Color Blind LP Cover Front

Color Blind

In the most recent edition of The All Music Definitive Guide to the Blues, music critic Stewart Mason describes Color Blind by Dave Allen “The Man” as “a surprisingly enjoyable slab of unpretentious Texas blues-rock…solid, rocking blues well worth seeking out by any fans of early Johnny Winter or the like.” Color Blind was Dave’s finest achievement and his most fully realized work, a coalescent album of all original songs featuring guitar lines that can easily stand alongside those of any blues legend one cares to name, with the blood-chilling vocals to match. Although not without its significant up-tempo moments, Color Blind is primarily a raw, incandescent glimpse into the heart of a genuine bluesman, and a foreshadowing of the events that would eventually overtake that man’s life. Black, white, Mississippi, Chicago or Texas—in the end and after the end, Dave Allen’s music speaks for itself.

Guitar and vocals: Dave Allen
Piano: Larry Williamson
Bass: Charles Teague
Drums: Tommy “Bone” Crone

Color Blind (1969) International Artist IALP-11 Stereo
All material written by David Allen Stich
All songs published by Tapier Music Corp., BMI
Recorded at International Artists Studio
Produced by Ray Rush
Graphics by Greg Lloyd
Photography by Royal Studios
Liner notes by Ray Rush

Track Listing

Color Blind LP Cover Back

Side 1:

“Terp” – A paean to terpin hydrate elixir with codeine, Dave’s drug of choice in the ’60s and ’70s. Once considered relatively benign by the medical community, this over-the-counter medication proved to be highly addictive. As with most mind-altering substances, the user’s initial experiences are revelatory and account for this song’s jubilant leitmotif.

“How Can You Be So Cold” – The evolution of Dave Allen from a young pop singer to a mature blues artist is not only evident in his refined skill with the guitar, but also in a choice of lyrics that reflected a more world-weary view. The music itself is in some ways not unlike his earlier material, but there’s a surprising key change halfway through followed by a flurry of guitar notes that would not have been generally considered acceptable on recordings of the late ’50s.

“Baby, Please Don’t Try to Tell Me What to Do” – After years of fronting his own bands, Dave’s performances had become far more guitar-driven. With a bit of a lounge sensibility, his understated vocal on this track combines with an artful guitar part to exemplify what had by then become a signature Dave Allen sound.

“Dave’s Blues” – The album’s tracks are arranged in a certain order to re-create the dynamics of a typical Dave Allen set at the time. This number is an energetic instrumental with a remarkable element of swing and a measure of his trademark speed runs.

“Lord Have Mercy” – As hardcore as the blues ever gets. Suicidal lyrics, primal vocals and a vast outpouring of the soul through a Gibson electric guitar and an over-cranked Fender Twin amplifier. Written and recorded not in the aftermath of a drug withdrawal, but during one.

“Goin’ Back to Houston” – An upbeat tune and an overlooked “city song” about Dave’s hometown. His reference to Jensen Drive in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward recalls his countless nightclub appearances in this mostly African-American neighborhood.

Side 2:

“Poor Soul” – Dave referred to this composition in 6/8 time as a “jazz waltz.” Melodically engaging with a jazz-imbued guitar chart, but lyrically disturbing with death as the underlying theme.

“Livin’ in a World of Darkness” – “People, if you would just look around you, then you’d see what’s going on.” Dramatic blues with a gospel flavor, but with absolutely no promise or even suggestion of redemption.

“Bone’s Home” – A sophisticated jazz-blues instrumental with quirky but pleasing rhythm changes. Drummer Tommy “Bone” Crone gets a chance to showcase his impressive technique.

“Midnight Hour Blues” – Another straight-up slow blues that displays Dave’s mastery of the form. As he often did in live performances, Dave solos on the guitar as if he were being chased by one or two of his personal demons.

“Goin’ to St. Louis” – Dave had recorded this song on previous occasions and it had been a staple of his repertoire for years. He rearranged it with a more bluesy approach and a stronger emphasis on the guitar for inclusion on this album.

Southern Rock 'n Roll LP Cover Front

Southern Rock N' Roll of the 60's

Southern Rock ‘n’ Roll of the ’60s by Rockin’ Dave Allen – This vinyl LP compilation of Dave’s previously-issued Jin singles was released in 1979 by Rock-a-Billy Productions (LP-1) of Lafayette to coincide with a rockabilly resurgence on the heels of the British punk rock movement. (Apart from personal appearances and his relationship with Jin Records, based in Ville Platte, Dave had no real ties to Louisiana. He was a native and lifelong Texan.) These songs are often interchangeably pigeonholed into related genres: rock ‘n’ roll, blues, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, Cajun rockabilly, swamp pop, swamp blues, swamp rock or Gulf Coast pop. Some descriptions are more accurate than others but, because Dave experimented with different styles, none are entirely definitive. These ten recordings as a whole—while remaining very much of their era—defy a simple categorization.

