Kenny and the Kasuals
Rising out of the same East Dallas garage scene that birthed bands such as Jimmy Vaughan's Chessmen and younger brother Stevie Ray's The Cast Of Thousands--not to mention the Briks, the Novas, the Five Americans and so many more--Kenny and the Kasuals started out playing for chips and soda under the name The Illusions Combo in 1964 and were quickly breaking attendance records at Dallas's premiere teen spot, the Studio Club. Slick high school hustler Mark Lee took the group under his wing, dressing them in silk suits and two-tone saddle oxfords (which one local department store were soon displaying as "Kenny's Kasuals"!!) and hyping them relentlessly, resulting in their first record "Nothin' Better To Do" c/w the instrumental "Floatin.'" Several 45s later they made a daring move when they decided to go all the way and issue an independently produced LP, Impact, which would be recorded live at the Studio Club. Fellow Dallas favorites the Nightcaps had successfully done it with their Wine, Wine, Wine LP so why not? The album was an immediate success. Like the Wailers' Live At The Castle, Impact is both a high water mark for the band that produced it--perfectly capturing, as it does, their high energy mixture of punked-up R&B delivered with British Invasion attitude and Lone Star musical chops--but is also the ultimate musical snap shot of a specific time and place. Like the best albums, Impact goes far beyond just capturing music, it captures atmosphere, standout tracks being possibly the best version of "Money" ever recorded and a reading of fellow Texan Barbara Lynn's "Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')" that single-handedly puts the Rolling Stones famed rendition to utter shame. Next up, they pioneered psychedelia with their 1966 single "Journey To Tyme" which featured the unforgettably desperate line "Is it my destiny...to be trapped within the walls of time?!" In actuality, "Tyme" was a town in England, but you'd never guess that from the Kasuals' otherworldly performance. Check out www.kennyandthekasuals.com for scads of hilarious tales of hair straightening disasters, hearse races with the Chessmen, being escorted out of Houston by the Texas Rangers and told never to return, seeing Jimi Hendrix at the Nite Owl in New York City, a lot of drunken hotel streaking, going head-to-head with a holier-than-thou Bob Geldof and much, much more...