I yield to no man in my admiration of the music of Terry Brooks. Probably best known for his first two albums, Translucent World from 1973 and Raw Power from ’76, Brooks’ style is a maddeningly manic brand of space-psych adorned with some of the fastest, most thrilling solos in rock history.
His unique career has taken in rock stardom, The Vietnam War, teaching, treasure hunting, painting and writing. After a difficult upbringing, Terry got his start on the blues circuit. “I started out playing blues on the black circuit all over the US – the chitlin’ circuit as it was known. I played all over the US with a black band, travelling around with 18 people on a bus – at that time there were no white people in these clubs. I was the only white guy there. This gig started in ’61.
It was a rough time because of the racial tensions. I’d seen a lot of abuse of the band members that were with me, and many bad situations, but playing and travelling around Texas, Mexico, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana – man you are talking about having a ball. That was the least money I ever made in music and the most fun I ever had! All we lived for was the note, the sound – and man we could really kick.” In the late ’60s Terry had to take a serious detour away from music. “I ended up in the army in ’nam which we won’t go into. This was the mid-60s and I got drafted.
When I came back I had a pretty tough time for a long while after that with depression and everything and I started playing blues again. It started with the album Translucent World when I was still in a kind of daze. I was just kind of a lost person with all that stuff that had happened to me. All I had was my music and the feeling in my music and I wrote about what I felt.” Translucent World is credited to “Strange” (later releases were credited to Terry Brooks & Strange, and then just to Terry Brooks) and was released on Terry’s own label in ’73.
Fans of heavy-psych guitar should need no introduction to this masterwork that takes the ghost of Hendrix and blasts it into the outer solar system. “Translucent World – you could tell where I was when you listen to it – I was way out there. There was a PO Box that was open for Translucent World that I never checked. When I finally did, there were hundreds of letters from record companies trying to get a hold of me from all over Europe, all the record companies.
I missed a shot there.” At this time Terry also rejected an offer from RCA, “They wanted to change my band and for certain people to go, so I turned them down.” Any fan of heavy psychedelic guitar has not got a complete record collection until they’ve checked out Terry’s music, which they can do at his new website TerryBrooksandStrange.com.
Asked to describe his guitar playing he replies, “It’s a cosmically energised style. I was very careful not to play other people’s music. I was also careful not to look at any other mathematical extrapolations. I didn’t want to be influenced by anything else.”
by Austin Matthews, Shindig Magazine
1. Jimi - 4:31
2. Ruler Of The Universe - 11:05
3. The Kiss Of A Butterfly - 6:04
4. Hey Mr. Lonely Man - 4:42
5. Lost - 5:50
6. Spoonful (Live) (Willy Dixon) - 9:41
7. Preacher Of Rock'N'Roll - 6:35
All songs written by Terry Brookes unless otherwise written.
*Terry Brooks - Vocals, Guitar
the Free Text