Texas Thunder Soul
High school band albums, which proliferate in every community that has a music program, are usually so tedious that even the parents who buy them can’t bear to listen. On awful recordings packed with bad tunings and missed cues, the student musicians muddle through some stock big-band arrangement about as interesting to them as they are to the washed-out musician conducting. Yet every so often, a teacher comes along who truly motivates kids, letting them play the music they love while surreptitiously teaching them the foundations of their craft. In sixties and seventies Houston, at Kashmere High School, that man was Conrad O. Johnson. Johnson could write, arrange, and inspire, and on these KASHMERE STAGE BAND recordings, long coveted by deejays and collectors alike, he did just that. TEXAS THUNDER SOUL (Now-Again) is amazing historically and a wildly entertaining funk extravaganza. Johnson calls these recorded gems, painstakingly assembled with his cooperation, merely a “facsimile” of what his kids could do. They could do plenty; this overdriven slice of funk nirvana holds its own with the best of the era.