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The Moving Sidewalks was an American psychedelic blues-rock band, most notable for giving future ZZ Top guitarist, Billy Gibbons, his start in the music business. The band consisted of Gibbons on guitar, Don Summers on bass, Dan Mitchell on drums and Tom Moore on keyboards.
Gibbons founded the Texas psychedelic group in the mid-1960s and quickly drew a large following, especially among the Houston "teen scene". They recorded several singles and one full-length album, Flash. Their single "99th Floor" was well received and topped the charts at No. 1 in Houston for six weeks. The success of this record led the Sidewalks to sign with Wand Records which then released "Need Me", also a Top 10 Hit for the band. The group was asked to open for many rock tours, including Jimi Hendrix and The Doors.
After Tom Moore and Don Summers were drafted into the United States Army, Gibbons and Mitchell added Lanier Greig and formed the original ZZ Top. They recorded the first ZZ Top record, "Salt Lick", which was released on London Records. The original line-up formed in Houston, by Billy Gibbons, organist Lanier Greig (died February 2013) and drummer Dan Mitchell. They released their first single, "Salt Lick", in 1969, and side B contained the song "Miller's Farm"; both songs were credited to Gibbons, with no mention of Lanier Greig's contributions. You can hear Greig's keyboard in the singles "Salt Lick" and the B-side "Miller's Farm". Greig played bass on the B3 with his foot (krumar pedal attachment) and left hand...(lower keyboard) and upper keyboard organ with his right hand on the basic track.
While attending Warner Brothers' art school in Hollywood, California, Gibbons engaged with his first bands including The Saints, Billy G & the Blueflames, and The Coachmen. By 1967, Gibbons returned to Houston and went forward forming an artfully designed band, conceptually inspired by friend and fellow musician, Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators,. The "Moving Sidewalks" name was chosen and shortly thereafter 99th Floor. Around this time Gibbons had developed quite a camaraderie with the legendary Jimi Hendrix. As a guest on The Dick Cavett Show, Hendrix would later be quoted as saying that Gibbons was slated to be the next big thing as a guitarist. The Moving Sidewalks continued to appear along with the 13th Floor Elevators at the short-lived yet legendary Houston psychedelic venue, Love Street Light Circus at Allen's Landing. The Elevators set was cut short by Houston Police who arrested the band's lead singer Roky Erickson for marijuana possession.
In January 2013 Gibbons announced the Moving Sidewalks would reunite with all original members for one show on March 30, 2013 at B.B. King's Blues Club in New York City. Since that successful sold out NY show and despite their single show announcement, the band has been confirmed as official headliners of Austin Psych Fest running April 25–28, 2013.
Tom Moore - "Gimme 88…!" said Tom Moore when it was either guitar, bass, or drums. Tom's preference toward the keyboard took him to hold the wide-side of the stage where he's been poundin' the ivories for the Sidewalks and lending that effervescent and ethereal edge to their psychedelic sound since day one. Make no mistake, Tom's passion for keys doesn't stop with piano, which was only Tom's first slap at the black and whites. Tom's fascination with the likes of Jimmy Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and Jimmy McGriff led him to acquiring his true favorite, the big, bold, and beefy Hammond B3 organ. As Tom puts it, "There's nothin' but the best in that thing no matter how you look at it!".
Tom's full-fisted chords and voracious voicings have rounded out the Sidewalks' sonic specialness with a range of tone and Leslie grizzle that's truly an addition of the highest order. A fact agreed upon amongst his bandmates, who have dubbed Tom as…"The Rock". Rock it, Tommy Moore. Rock on…!
Don Summers - Don Summers and his bass-guitar rantings and wranglings are a testament to Don's fascination with things mechanical. "If it's got gears, motors, wires, or things that go "buzz", "crack", or "bang", then I'm in" says Summers. As luck would have it, Leo Fender packed exactly that into the one and only Fender Electric Bass, Don's go-to. Don's penchant to finger and thumb the strings with low-down sounds came early on from watching the many stars of Texas Swing bands and later the backbone bangers of the blues who all were shifting to the electric bass-guitar. Summers' style is about not wasting time looking around for a pick or a plectrum, rather, his attitude is, "Pick it up and PLAY!"
Don's fever for showmanship and engineering tinkerings led him to create the first "spinning bass-guitar" with his position of holding down the bottom end with The Moving Sidewalks. And he didn't stop there. Taking a page from Bo Diddley, Don mimicked the blues giant by creating a fur-covered electric 6-string, later given to Billy Gibbons. These unexpected elements and expressions also gave Don a boost with Jimi Hendrix whom the Sidewalks briefly toured with in 1968.
Don's return to the deck with his co-horts in the Sidewalks allows the legion of fans to once again take a guess as to what he'll dream up next.
