The Zakary Thaks – It’s The End: The Definitive Collection (2015)

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Formed 1965, the Zakary Thaks spent the next four years holding sway as one of the hottest bands in and around the Corpus Christi, Texas, area.

Made up of lead singer Chris Gerniottis, lead guitarist John Lopez, rhythm guitarist Pete Stinson, drummer Stan Moore, and bassist and keyboardist Rex Gregory, the guys were still in high school when they seized regional stardom. And if that isn’t impressive enough, they composed their own material, which was quite a rarity for teen bands back then. To boot, the Zakary Thaks’ songs were absolutely incredible and were just as tight and right as the stuff the big name acts were cranking out.

Although several Zakary Thaks anthologies are available, what makes It’s The End: The Definitive Collection (Big Beat Records) so special is not only is it indeed comprehensive, but the album marks the very first appearance of the band’s original master tapes — resulting in stunning sound quality. Compiled by respected writer and music historian Alec Palao, the disc also includes lengthy band interviews and cool graphics and photos.

Active in an era when music was progressing at a dramatic clip, the Zakary Thaks embodied and adapted to these changes with ease and confidence. Initially influenced by the blues-inclined beat beaming forth from Britain, the Zakary Thaks were so convincing that it’s no fib to say they were the Lone Star State’s answer to the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds and the Kinks. Tracks such as the lightening-speed kick of “Bad Girl,” the pounding punch of “Won’t Come Back,” and the shaking fuzz of “Face To Face” are solid gold garage rock classics through and through. A pair of previously unreleased numbers, the tough and taunting “It’s The End” and “She’s Got You,” which proposes an Eric Burdon-styled snarl and swinging groove, further illustrate the band’s forte for dispatching rough and ready, yet infectiously melodic rhythms.

Ringed with chiming guitars, sparkling hooks and exploding harmonies, “Please” travels a bright and brassy folk rock path in the vein of the Beau Brummels and the Byrds, while the majestic “Mirror Of Yesterday” reins in as a powerful slice of sharply-crafted pop. Soaked in a head-rushing rumble of raga rock, “A Passage To India” is simply spellbinding, where “Green Crystal Ties,” “My Door,” and “Can’t You Hear Your Daddy’s Footsteps” sizzle with hard-driving, acid-frosted frequencies.

Additional topping on the pie arrives with a trio of terrific tunes from songwriter and producer Michael Taylor, who often worked with the Zakary Thaks and the Bad Seeds, another great Corpus Christi band. Among these goodies are “I’d Only Laugh,” the weepy soured romance of “Gotta Make My Heart Turn Away,” and the warped genius of “People Sec. IV” that blends the surreal poetry and craggy folk rock stance of Bob Dylan with a chirpy pop slant recalling an oddball mix of Bobby Vee and Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

Each and every entry on It’s The End: The Definitive Collection radiates with enthusiasm and excitement. Motivated by fire in their belly and a true love for rock and roll, the Zakary Thaks brought their raw and edgy talents together with amazing synchronicity. Brandishing strong vocals, fit instrumentation, and gripping songs devised of sturdy breaks and compact arrangements, the band remained consistently in the mood and moment. Genuine garage and psychedelic rock seldom gets better than what the Zakary Thaks offered, and It’s The End: The Definitive Collection is the ultimate affirmation.

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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