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TEX AND THE HORSEHEADS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Tex and the Horseheads (Bemisbrain/Enigma) 1984
Life's So Cool (Enigma) 1985
Tot Ziens: Live in Holland (Hol. Enigma) 1986

One of the wilder exponents of cow-punk, Tex and the Horseheads are spiritual kin to the Gun Club. And while they lean towards a very punky image (lead singer Texacala Jones dresses like a female Stiv Bator; on the first album, the bassist's name is Smog Vomit and the drummer is Rock Vodka), their playing is fairly coherent. Mixing mutant blues (even a cover of Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man") into the first album's punk-country-rock blender, Tex and the Horseheads have a convincingly strong sound, but are a few pints short on material.

John Doe produced the much-better Life's So Cool, an uncontrolled blues-rock riot that recalls Exile on Main St. It starts with an uncredited quote from the old instrumental "Cat's Squirrel" (see Jethro Tull's first LP for corroboration) and then goes on to such topics as drinking, fornication and legal tangles in songs that are substantial and thoughtfully developed. Texacala's singing shows great improvement; exciting guitarist Mike Martt and bassist J. Gregory Boaz also pitch in complementary vocals. A very impressive showing with enough bite and spit to satisfy anyone.

Thanks to poor sound and undistinguished playing, the Dutch concert documented in Tot Ziens is an incoherent blur of guitar noise and hard-to-hear vocals. Mostly recapping the band's two studio records (new tunes include "Cutie Rudy," "Go West" and Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Snake"), this live record adds nothing to the originals beyond Jones' scurrilous stage comments.

[Ira Robbins]