Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Texas Spotlight: The Esquires - Judgement Day/These Are The Tender Years

Day 9 of our Texas Battle of the Garage Bands brings us another depraved disc. This time from Irving, Texas, the third ring of hell.

This is why I love garage music from the 1960s. No pencil necked record executives here. No songwriter from the Brill Building crafting the perfect song. No producer arrogantly pushing his one-size-fits-all vision on a band. Nope. Just a bunch of kids banging out some song that they wrote themselves. Usually those songs were silly, boorish or just plain bad. But occasionally, it was brilliant.

As we do...we are flipping the record over and starting with The Flip-Side (get it now?)

On the flip-side we have the ultra-awesome Judgement Day by The Esquires. The year is 1966. The label is the DIY Glenvalley Records. It's really hard to imagine what Singer/lead guitarist Charlie Snellings and rhythm guitarist Wes Horne were thinking when they wrote the words to this devil-comes-a-knockin' tale. Perhaps it was taken from a baptist sermon in the conservative, religious Dallas suburbs. Perhaps they were just feeling a little devilish. Here are the lyrics to the Esquires' Judgement Day.
All through life you laugh and say there is no such thing as judgement day/one night as you lay sleeping on the pillow. And voices start coming through the wall and you think back but you can't recall ever hearing those words ever spoken. They say 'brother your time has come your soul must leave, your body is done.' You say 'what sin have I done to deserve this?'. You say 'I'm not ready to be taken, nor be to winged my way to heaven'. Say brother it's not heaven but hell that's waiting. Yeah. And a hole opens up in the wall and that familiar voice does call that says 'brother, follow'. And down that dark pathway you tried to leave your world of sin and pride and then you see that light up ahead. You say 'it's heaven! I can win!', 'tell them I can win' then you feel that heat on your skin and then you know where you're bound for. Yeah!
Don Smelling, our singer's dad, set the label up, managed them, bought the band's equipment and even produced this kick-ass record with a devilish scream. Kudos to dads like Don who do stuff like this for their kids. 

The plug-side, These Are The Tender Years, is downright lame compared to our cryptic flip-side. But I include it because I love you.  Only 1000 copies were pressed and the record was probably only sold at their local roller-rink performances.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Instead of "tell them i can win" i think he says "it's heaven I can win."

    I would love to know how they came up with this. It does seem like it could have come straight from a tv evangelist. Whatever, the end product is genius.

    1. I have to agree with you Mazz. Good catch. I also think "nor be winged my way to heaven" is "nor to wing my way to heaven."

  2. As usual, you are both correct. (I bet you never heard THAT from your wives!)

  3. If I had a wife , I'd already be in Hell. I kid , of course.
    Classic track. First heard it on "I Was a Teenage Caveman" , but , I SHOULD HAVE FIRST HEARD IT AT VIKON VILLAGE. GENTLEMAN JOHN , WHO IS...

    1. Anon, I wonder if you could complete that sentence - who is Gentleman John? And why didn't you hear it at the Vikon Village? What sort of acts did you see there? Thanks for adding to the conversation...

    2. Wish I knew to what the ellipses was leading us.