"OK Let's Go" (back of the CD) 1988 release on Restless
Don Leady, from Missippi, is and was the main cat in the Tailgators. He is a guitar wizard and like his sound rough and ugly. I had seen Don play several times and really liked his approach to guitar. Soon after I moved to Austin Don asked me to record them. He wanted to do a recording very quickly, for budget reasons and to keep their live energy that they were so famous for. This band played a lot in the US and Europe. Probably close to 2000 shows a year. The bass player was Keith Ferguson who was one of the coolest cats in Austin. He had played for the T-Birds for years. Gary Smith was the drummer and he was very very good at this Rocking, cajun style of music.
We did the Mumbo Jumbo record in 4 days at Arlyn Studio in Austin for Wrestler Records and Dusty Wakeman remixed it at Mad Dog in LA. Dusty is a really cool guy who has produced, engineered and played bass on some very great recordings (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakum and Jim Lauderdale). One great story I remember about the Mumbo Jumbo sessions is when Keith Ferguson got so tangled up in his headphone and guitar cables that he frustratedly untangled himseself, getting madder and madder, and left the studio in a huff and did not return for 2 days. luckily we had finished most of the basic tracks so we could work on overdubs while he was diasppeared.
The 2nd recording 2 years later was called "OK Let's Go" and we recorded and mixed this in 7 days, also at Arlyn. We did this recording for RESTLESS Records, which is how I met Ron Goudie when he was doing A&R for them. Ron is a producer and now lives in Amsterdam too, small world.
A great story about Keith Ferguson on the "Ok Let's Go" sessions was when he broke a string on his bass, which he hardly ever did. He liked the strings on his bass when they were at least 2 years old and searched hard around town with other bass players to find a used string of the same gauge and type to replace the broken one. I am a bass player and learned a lot from watching Keith and listening to him play. I have tried to use old strings ever since then and usually hate the sound of new strings. Keith was one of the best bass players ever, to get the groove going and roll his sound in and around under the rest of the band, sometimes hard to distinguish his notes, but always undeniably on the groove, driving the band along, walking his bass from section to section and never fighting with the drum groove.
These recordings were the first where Don Leady experimented with played instruments other than his telecaster, playing fiddle and lap steel guitar. Don has kept the Tailgators on the road all these years. Keith Ferguson died of heart failure in the early nineties and it was a sad time in Austin. many people respected and loved Keith.