The Esquires and the Exotics – The New Sound is Here: Dallas '66 (2011)

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by Beverly Paterson

Operating out of Dallas, Texas, the Exotics and the Esquires were hot stuff on a regional level, with the year 1966 being especially kind to them. Permanent fixtures on the live scene, both bands also released singles, which received healthy amounts of local airplay. Their complete works are presented here by Cicadelic Records, along with photos and extensive liner notes.

The Exotics get the party rolling with “Come With Me,” a choppy little rocker riddled with the cheery tenor of a spinning Farfisa organ. Cut of a similar cloth is “Queen Of Shadows,” which contains clutches of killer guitar licks, a run of startling breaks, dizzy melodies and the twirling trills of a dancing organ. Executed with authority and conviction, “I Was Alone” stomps and grinds to a smoking showcase of tough guy vocals and hard edged instrumentation.

Shades of the Kinks can somewhat be spotted in these tunes, but there’s no denying the Exotics injected their own soul and spirit into what they were doing. No one trick pony were they, that is for sure, as evidenced by further songs such as the moody, anti-war sentiments of “Fire Engine Red” and the lightly battered psychedelic seasonings of “Hymn To Her” and “Morning Sun.” Armed with imagination and frisky chops, the Exotics were a great band and were just as capable of coughing up rugged teen garage punk numbers as they were the more sophisticated pop fare.

From the Esquires, we’re treated to the manic movements of tunes like “Come On Come On” and the tongue-in-cheek religious rabble of “Judgment Day.” Three chord garage-rock ravers, fueled cackling guitars and energetic performances in general are the tangy ingredients behind these nuggets. “Time Don’t Mean So Much” checks in as another rousing slice of rocking joy, while seated on the opposite end of the spectrum we find the band in a mellow state of mind, as they deliver an absolutely beautiful harmony pop prize in the form of “These Are The Tender Years.”

Additional introspective musings appear on the folky frequencies of the haunting “Loneliness Is Mine.” Be it gritty garage rock or the type of carefully crafted pop that the Zombies, the Beau Brummels and the Left Banke were praised for, the Esquires clearly had no problem adapting to and embracing different styles of music.

Neither the Exotics or the Esquires ever came close to clasping the national Top 40 charts, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t worthy. Success doesn’t always necessarily spell hit records. The act of simply making a record is success itself, and these songs are as vital now as they were then. Good music is ageless, and anyone who has an appreciation for the groovy garage pop sounds of the sixties will applaud the fine efforts by the Exotics and the Esquires.

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‘The New Sound is Here: Dallas ’66’ is due Oct. 18 from Cicadelic Records.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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