The Solid State

I haven’t seen any concrete info on the Solid State. I’ve read the band was from Bandera, Texas, but the Elpa label was located at 5214 Beautonne in El Paso. El Paso is close to eight hours’ drive from Bandera, while San Antonio is within an hour, Austin two hours drive, and even Dallas is closer.

The A-side is the very moody “Wait and See”, written by Jerry Walker and Sam Lott.

The flip is “The Lynching”, a fascinating original by Jerry Walker with an upbeat rhythm and a catchy six-note guitar line, plus good soloing on the outro. The harmonies are cheery, but the words are most definitely not!

What is the matter in the street,
I hear the clattering of feet,
Here comes an angry bunch,
They’ve had a little too much,
You’d better not get in their way.

I hear a bandit’s on the loose,
They meant to fit him with a noose,
They are looking for a man,
He has gotten out of hand,
And they are going to string him up.

Looks like it’s lynching time again,
And there’s no mercy to be shown,
You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?)
Destruction marks where where it has blown,

Sundown has set the scene for hate,
Come ’round let’s all participate,
Don’t be late for a party tonight,
Celebrate for a triumph of right,
The lynching mob knows where it’s at.

Look out, here they come your way,
Watch out, you may hear them say,
We are looking for a man,
He has gotten out of hand,
This man we’re looking for is you!

Looks like it’s lynching time again,
And there’s no mercy to be shown,
You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?)
Destruction marks where where it has blown.

I have to wonder what inspired this song – perhaps the photos of lynchings that took place in the 40s and 50s where the crowd looks ebullient.

Both songs were published by Linjo Music. BMI’s database lists the song as one of Jerry Jeff Walker’s compositions, but it’s unlikely, as his usual publisher is Grouper Music, and by the time the Solid State released their 45 in October, 1968 Jerry Jeff was part of Circus Maximus and hadn’t made a name for himself as a songwriter yet. Though from upstate New York, Jerry Jeff busked through Texas in the mid-60s, so it is possible he was a member of this group or gave some songs to them.

3 thoughts on “The Solid State”

  1. I have admired ‘The Lynching’ for some time. As you point out, the sunshine pop harmonies combined with the fascinating and brutal lyrics are decidedly unique and compelling. Inspiration? Perhaps The Ox-Bow Incident, or maybe Bad Day at Black Rock playing on the Saturday afternoon Matinee Movie TV program sponsored by a furniture dealer. If it had a guitar break with the intensity of the outro, that would probably bump it up a notch or two in the garage-o-meter.

  2. “The Lynching” always sounded familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it until Glenn Barton pointed out the similarity with a section of “I Am a Rock”, spot on!

  3. It’s probably a different outfit but photographer E.J. ‘Jeff’ Gold included a couple of ’66 and ’67 shots of a band called Solid State at short-lived Hollywood spots called Spectrum 2000 and The Store in his book “More Color Less Soul: The Photobiography of E.J. Gold,” (Gateways Fine Art Series, ’02). There’s no text to speak of but they appear to have been a lead guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums quartet.

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