SCARECROWS “DUST IN THE CORNER” 4-SONG 7″EP (HOUSTON, TX- SPECIAL EDITION, 1982)
This record came without a picture sleeve, but a kind man shared this scan of his unique
picture sleeve with me (thanks again!). His copy has a white label attached to the inner
sleeve, handwritten with band member D.E. McKenzie’s name, contact address and phone number
on it. Mr. McKenzie is given songwriting and copywriting credit on the labels so I assume
he was the lead singer too. Amateur detectives: don’t go writin’ to this address of 5005
Richmond in Houston lookin’ for spare stock copies of the disc, though! ‘Cuz a search of
Google Maps that I did shows that that address is now a Chick-Fil-A restaurant – LOL! [As
a sidenote, the first Chicago-area Chick-Fil-A location opened here last Summer and I do have
to say that, for fast food, they do make a damn tasty chicken sandwich. The place is usually packed but the lines do move fast]. Also, don’t call the (713) 623-6635 number listed on this sleeve neither, unless you’re lookin’ to book an appointment at Miles of Smiles Dentistry,
which is less than a mile from the Richmond address, on Sage Road- double LOL!!
Here is an interesting, unique “out of the box” EP from Texas, the state has been spawning interesting, unique records for years. I can’t say “decades” because all those awe-inspiring 60’s garage punk records from Texas (Green Fuz, Bad Girl, 1523 Blair et al et al) were churned out almost 50 years ago so I guess “a half century” would be more fitting when describing Texas’ unique contributions to rock n’ roll. And that’s not even counting the 50’s. And where do we even start when talking about all the memorable Texas records from the late 70’s and early 80s?!
I had never heard of the Scarecrows until 2005 when the third track on this EP, Joe’s Problem, was included on the last-great-vinyl-comp-before-blogs-took-over, 2005’s Staring Down The Barrel LP. Thanks to said compilers of that record for piquing my curiosity in this band (and many other then-unknowns for that matter). This EP is rather rare- I have no idea on pressing size but the handful of copies that have sold have gone for between $222 and $385 in the past year and a half. And thanks again to The Nooch for hooking me up with this entire EP last Summer!
Now if having rock in your punk is not your thing then I don’t know if you’re going to dig the Scarecrows EP. ‘Cuz most of it is not by-the-numbers, KBD-ish punk. ‘Specially that second track, the instrumental song that I think the record could have down without. But I think 3 out of the 4 songs on the EP are great, unique ditties. They might not be cookie-cutter punk and the band plays at a slower, mid-tempo-ish pace instead of the full-throttle pace we all pound our fists for but the songs have a sense of depression and desperation that is definitely punk. And the amateur playing definitely shares a kinship with punk bands too.
most memorable thing about the Scarecrows EP for me is the lead
singer’s voice and the lyrics- I usually dig singers with a thick Texas
twang/drawl and this one’s got it in spades. And he really sets a dreary mood, me thinks. The leadoff track, (I Don’t Wanna Be No) Dust In The Corner, sets the tone for the rest of the record. It’s
a great one about not wanting to be like everyone else, which must have
been kind of hard in Texas, Houston no less which was a corporate,
conformist, jock-ish place in the early 80’s especially. I love when the singer talks about the radio and says: “What’s all that garbage on the radio? They’d like to announce they’ve got nothing to announce”. Very memorable line. And the chorus is rather anthemic too. An even more unique tune is the last one, “Bellboy”, which is the only “I hate my hotel job” song in punkdom that I know of. Unique delivery with the lyrics on this one when he pretends to be a demanding hotel patron ordering around the poor bellboy. And
some fine sloppy playing- just check that awesome no-talent guitar
break (solo?!?) at the 1:11 mark that comes out of nowhere and is rather
cringe-inducing. Nice! Make sure you’re not
driving when the guitar break comes on or you might lose control of the
steering wheel and get in an accident. I’d love to hear the backstory that inspired this song.
Or ANY back stories related to the Scarecrows- D.E. McKenzie, or any other old members, where are you now in 2012?? Please leave some comments if you’re reading this or if you knew or remember the band. Did the band play out much? If so, was it with any Houston-area punk bands? Any flyers or other gig listings exist? Or were The Scarecrows a studio-only project? Or maybe even a one-man-band type of thing??? I am full of speculations ‘cuz I am turning up nothing on the interwebs.
The third track, and the one with the “punkiest guitar” on the record, Joe’s Problem, is a great hypnotic tune and the catchiest one on the disc. Great
lyrics and vocals again, and I laugh when they reference Pet Rocks in
the song- middle-aged people like myself totally remember that silly
“toy” that was disturbingly huge for a while (no, I did NOT have one as a
kid). The sloppy musicianship on this tune is awesome,
especially those teeth-gnashing, shit rock-ish guitar breaks, the first
one of which is at the :40 second mark. Yikes. Some awesome stumbling drums (a la Texas compatriots Vast Majority) nicely complement the guitar breaks. Classic.