Paul Alan Watkins (January 25, 1950 – August 3, 1990) was a member of Charles Manson’s "Family." In the period leading up to Manson’s trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders, Watkins provided the prosecution with information that clarified the Helter Skelter motive.
Fellow Manson Family member Brooks Poston (born c. 1951) also testified for the prosecution; helping to explain the Helter Skelter motive, as well as what life was like within the family.
Watkins played flute and saxophone, Poston played guitar, usually taking lead vocal with Watkins singing in harmony. The songs can best be described as a post-psychedelic folk music, with a palpable Manson influence.
The duo formed Desert Sun sometime during 1971 and played shows all around Death Valley and Nevada. The band had five members including Jane Boltinhouse, Paul's brother John Watkins, and Paul's friend Clinton Crable.
Desert Sun recorded many songs throughout the few years that they were together, including two Charles Manson songs: Home Is Where You Are Happy and Look at Your Game, Girl (which can be found on the release: Live in Death Valley). They also recorded many songs that were inspired by Manson, such as My Friend?, Prophet of the Lowlands, and Hello Mister Sunshine.
While Desert Sun was recording their first album at Reice Hamel Recording USA 1712 Birch St. in Las Vegas, NV., the owner of the studio was busy bugging the Watergate Towers for President Nixon. The studio was locked down by the FBI and years were spent sorting out the mess. The recordings were never released.
Desert Sun split up and Paul Watkins went to work in the mines of Tecopa, staked out his own mining claims, divorced and remarried, raised a family, wrote a book on Manson and headed up the first meetings of the Chamber of Commerce. Brooks Poston & Jane Boltinhouse followed their guru, Paul Crockett (Desert Sun's manager) to Northern Washington State. There Brooks & Jane continued as Northern Lights, performing a number of Desert Sun's original songs.
Brooks Poston also performed some Desert Sun songs (White Cloud Machine and Bright, Bright Yellow) as well as some of his own songs in a self-released tape sometime in the 1970s.
Northern Lights reappeared in Southern California in the mid-eighties and performed a few concerts while selling three Cassette Tapes of their music along with Posters and Tee-Shirts. But soon they were called back to Washington State by their mentor. This music seems to have been professionally recorded because an orchestra and choir can be heard throughout as well as other background singers and musicians.
Neither Watkins nor Poston were charged with any crimes relating to the Manson murders. In 1970, the pair recorded four atmospheric songs for the rush-to-market documentary film "Manson", which contained much footage of the Family in their environment.
The four songs from "Manson" (1970):
White Cloud Machine (edit)
The pair are also present on "The Family Jams" album, recorded in 1970 and released in 1997.
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