Classic Singles #82: The Wig – Crackin’ Up / Bluescene (1967)

The Wig_labelThe Wig were from Austin, Texas and were active from 1965 to 1967. They chose their name because they felt it conjured up images of being cool and authority-flouting long hair, and it sounded English. Their debut single ‘Drive It Home / To Have Never Loved At All’ was released on the Goyle label in November 1966 and was a local hit. ‘Drive It Home’ was a driving garage stomper and the flip a jangling ballad.

On the back of the 45’s success The Wig secured a Wednesday night residency at The Jade Room on San Jacinto. According to the band, they attracted a more mainstream crowd of college students and personnel from the nearby Bergstrom Air Force Base – who came along to hear covers of ‘Midnight Hour’, ‘Louie Louie’ and ‘Gloria’ – than fellow Austinites The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, who played to a hipper gathering at the same venue on Thursdays.

The Wig_bandThe outfit’s second single appeared on the BlacKnight label in May 1967 (and also on Empire with promotional copies on yellow vinyl). A-side ‘Crackin’ Up’ was written by the leader and driving force of the band, drummer and singer Rusty Weir who was famed for his no holds barred live performances. The song is characterised by a naggingly insistent main guitar riff, unexpected tempo changes, an incendiary break from guitarist Benny Rowe and an inspired, frantic finish that makes you want to immediately spin this punkadelic high roller again.

Flip ‘Bluescene’ is a swinging, up-tempo instrumental with some sweet guitar work credited to one W. Theig, an anagram of the band name of course.

‘Crackin’ Up’

‘Bluescene’

Rusty Weir and bassist Jessy Aryan moved on to Lavender Hill Express, a band that released several singles, and later Weir had a successful career as a country-influenced singer songwriter.

Live at The Jade Room, a retrospective album collecting live recordings and unreleased material by The Wig and related outfit The Georgetown Medical Band, was released on Texas Archive in 1983.

Reissues: ‘Crackin’ Up’ is a highlight of Pebbles Volume 1 (and on the Trash Box CD set). There is also a reproduction single, which looks to be the only way currently to obtain the flip.

Discography
  • Drive It Home / To Have Never Loved At All (Goyle, 1966)
  • Crackin’ Up / Bluescene (BlacKnight / Empire, 1967)
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