Southern Rock 'n Roll LP Cover Back

Dave himself wrote the liner notes for this LP in anticipation of its release. A straightforward account of people, places and times, it’s the closest thing to a résumé or memoir that Dave ever created. Much of it has been incorporated into the biography section of this website.

Track listing, Side 1:

“Walking Slowly”
“Can’t Stand to See You Go”
“Shirley Jean”
“(Those) Lonely, Lonely Feelings”

Track listing, Side 2:

“My Little Darlin’”
“My Broken Heart”
“What’s Left for a Fool Like Me”
“Give Me One More Chance”
“Rose Marie (Rose Mary)”

Epitaph for a Legend Front

Epitaph For A Legend

Epitaph for a Legend (various artists, 1980) – Originally released as a double vinyl LP, this compilation of material from the International Artists catalog included rare tracks from The 13th (Thirteenth) Floor Elevators, The Red Crayola, Thursday’s Children and Lightnin’ Hopkins. (One of IA’s best bands, [The] Bubble Puppy, is notable by their absence.) Dave Allen is represented on two unreleased tracks from the Color Blind sessions: “C.C. Rider,” a.k.a. “See See Rider” (a cover of the traditional blues song written by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey) and “Saturday A.M. Blues” (an original composition by Dave). He also played guitar on “Breakfast in Bed” by Big Walter (Price). Released on compact disc on the Collectables label (COL-8813) and on the Sunspots label (SPOT 537).

Epitaph for a Legend Back

The back of the macabre, Edward Gorey-esque cover art by Ian Gardiner for Epitaph for a Legend. Seeing his name starkly drawn on a gravestone amused Dave because it jibed with his sense of fatalism and predestination.

Blue Eyed Soul of Texas Front

Blue Eyed Soul of Texas

Blue Eyed Soul of Texas (various artists, 1992) – A compilation CD on the Collectables label (COL-5257) including “One of These Days” by Rockin’ Dave Allen. This track was taken from a fully produced demo tape, one of several that Dave would sometimes send to various record labels. The song was never officially released.

Blue Eyed Soul of Texas Back

The back of this CD’s booklet features one of Dave’s publicity photos, circa 1965, as used on the cover of the LP Southern Rock ‘n’ Roll of the ’60s.

We Love You, Bobby Front

We Love You, Bobby: A Tribute to Bobby Bland

We Love You, Bobby: A Tribute to Bobby Bland (various artists, 1992) – A compilation CD on the Collectables label (COL-5270). A tribute album to Bobby “Blue” Bland that featured cover versions of his most famous works and other songs done in the style or manner of Bland. It included “One of These Days” by Rockin’ Dave Allen, albeit a slightly remixed version than that which appeared on Blue Eyed Soul of Texas.

Louisiana Saturday Night

Louisiana Saturday Night (various artists, 1993)

Louisiana Saturday Night (various artists, 1993) A compilation CD of classic swamp pop by Ace Records in the UK (CDCHD 490) that reached beyond the scope of the Jin catalog. Still, it included the Jin single “Can’t Stand to See You Go” by Rockin’ Dave Allen.

Louisiana Saturday Night Front

The Early Jin Singles: Southland Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Early Jin Singles: Southland Rock ‘n’ Roll (various artists, 2003) – A compilation CD by Ace Records in the UK (CDCHD 878) including Rockin’ Dave Allen’s “Give Me One More Chance” and “Can’t Stand to See You Go.” A considered overview of southern Louisiana and southeastern Texas pop of the late ’50s as chronicled by Jin Records.

The Later Jin Singles Front

The Later Jin Singles: The Promised Land

The Later Jin Singles: The Promised Land (various artists, 2004) – A follow-up compilation CD by Ace Records in the UK (CDCHD 1004) including “My Little Darling” by Rockin’ Dave Allen. By all accounts, this type of music is more appreciated today in Europe than in the United States.

Never Ever Land Front

Never Ever Land

Never Ever Land: 83 Texan Nuggets From International Artists, 1965-1970 (various artists, 2008) – A three-disc set of classics and rarities culled from the International Artists vaults and released by Charly Records through Snapper Music in the UK (SNAJ 735). A beautiful package by any standard, with a comprehensive booklet of liner notes and pristine audio transfers. Professionally done in all respects. This anthology concentrates on the label’s unique brand of psychedelia, but it includes “Terp” from the LP Color Blind by Dave Allen “The Man” and “C.C. Rider” from Epitaph for a Legend.

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