Dan Mitchell - Dan Mitchell must have known drumming was in the Grand Plan of things to come as he began knocking out beats with pots, pans, and anything else that would take a hammering from day one. As time went on, those early bashings took a real serious turn as Dan matured and made the backbeat come alive for a host of bands starting back in Dan's high school days. Then, another step up for "The Mitchell Effect"… Dan found himself taking newfound residence in the home of the blues, Louisiana's "Crescent City". New Orleans couldn't have been more inspirational as Dan wandered into the heart of the now famous scene of some serious Gulf Coast rhythm & blues. The influences there were many…particularly the percussive attack by the great drummer, Earl Palmer, whose cracking snare and thumping bass drum gave Dan the juice to take on the personality that can be heard today.
Once relocation to Houston, Texas became home, it was the DM backbeat that brought Billy Gibbons into the picture, which took hold as together, they quickly formed The Coachmen, an early R&B sounding outfit which later evolved into their notorious psychedelic teamwork as The Moving Sidewalks, and eventually ZZ Top. After four decades, the circle has been recreated into the regathering of The Moving Sidewalks. There is a time and a place.
Billy F Gibbons - "Ah, yes the Gibbons-boy…!" as Keith Richards likes to say! Gibbons is surely well known as the consummate blues-based guitarist with ZZ Top, and yet, it was with the Moving Sidewalks where those groovy blues chops began to take shape. Along with his sidekicks, Don Summers, Tom Moore, and originating partner Dan Mitchell, the cornerstone of the Moving Sidewalks Texas blues and rhythm and blues influences established a fiercely solid platform to work up a technical style and delivery that marks Gibbons' distinctive sound heard from then 'til today.
The Billy F Gibbons writing and playing approach is the contemporary additive propelling the Sidewalks' sounds toward maintaining their psychedelic shenanigans on a forward top. He is first in the foursome's credeo to echo the band's stance to rock loud and rock hard. So it is…!
- Flash (1969) Tantara TS 6919
(the original album release; produced by Steve Ames...their manager)
- 99th Floor (1982) Eva 12002
(reissue of the Tantara album plus the 5 tracks that were issued on singles only)
- Flash (2000) Akarma AK 117
(another reissue of the Tantara album with the 5 singles only tracks added again)
- The Pre-ZZ Houston Roots (2004) Lone Star LSR 19629
(a compilation of material by The Moving Sidewalks including 6 unreleased tracks; 21 songs total)
- The Roots Of ZZ Top (2010) Fuel 61820
(a compilation of 7 Moving Sidewalks songs, 4 Warlocks songs, 7 American Blues songs; all tracks previously released on various singles and albums)
- The Complete Collection (2012) Rockbeat ROC 3018
(a compilation of material by The Moving Sidewalks including 6 unreleased tracks; also includes demo material by Billy Gibbons' first band...The Coachmen; 26 songs total)
- The Moving Sidewalks - A Band From Texas (1968) Another Mangy Mutt 1030
(this 7" EP was released on the indie label MUTT, a subsidiary of the Moxie Record Company. It is a mono recording and the playback speed is at 45rpm. This record is a combination/compilation of the band's A & B sides from their first 2 singles for Wand Records)
- Side A: 99th Floor; What Are You Going To Do
- Side B: Every Night A New Surprise; Need Me
- "99th Floor" / "What Are You Going To Do" (1967) Tantara 3101; reissued as Wand 1156
- "Need Me" / "Every Night A New Surprise" (1967) Wand 1167
- "I Want To Hold Your Hand" / "Joe Blues" (1968) Tantara 3108
- "Flashback" (4:15 - radio edit) / "No Good To Cry" (3:08 - radio edit) (1969) Tantara 3113
- Official Moving Sidewalks Website
- Official Moving Sidewalks MySpace
- Official Moving Sidewalks Facebook
- Official Moving Sidewalks Google+
- Moving Sidewalks on iTunes
- Moving Sidewalks on Pandora
- Official Billy Gibbons Website
- Rolling Stone Album Review: The Complete Collection
- Short Moving Sidewalks history
- BILLY GIBBONS PRE-ZZ TOP WORK COLLECTED ON MOVING SIDEWALKS ‘COMPLETE COLLECTION’ LP
- allmusic: The Moving Sidewalks
- Moving Sidewalks feat. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top
- Discogs The Moving Sidewalks
- GOOD: MOVING SIDEWALKS REUNITE FOR SHOW; BAD: IT'S IN NEW YORK
- Houston Chronicle: Moving Sidewalks step up for first time in 44 years
- last.fm: The Moving Sidewalks
- songkick: Moving Sidewalks
- Seattle PI Music Review: The Moving Sidewalks - The Complete Collection
- No Depression: Deluxe reissue of infamous 1960s Texas psych-blues
- The Second Disc: Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Moving Sidewalks, “The Complete Collection”