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25 August 2013
Save Wild Basin finally located
Now Playing: Pink Floyd live San Diego 1971
Topic: Minor change or comment

Since time immemorial I have been haunted by the mystery of two obscure vintage 45s for which even the tiniest bit of information refused to surface. Theories as to them being modern hoax recordings, or unreleased, or maybe not from the USA, came in vogue as time went and positively no one I asked seemed to know anything. Recently, after 20+ years, I sort of gave up on the quest, since not even the riches of internet yielded any clues.

And maybe that was just what was needed, because a few months ago, in rapid succession, I found the whole shebang of release data for both 45s. I will return to the other no-longer-mysterious 45 in a later post and focus on the second one of the two here, as I now have the actual rekkid in my hairy hands. It is "Save Wild Basin" by a group called Sonstar, and like almost everyone familiar with it, I first ran across it on the enigmatic 'Good Roots' garage/psych compilation from Austria c1982. The comp contained no data and in fact managed to mis-spell (deliberately?) the group's name as 'Sonostar', which may have contributed to my long delay in finding it.

A mighty fine piece of music it is anyway, energetic hippie-folk with an advanced guitar arrangement and soaring vocals that fit the theme of the lyrics perfectly. The band turned out to be a quartet from Austin TX and the single was released as part of a campaign to save a piece of rural land and a basin from explotiation. It came with a picture sleeve that also could be used as a mailing envelope, and contained a 2-sided insert. Very few people have heard the B-side "Golden Eagle", which is a quite good rock number with a full electric setting; it's probably one step too close to mainstream FM rock to work on underground ears, but does confirm the quality of Sonstar. Another collector who was in contact with the group learned that they had a major label deal in progress, at which point their album master tapes were lost; at least that's what the band claims. Too bad, because one can imagine a pretty damn good LP coming from these cats.

The 45 was released as late as 1976, making it almost contemporary when it was picked for bootlegging on 'Good Roots'. This places it in the fine company of other mid-70s tracks such as Neil Norman's "Phaser Laser" (1977) and Scorpion's "I'm Only Human" (1974) on that most peculiar compilation. In any event, the Sonstar quest is complete and I am very happy for the closure.

You wonder about the campaign? Well, it turned out successfully--wild basin was saved and is probably still there.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 20:30 MEST
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink

4 September 2013 - 16:51 MEST

Name: "Dave Baldwin"

I didn't realize that this release was such a big deal. I used to see it in various 45 junk bins around Austin back in 1976 and dismissed it as so-so, especially in comparison to the Conqueroo, Shiva's Headband Ignite and Leo & The Prophets singles that were lying around begging to be bought for a pittance. As a D.C. transplant, I thought that Sonstar couldn't hold a candle to Claude Jones anyway, despite the fact that Wild Basin is a heck of a lot more picturesque than P Street Beach.

5 September 2013 - 23:51 MEST

Name: "Patrick"
Home Page:

Dave, I suspect the Sonstar aesthetics are a little too hippie-ish for you? That "Basin" song has always been a cult favorite up here, even in the hardcore garage days. I think it gained a bit of cachet by appearing on that weird Good Roots compilation, whose mysterious vibe tended to spill over on the tracks it featured. Anyway, as far as pastoral hippie-folk goes, "Save Wild Basin" is one of the best around IMO... even Gabriel Gladstar are left behind (ho-ho).

13 September 2013 - 20:51 MEST

Name: "Ron Moore"

Oscar Decker is still playing locally!  Sonstar played at The Armadillo World Headquarters so no doubt there is a handbill around, perhaps a Jim Franklin (?!).

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