Ace Records 2010
It’s been a long time since “Great Googa Mooga” (CDCHD 880), a collection of answers to profound issues confronting mankind for millennia and a comprehensive overview of the finest minds of the 20th century. People are still talking about it, often for its danceability and entertainment value, of all things! It’s been heard said that a follow-up volume already exists, people have waited so long for its appearance. Now, finally, we bring you that long overdue sequel.
In January 1960 Pat Boone launched a record label called Agoom Agooc. This is Cooga Mooga reversed. The Phantom’s ‘Love Me’ may have been the only release on the label. Does this help set the tone? We hope so, but need to add that the above mentioned tune does not grace this album. So what does?
The Quasar of Rock, His Royal Highness, Little Richard, is once again present. This time with an alternate take of that epitome of undisputed truths, ‘Tutti Frutti’. Also back in attendance is the Great Pretender to the throne and a king among rockers himself, Larry Williams, this time with the wildest take of ‘Hocus Pocus’. The Rivingtons, whose ‘Mama Oom Mow Mow’ can be heard on “Great Googa Mooga”, return with ‘The Bird’s The Word’.
The Spaniels lend us our title with ‘Great Googly Moo’, one of their late and just as great Vee-Jay 45s. You can’t hear too much about that mysterious place described in Sheriff & the Revels’ ‘Shombalor’. We are very excited about releasing for the first time anywhere the great wordsmith Shirley Ellis’ unissued ‘Ka Ta Ga Boom Beat’, from the time of her huge hits ‘The Name Game’ and ‘The Clapping Song’. And the irrepressible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is ‘Hearing Voices’. Altogether 24 upbeat tracks that will mentally beat you up.
In much the same way that the blues is full of idiosyncratic language that has baffled even the hardiest of scholars, songs written for teenagers in the 50s and early 60s were often couched in a similarly veiled sub-cultural tongue. Bop talk among jazz musicians of the 1920s alienated white listeners. Likewise, the language of rock’n’roll was often contrived to alienate adults (squares). Many of these songs were written and recorded in alliance with radio DJs eager to get a leg up on their competition by promoting an in-lingo known only among their own listeners. In this way we got, among many others, the Bobbettes with ‘Rock And Ree Ah Zole (The Teen-Age Talk)’.
Some fascinating stories emerge: people going ‘Oonka Chicka’, for no understandable reason; others creating answer records to ‘Sh-Boom’. Where would you start? The last word should probably have gone to the Tammys and their epic ‘Egyptian Shumba’, but it doesn’t. It goes to Macy Skipper, who gets caught ‘Goofin’ Off’. What else can I tell you? In this volume we get a little closer to some answers. But we don’t delve too deep. We’re scared!
By Brian Nevill (ACE Records)