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The Best of Poi Dog Pondering (The Austin Years)

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Album Review

Poi Dog Pondering's rise from roadside vagabonds to "almost" successful ambassadors of worldbeat-infused college rock is one of thinly veiled hedonism. In 1987, after selling all of their belongings to afford the plane trip to the mainland, the Honolulu, HI, collective bought a truck and crossed the country gypsy-style, playing for pennies outside of coffeehouses, pubs, and the occasional Mexican border town, eventually settling in the bohemian jewel of the south: Austin, TX. Unfairly lumped in with the emerging jam band scene, the fluctuating octet made extensive use of its eccentric instrumentation and multicultural lineup without ever venturing off into a 15-minute solo; rather, main songwriter Frank Orrall's metaphysical love songs were both concise and catchy. Best of Poi Dog Pondering: The Austin Years follows the group through 1992 and contains beloved fan classics like "Living With the Dreaming Body" and "Pulling Touch," as well as left-field gems like "I Had to Tell You" from the 1990 Roky Erickson tribute record Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye.


Formed: 1986 in Hawaii

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The eclectic worldbeat/folk-rock outfit Poi Dog Pondering were formed in Waikiki by vocalist/guitarist Frank Orrall, violinist/vocalist Susan Voelz, and multi-instrumentalist Dave "Max" Crawford, the only constants in the group's history; sometimes swelling to upwards of ten members, the band has seen numerous personnel shifts. Named in part for a Hawaiian expression meaning "mutt," Poi Dog Pondering relocated to Austin, TX, and picked up a following through extensive touring; they released two EPs,...
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