's passel of music tastes.
Whether tejano, cajun, rock, country or rap, the Gourds consume and swirl
divergent idioms together into a sound representative of the area. Somewhat
similar to The Band, had they originated from Texas and not
Canada-by-way-of-upstate New York.
However, as reflected in their jugband covers of Snoopy Doggy Dogg's "Gin
and Juice" and David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," the band embodies the
laughable characteristics ostensibly defining the Texas lifestyle. Even
their original work – such as Satan-as-a-fruit-monger on "My Name is Jorge"
or a ballad for a mechanical bride of "Foggy Blossum," – further exemplifies
this characteristic. For the Gourds, the domain's esoteric qualities deserve
as much of a musical reference as the sonic genres swirling inside these
Sure, some Rolling Stones surface on "Sweet Nutty," but then again, so does
Doug Sahm in "Hellhounds." At the precise moment where everything seems
normal, the Gourds love to just flip it all upside down, and proclaim "Got
Even the title Cow Fowl Fish or Pig has some twisted humor which
irritates PETAs platform and yet sums up everything the album embodies. At
the praise-heaped Salt Lick, just outside of the Gourds' hometown of Austin,
one can order an all meat platter. Vegetarians' spite aside, the Gourds
mention the regional aspects which permeate their existence in every breath.
As another Texan bites into a piece of brisket basked in warm sauce, and
lifts a Lonestar to the sky, the Gourds wouldn't want it any other way.