Monday, May 27, 2024

Cold Sun: Dark Shadows 1970 (Reissue 2008)


Vivid peyote-induced psychedelia from Texas sounding like an incredible meld between the Elevators and the Velvet Underground but possessing a strongly unique disposition. Recorded in 1970 but never released at the time, featuring future members of Roky Erickson’s backing band

Bleib Alien / The Aliens.
Formed in Austin in the late 1960s by visionary lyricist and autoharp player Billy Bill Miller and his friend Tom McGarrigle on guitar, Cold Sun evolved from a band called Cauldron (later Amethyst) which at one point featured drummer John Kearney from Roky Erickson’s first band The Spades.

Miller, a proto-Goth figure always dressed in black, highly influenced by Joe Meek and vintage sci-fi / horror movies, started to experiment with weird noises out of his electrified autoharp,

favoring the audio-oriented drug mescaline over the LSD associated with hippies.
Amethyst jammed with musicians such as Benny Thurman from the 13th Floor Elevators and Steve Webb from the Lost And Found (another International Artists band). The definitive Amethyst line-up, with Hugh Patton on drums and Mike Waugh on bass, played at venues like the I.L. Club, a historical landmark of Austin blues & psychedelic music.

It was through Mike Waugh’s friendship with Elevators drummer John Ike Walton that Billy Miller and the band (still unsure about their name but calling themselves The Daily Planet, changing it to Dark

Shadows, and then to Cold Sun) hooked up with the local label / studio Sonobeat (Mariani, Wildfire, Johnny Winter…), who expressed interest in recording an album with the intention to shop it to a major label: thus, the now-legendary Cold Sun album was born.

The band, driven by Miller’s strange electrified autoharp sounds plus the massive fuzz guitar of

McGarrigle, dressed with feedback and futuristic lyrics, laid down several tracks in between rehearsals at Miller’s house on Castle Hill (west Austin). The album opens with “South Texas” (“the ultimate psychedelic track,” according to Patrick “The Lama” Lundborg), climbing to a psychedelic summit with the final 11 minutes of the fervently intoxicated “Ra-Ma”.

Never released at the time, the Cold Sun album languished in oblivion and the musicians moved on to other things. Billy Bill Miller along with drummer Hugh Patton founded Bleib Alien (later The Aliens), the famous backing band of Roky Erickson, with Billy being essential in bringing Roky back to music

after his stay at Rusk Mental Hospital.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the Cold Sun album was finally released on vinyl by the Rockadelic label (in a tiny edition of 300 copies), followed by a new edition on German label World In Sound in 2008, now out of print.

Sourced from the same audio master as the original Rockadelic LP, the sound has been vastly improved

thanks to the meticulous and careful restoration / remastering by audiophile engineer Ezra Lesser, who has also penned the definitive story of Cold Sun for the liner notes.
*Audiophile restoration / remastering by Ezra Lesser
“One of the most important psychedelic records, and unlike any other one.” – Paul Major.

“Cold Sun is an anomaly in Texas psych history. As significant as Bubble Puppy or Moving Sidewalks

but in no way similar, the Austin quartet cut one cult classic in its brief existence, the spell-binding Dark Shadows, which Jello Biafra called “the best psychedelic album I know of.” – Austin Powell (Austin Chronicle)

INTERVIEW WITH BILLY MILLER HERE (It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine)

Cold Sun – Dark Shadows
Label: World In Sound – WIS-1038
Format: CD, Album, Reissue 2008
Country: Germany
Released: 1970
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock



01. South Texas    5:17
02. Twisted Flower    3:04
03. Here In The Year    8:50
04. For Ever    4:35
05. See What You Cause    3:40
06. Fall   7:20
Lyrics By – Miller, H.M. Nelson, W. Taylor/Music By – Miller
07. Ra-Ma   11:20
Lyrics By – Miller, McGarrigle/Music By – Miller


08. Live Again    10:20
09. Mind Aura   7:33
Music By, Lyrics By – McGarrigle


Autoharp, Vocals – Bill Miller
Bass – Mike Ritchey (tracks: 8,9), Mike Waugh (tracks: 1 to 7)
Drums – Hugh Patton
Guitar – Tom McGarrigle
Music By, Lyrics By – Bill Miller  (tracks: 1 to 5, 8)


Remastered By – Winnie Leyh
Tracks 1-7 were recorded in Austin, Texas, in 1970.
Tracks 8-9 were recorded live, in 1972.

Flac Size: 385 MB


  1. A cd that you would take with you to a deserted island.

    1. On a desert island under a hot sun near the sea, drinking beers.

    2. You're not far from a deserted island.
      But even before tourismus begins.

    3. I know beaches in many islands that you and your girlfriend can be completely alone.

  2. For me this is simply the best psychedelic album coming from Texas. Definitely in my top ten list of best psychedelic records of any time. m-f

    1. Together with:
      13 Floor Elevators - bull of the woods

  3. This is as amazing as everyone says it is. Much, much thanks for this as well as all you bring us.
    Best wishes from the USA Midwest.