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Take Me To The Mountains Plus

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Album Review

Back in the '60s, when every town in America seemed to have its own burgeoning music scene, Austin was strangely quiet. Long before the city became filled with clubs and began its hosting of the SXSW music festival, there wasn't much happening on the cool Texas plateau. Not much at all — save for one group that all but dominated the scene from the late '60s to the early '70s. That group was the eclectic, country-fried psychedelic outfit known as Shiva's Headband. Leader, violinist, guitarist, and vocalist Spencer Perskin was (and still is) the quintessential Austin hippie, who not only lobbied for city-based cultural support for local artists (and succeeded, by founding the Armadillo World Headquarters) but also put Austin on the worldwide music map with the release of Shiva's first major-label effort, Take Me to the Mountains on Capitol (the first ever major-label release by an Austin band). Years later, the group has become something of an Austin institution and is still playing, recording, and keeping one foot planted in the Texas countryside while rockin' like a Far East-tinged version of the Band. [Italian label Akarma reissues Shiva's groundbreaking album as Take Me to the Mountains...Plus, and does so in reverent, glorious style. The cover art, by Jim Franklin, is lovingly reproduced and the included booklet is packed with interviews, quotes, photos, and more "armadillo" artwork than you can shake a stick at. Of course, a spiffy package doesn't guarantee high-quality music, but in this case what you see is only half of what you get. Take Me to the Mountains is a formidable album, and its influence on the "galactic cowboy" genre was as great as, say, Love's Forever Changes was to the West Coast rock scene. It laid the groundwork for psychedelic twang and brought the world's attention to the creatively diverse (yet firmly rooted) music that was beginning to blossom back in those Texas heydays. Unlike their peers the 13th Floor Elevators, Shiva's Headband never took off into the stratosphere completely, though. Their rock was honest country-rock all the way, but not to the point that it was ever just a pedestrian rehash. Songs like "My Baby" and "Kaleidescoptic" may feature sawing violin and Texas drawl, but there's no denying that their main trajectory is rock. Kudos to Akarma for letting the world in on this little Austin treasure.] ~ J. Scott McClintock, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Founded in Austin, Texas in 1967 by violinist/vocalist Spencer Perskin. Susan Perskin (vocals/percussion), Bob Tonreid (guitar), Kenny Parker (bass) and Jerry Barnett (drums) completed the original line-up which was buoyed the following year with the addition of Shawn Siegal (keyboards). The sextet completed their debut single, ‘Kaleidoscoptic’, before moving to San Francisco to record Take Me To The Mountains. Robert Gladwin and Richard Finnel replaced Tonreid and Barnett prior to recording, but...
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Take Me To The Mountains Plus, Shiva's Headband
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