The Powell St. John Trio

The Powell St. John Trio


The Sultan of Psychedelia and virtuoso harmonica player, Powell St. John, takes you on an acoustic mind expanding journey with songs written by this legendary songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Janis Joplin, Boz Scaggs & Roky Erikson. Take the journey!


Powell St. John went from Laredo to Austin, Texas in 1959, a harmonica playing, beret wearing beatnik kid who had a hunch that something was going on somewhere. Powell began his musical career in Austin in the early 1960’s, playing at parties and clubs around the University of Texas campus. Eventually he came to work with Kenneth Threadgill of Austin’s Threadgill’s Bar, performing with Janis Joplin and Lannie Wiggins in a small trio called The Waller Creek Boys. Later, in answer to a request for material from Tommy Hall of the 13th Floor Elevators, St. John wrote six songs for their two first albums. In the late 60’s, Powell formed a blues and rock band with Tracy Nelson named Mother Earth.

Powell’s songs have been recorded by such musical legends as Janis Joplin (Bye, Bye Baby), Boz Scaggs (I’ll Forever Sing), Tracy Nelson (Livin’ with the Animals), Roky Erickson (Right Track Now) & Doug Sahm (You Don’t Know).

Over the years, Powell has been interviewed by many of the top television stations from the US and Europe, BBC, CBS, E! Entertainment, Lifetime, and others, about Janis Joplin, the Psychedelic scene in Austin, and his own music career. After a 30 year run of royalties and licensing for film, stage and TV, the Texas Music Hall of Fame inducted Powell in 2005 as part of the South by Southwest Music Conference. At each event attended in Austin during this time, he was mobbed by people, telling him how much they liked his music and asking for his autograph. Taking advantage of the fact that Powell returned to Austin, several of his fans arranged for him to record a new CD, “Right Track Now.

Powell has fans the world over, including many important and influential music industry professionals, such as Julian Cope from the UK, David Fricke from Rolling Stone magazine, and Bill Bentley, senior vice president at Warner Brother’s Records, all emerging from the woodwork as long time St. John fans:

∑ “Powell’s CD is nothing short of amazing. I've listened about 5 times all the way through, and there are so many highlights I can't start to list them. Over the years his music and songs have given me so much joy.” – Bill Bentley, Senior Vice President, Warner Brother’s Records

∑ "I think he is a first-rate harmonica player and I am glad he is still doing it. His songs are some of my favorites!" - Roky Erickson

∑ “In the midst of the budding psychedelic sound, Powell's music was unique, completely original and brilliant. He gave us validation as something more than a derivative R&B band and he inspired me to stretch out beyond my desire to be Irma Thomas. I think he was the most significant and profound artist (and by the very nature of that the least appreciated) of the era. I'm so glad he's making music again”. - Tracy Nelson

This CD highlights this amazing lyricist, who has a timeless knack for song writing and a unique sense of melody. His music is both original and fully engaging, representing the best of the past and greatness for the future. Contact Toby St. John at 510-575-7127 or email at:


On My Way to Houston

Written By: Powell St. John


There’s a whorehouse on th’ corner
And th’ cops all know it’s there
And they’re dealin’ out the back door
An th’ cops don’t even care
Th’ corrosion and corruption is enough to make you cry
I’m on my way to Houston to buy a chicken pie

Security guard, a tub of lard
He’s starin’ hard at me
He just can’t be too careful
(It’s that tight security)
While th’ lunatics on both sides
Take their orders from on high
I’m on my way to Houston to buy a chicken pie

Fat cat, corporate mogul
Stinkin’ scumb bag in a suit
He has no fear of falling with
His golden parachute
His defense stocks are ascending
He don’t care who lives or dies
I’m on my way to Houston to buy a chicken pie

There was this young fresh faced marine
He’s ready for the war
Recites to me a litany of what he’s fightin’ for
I had no heart to tell him
He’d been fed a pack of lies
I’m on my way to Houston to buy a chicken pie

Now all you NSA cats
With your sneaky, spying eyes
I’m getting mighty tired of your
Sneaky spying lies
You want to know just where I go
When, and the reason why
I’m on my way to Houston to buy a chicken pie

Words and Music Copyright 2004
R. P. St. John Jr. ASCAP

Song of the Silver Surfer

Written By: Powell St. John


Douse the lamps and damp the candles
Stir the coals up warm and bright
Let our fires die down together
Each desending into night
For our lookout on the mountain
Signals back that all is well
So I’ll sing a sacred story
One more fable I will tell

I sing the song of the Silver Surfer
Glancing off the stars tonight
Spawn of earth should all salute you
Wish I may, I wish I might
See the Silver Surfer slipping
Sliding through the starry seas
Skimming down the cosmic courses
Born on waves of gravity

Silver Surfer, shining freedom
Catch your beam and fly our way
Silver Surfer so becoming
Cosmic conscience grant I play
Yours the power, yours the glory
Though it is not these you crave
Silver Surfer, prince of reason
Silver Surfer, catch the wave

Systems die in super novas
Planets are consumed in droves
Thus far we are safely nestled
In the shelter of our cove
May your dreams be free of helicopters
Bright and clear your morning sky
Now we thank the Silver Surfer
One more day gone safely by

Words and Music Copyright 1969
R. P. St. John Jr. ASCAP

I Loved the Way You Played the Picollo, Sara Jean

Written By: Powell St. John


Now when I was in junior high there was this high school girl,
I thought that she was something else and now I’ll tell the world
She never even noticed me but she played in the band,
And every time the band would play I’d always be on hand

I loved the way you played the piccolo,
I loved the way you played the piccolo,
I loved the way you played the piccolo,
Sarah Jean,
Oh Sarah Jean,

Like every adolescent kid such thoughts went through my brain,
They led me into doing things, pop said I’d go insane,
I thought about her night and day and sometimes in between,
She soloed on the Stars and Stripes forever in my dreams,

Repeat Chorus:

Now there were rumors that I heard that made me moan and groan,
How she boogied on the band bus all the way to San Antone,
Duetted with coronet, they said she liked his hair,
But I believe it had to be because he was first chair.
And I….

Repeat Chorus:

I heard she jammed with the Sousaphone that guy was such a pig,
It was rumored the attraction was because his ax was big.
But every rumor that I heard I just dismissed as lies,
And ever she will always be perfection in my eyes,
Cause I

Words and Music Copyright 2004
R. P. St. John Jr. ASCAP


Mother Earth - Living with the Animals
Mother Earth - Make a Joyful Noise
Powell St. John - Right Track Now

Tracks with streaming airplay -

Set List

City Hall
Bye Bye Baby
I Loved the Way You Played The Picolo, Sara Jean
I, the Fly
Jerry Lightfoot
On My Way to Houston
Right Track Now
John Clay
Song of the Silver Surfer
Toby's Theme
Topless Wanda
Women Rule the World
You Won't Believe It
Hot Tamales and the Red Hots
Hardest Working Man
I'll Forever Sing the Blues

Two sets about 45 minutes per set