One of the more curious aspects of the superb Beach Boys biography Becoming The Beach Boys is its critical rethink of Murry Wilson, the control-freak father of the brothers Wilson. Often painted as being abusive because he was a failed musician, the book spends a great deal of effort providing evidence that accusations of his musical inability are in fact quite inaccurate. If anything, it shows Papa Wilson to be much more astute of a businessman–and more musically gifted–as the Brian Wilson narrative would have you believe.
Adding credence to this historical rethink is a new project from musician George Faulkner. We’ll let him describe the project, but suffice to say, we adore this surprisingly delightful little seven inch single–wrapped in a lovely Peter Bagge sleeve–due next month via Bolt Records, and are proud to bring you the exclusive first listen to the song “Te-e-e-e-ex-as”
Preorder here: https://boltrecords.net
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Murry Wilson became a copywritten songwriter the year before he became a father. The “father of the Beach Boys” seems to be best known for having been a sometimes abusive and often overbearing parent to Brian, Dennis, and Carl, but he was a working songwriter, with copyright listings as early as May 1941. Brian Wilson is quoted as saying “My Dad had talent, he sure did. He was a talented man. He had some music in him.” This project started a few years ago because I suspected there was more to the Murry “songwriter” story worthy of research.
I knew his writing for The Many Moods of Murry Wilson, and felt that The Beach Boys, The Sunrays, and The Honeys was nothing close to the full story, but I had no idea how deep the Murry songwriting story went beyond that. His songs were also recorded by The Jets, The Four (Hollywood) Flames, Red Callender Sextet, The Bachelors, Bonnie Lou, Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys, Johnny Hall and His Star Rangers, The John Buzon Trio, and more.
In short, Murry wrote (or co-wrote) over 50 songs between 1941 – 1972. Mostly vocal songs. About 20 were recorded and released in Murry’s lifetime by a small variety of acts. About 30 were never recorded. There are rumors of more, but no documentation has yet been found past the core 50. More than half of his songs are ‘lost’ the way I see it, unless they are sitting in a Wilson family archive box somewhere. The Library of Congress destroyed all of his submissions.
This project aims to re-record at least twelve of the ‘lost’ Murry songs for a future album release. Here and there, vinyl singles will be released as well. “Happy, Happy Holiday” and “Te-e-e-e-ex-as” are the first songs released in the series on vinyl (Volume One was a digital-only release of “Two-Step, Side Step,” not a ‘lost’ song by any means).
This song, “Te-e-e-e-ex-as,” is a bit of a mystery. Recorded and released by The Bachelors on Excel Records in April 1955, this song seems to pop up twice under Murry’s BMI listings – as “Te-e-e-e-ex-as,” and as “Back to Texas.” There are no indications that “Back to Texas” was ever recorded and released, or what year it was written. The Bachelors were a 1950s L.A. accordion-led trio, under bandleader Jimmy Haskell. The Bachelors recorded four of Murry’s songs, and Jimmy Haskell is rumored to have recorded a fifth under his own name. Vinyl copies can be extremely hard to find. “Te-e-e-e-ex-as” was an A-side for the group that apparently did not chart.
In attempting to keep the song in a Texas vibe, Producer Peter Katis (Kurt Vile, The National) and I decided a hootenanny approach might work best. The mostly acoustic group features Dave Bahssin, Norman Plankey, Ambrose Verdibello, Mike Tepper, and Mark Ambor.
I’m thrilled to get new versions of Murry’s compositions out in circulation again, over 60 years since their debut.