Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Best Texas Songs of All Time: #100-80 - Dallas Observer (blog)

Willie and Waylon

"Between the Hank Williams pain songs
And Jerry Jeff's train songs
And blue eyes cryin' in the rain
Out in Luckenbach, Texas
Ain't nobody feeling no pain"
- Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, "Luckenbach, Texas"

With that introduction, welcome to the first in a five-part series, in which we attempt to both quantify and qualify our 100 favorite Texas songs. We left it pretty wide open: The artist had to be born or based in Texas for a significant amount of time, but other than that, it could be any genre, era or city. Despite our one-up spirit in several of the bigger Texas cities, our state really is just one big yard separated by a different driveways, isn't it? We've all got our stories, our secret and not-so-secret histories.

Over the next week, we'll be doling out these songs we so lovingly picked. I know the knee-jerk reaction is to look at the rankings and nitpick, but they're rather arbitrary. Hopefully we can turn you on to an artist you've never heard, or at least inspire some dialogue. I'm sure y'all will tell us what we're missing, too. - Audra Schroeder

100. Tripping Daisy, "Sonic Bloom"
Before this album, the band had a grunge-pop affectation, but this song, from 1998's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb, was more heartfelt than anything they'd done before. - Daniel Hopkins

Tripping Daisy
99. Pleasant Grove, "The Plaque at 16ft"
Bret Egner wrote "The Plaque at 16ft," a peaceful song in which he sings about his view from underwater. There are vague hints of suicide or death, but overall the song is majestic in its peacefulness and simplicity. - Daniel Hopkins

98. Old 97's, "Timebomb"
With an opening riff that sounds like Billy Zoom playing a Carl Perkins song, this classic Old 97's tune understandably registers with people to this day. A staple of the band's repertoire since it was written, Rhett Miller's smooth vocal delivery works perfectly over a busy, train-kept-a-rolling rhythm section. - Eric Grubbs

97. Devin the Dude, "Doobie Ashtray"
Devin uses the minor annoyance of discovering a guest took the last bit of herb from an ashtray to illustrate how frustrating it is to lose something and be left with nothing, whether it's as big as a yacht or as small as some pot. - Jesse Hughey

96. Baboon, "Night of the Long Knives"
As heavy as it is melodic, urgent and noisy, this was always a crowd favorite during Baboon's frequent shows back in Denton's glorious '90s. It could have been some kind of fight anthem, but the guys in the band seemed too nice to inspire anything more serious than some moshing -- if a pit could keep up with the blazing guitar. - Jesse Hughey

Lyle Lovett
95. Lyle Lovett, "She's No Lady, She's My Wife"
While Lovett's catalog is bursting with examples of clever word play, this song's sly humor is about as good as it gets. - Doug Davis

94. At the Drive-In, "One Armed Scissor"
Many screamo bands have attempted to make something as good as At the Drive-In's material, but you can't argue with an original. - Eric Grubbs

93. Lil Keke ft. Paul Wall and Bun B, "Chunk Up The Deuce"
Under the tutelage of Michael "5000" Watts, Swishahouse became one of the preeminent independent Houston labels at the height of America's obsession with everything grain-gripping and syrup-sipping. With its drum patterns and daunting keys, Lil Keke's "Chunk Up The Deuce" eventually became one of the most memorable songs from the period. - Austin Staubus

92. Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Pride & Joy"
"Pride & Joy" was Texas Flood's most enduring track. The song's blues-rock riff hides a bit of improvisation, reminding listeners that guitar solos didn't have to be compartmentalized and predictable. - Shahryar Rizvi

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