For any kid forced into the indentured servitude of school five days a week, the two days you have off takes on increased importance in your life.

Nothing lasts as long as a cold dreary Monday sitting in a classroom, unless it’s an equally interminable Tuesday or Wednesday. By Thursday however you start getting your hopes up, feeling if you can just make it another day you will be rewarded for your patience.

As the minutes tick down on Friday afternoon, your muscles tense, your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes shallow and your senses are on high alert waiting for the bell to ring so you can be released from captivity for a weekend of unsupervised fun.

But then you look out the window and ask yourself, “What if it rains?”


Go! Go! Go!
Rock fans in the late 1940’s may have had to suffer through the new genre’s growing pains which sometimes resulted in months of slow tedious progress interspersed with sudden awkward growth spurts as singers, songwriters, musicians and producers struggled to grasp the changes taking place around them, interpret them for their own skill sets and then come up with something suitable to take its place alongside the growing musical decedence.

But every so often there’s be a record that exploded with unhinged fury, letting everybody know that you could never go far enough in this quest for excitement.

Those records tended to be instrumentals led by saxophonists testing the limits of their horns – sometimes unwillingly, sometimes enthusiastically – the results of which left few who heard them untouched by the carnage.

But just as rapidly as they rose to prominence, they seemed to fade into the background as the rest of rock ‘n’ roll… the solo singers and the vocal groups, the self-contained bands and the studio sessionists alike – all sort of got their legs under them as the Nineteen Fifties dawned and figured out there were many different ways to attract that audience which didn’t require shattering their eardrums by honking and squealing up a storm.

For Joe Houston, a saxman extraordinaire just coming of age, this was an unfortunate turn of events as he was unable to lure many people into his den of inequity with the same old tricks that now seemed passé.

Like the school kid waking up on Saturday morning to a downpour outside, Houston watched his chance for fun and excitement get washed away.

But when the clouds broke he scrambled to his feet, grabbed his sax and rushed out the door, determined to make the best of what was still a cloudy day for wild instrumentals.

With so much bad weather in the forecast for this kind of song nowadays, no wonder he’s ducking into Houston’s Hot House trying to get warm and dry in the hopes that the sky will soon brighten, the sun will come back out and his desire to honk away like a madman once more will have a limitless horizon.

Oh My Goodness!
Horns blowing crude back and forth patterns over some rowdy cries from the gallery is a sure sign you have crossed the tracks and entered into a world your dear old mother warned you about.

This might even be the kind of establishment where they serve intoxicating spirits to those too young and innocent to know about such things and where ladies of the night may attempt to entice you into a physical encounter without benefit of marriage.

Let’s hope so at least!

Joe Houston might be too occupied on the bandstand for drinking and screwing, but his job is to see to it that YOU have the right atmosphere to drink and screw… while dancing to his music of course.

If that seems too much to juggle, then maybe you’re in the wrong place after all and probably should make a hasty retreat back to your overbearing mother before she sends the law in to stop the fun the rest of us are having at Houston’s Hot House.

Heat is a good word for it too, because the band is trying to raise the temperature with their playing which consists mainly of crude quick riffs being bandied about by the horns – Joe’s tenor and a lusty baritone – while drums and bass hold down the bottom.

There’s virtually no sign of melody until the mid-section and even that gets quickly upended. If there’s a complaint to be made it’s that in their quest to get everybody gyrating they never let a single refrain linger long enough to become familiar and let your hips catch up to your brain (or what remains of it) to make this dance more than simply a series of uncoordinated spasmic twitches.

But as uncoordinated spasmic twitches go… this will make you lose your last semblance of decorum. But just when you get overheated from all this bumping and grinding they let you off where you came in, far worse for the wear maybe, but receiving no complaints from the bruised and battered masses who congregate for such hedonistic rituals every weekend.

Move Over, Let Me Go
Joe Houston and company later re-cut this, the longer version clocking in at nearly four minutes, in case anyone didn’t get heated enough the first time around.

While they were remarkably faithful to the spirit and… well, I guess the musical qualities if that’s not too big of a stretch to say… the crazed, almost demented, glee they played with on the original Modern version of Houston’s Hot House was not quite as prevelent.

Maybe that’s because the single was actually cut IN Houston’s own house, which definitely got hot enough in just two and a half minutes of frantic playing to remind everybody of what once was commonplace in rock just a few short years before.

This was a music that was not sophisticated in any way, not melodic… some would say is hardly even musical… but when you cross those tracks to the other side of town you’re not looking for sweet playing to serve as the subtle backdrop for staring lovingly in your sweetheart’s eyes across a candlelit table at a swanky restaurant.

Instead you’re eying three girls lustfully as the heat in the rundown club is so thick you can see it shimmer in the flickering lights so that when it ends and you spill out into the night air you’d actually be grateful for a little rain to cool you off again before everybody’s back in class, back at work, or back in jail on Monday morning, furtively looking forward to when Saturday rolls around again.


(Visit the Artist page of Joe Houston for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)