April , 2014
Review by Michael Insuaste
Label: ShroomAngel Records
The official release of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas seventies rock band, Shotgun titled Dallasian Rock, has finally seen the light of day thanks to Houston based ShroomAngel Records, who has taken forgotten Texas music, remastered it, and now released for a new generation of music fans.
Owner Rich Patz has once again recovered disregarded tapes from one of Dallas' favorite 70's local rock band and released their 11 track studio recordings on his label that is slowly getting recognition from old and new fans alike. Patz, a diligent music aficionado, is on a mission to sniff out lost recordings and re-release them with an improved sound and impressive packaging. Formatted on digital CD, you can also find a limited pressing on virgin vinyl, for that special hare-core collector who appreciates the deep, pure sound you can only get from a vinyl LP.
The group Shotgun consisted of Guy Houston on drums, Hugh Coleman on bass, John Michael Soria lead guitar, Russ Skarsten on keys and Billy Metcalf lead vocals. Formed on New Years Eve 1973, the band had a three year run playing around the DFW area until their last performance that ironically fell on New Years Day 1977 at the Electric Ballroom in Dallas, Texas. But in the spring of 1976, they recorded their first 11 track studio recording at Harvest Studios in Dallas with a debut title that would be called Dallasian Rock. As we know now, that album never made it to press and has been in the can, as they say, for the last 37 years.
The cd kicks off with a favorite track by guitarist John Michael, "Rock Star Queen" that features John Nitzinger on rhythm guitar. A strong number with classic guitar riffs, high melody lyrics and a steady groove. I wonder who that song was written about? Throughout the cd the feel is unshakable on tracks like "Seems Like You Would Understand" and "Play The Game" that shows off the harmonic vocals of Billy Metcalf. Consistent and groovin, Shotgun had a unique sound, a blend all their own. Track five off the CD, "Last Nite" takes a change of pace, slowing down the tempo but keeping the truthfulness and direct style Shotgun was known for.
One of my favorite tunes on the CD is "Mercy" that has classic 70s charm through and through. Nice changes with a dynamic distinction with flawless guitar riffs. The seventh track, "Feelin Good" is a slower pace number, kind of a stop and go song that finishes strong and by far the best lead guitar on the initial recording. The theme throughout the Shotgun release is pure love, love making or the thought of finding love. Seventies style lyrics all the way!
Track eight off the CD, "Straight Out" is a slow grind with what sounds like improvisation vocals by Billy Metcalf. "Keep A Steady High" is another number that shows off the talents from the entire band, especially on the keyboards. A fun diddy of a song, short and sweet. The title track, "Dallasian Rock" rounds out the CD with a tribute to the Dallas rock scene. A traditional Texas rock song that highlights the guitar work of John Michael Soria.
The final studio recorded track on the CD is "Leavin' On A Train." This song is deep, with tasty slide guitar work and a smooth bass line that captures the essence of the whole Dallasian Rock recording. But it doesn't end there. Because of the space allowed on the LP, the CD has bonus tracks, live recordings like "Silver Bullet" and "I Know What Your Sayin'" that were captured live at The Zoo KZEW FM sometime around 1976. It also includes rare demos and alternative versions. Truly a great peice of Dallas Rock n' Roll, the Shotgun release whether on CD or LP is a must have.