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Published: 2010/09/13
by Ron Hart

Various Artists
Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands

Numero Group

Anyone who fancies themselves a fan of the intrepid Chicago reissue label The Numero Group knows quite well that these guys harbor a serious jones for all things rare and funky in the world of private press and underground soul and R&B from the 60s and 70s. But every now and again, they dip deep into the annals of rock ‘n’ roll’s peripheral history as well. Case in point is the second installment of the label’s series that delves into the little-known world of regional studios hones in on Mickey Rouse’s Lowland, which was found in an old strip mall out of Beaumont, Texas—the hometown of the legendary Winter Brothers. This 22-track collection (28 on vinyl) comprises of the cream of Rouse’s miles and miles of archival studio tapes, featuring raw tracks from groups with names like Insight Out, Mourning Son, Mother Lion, Boot Hill, Sage and Circus, all of whom struggled tirelessly on the local pub, club and roadhouse circuit on the outskirts of Houston. Sound-wise, one can easily hear echoes of the American AOR movement of the Vietnam era coming from the demos and practice tapes from these acts, as shades of CSNY, Delaney and Bonnie, Sir Douglas Quintet, The Faces, Loaded era Velvet Underground and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band can all be heard within the grooves of this set. For anyone who enjoys discovering lost gems from the secret annals of rock’s back pages, Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands is definitely worth checking out.

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