Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CD Review: Various Artists - Halloween A Go-Go

Note: This review previously ran here and in the Illinois Entertainer

Halloween A Go-Go is like a CD version of musician/radio host Little Steven Van Zandt’s annual October bash on his syndicated show, Underground Garage minus the funny B-movie sound bites.  The consistently energetic tracks range from the 1950s rockabilly of Carl Perkins’ “Put Your Cat Clothes On” to the modern garage rock of The Stems, Minus 5, and Jarvis Humby. Not all of the songs qualify as bona fide Halloween fare.

The biggest stretch is “Restless Nights” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, which includes Van Zandt. It does fit the CD's nocturnal theme, which includes the crown jewel of the garage movement, “I Had Too Much To Dream” by The Electric Prunes, as well as The Pretty Things’ psychedelic “Walking Through My Dreams.”

Veteran garage rockers The Chesterfield Kings, who always seem to be in Halloween party mode, check in with “Running Through My Nightmares,” while Howlin’ Wolf’s “Howlin For My Darling” offers spooky fun in a blues vein. The only dud is the cornball oldie, “The Cool Ghoul” by John Zacherle. No doubt it was included for nostalgia, but any number of tracks would have been better, such as Metric’s “Monster Hospital” or Don Dixon’s “Praying Mantis.”

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