(C) 1997 - Shaun Dale
|When we last checked in on the folks at Arf! Arf! it was to examine the original (if somewhat erratic) vision of Boston's king of punk karaoke, David Arvedon. This time, the label continues to chronicle the history of the Boston area music scene with the polar opposite to Arvedon's unique voice and vision.
House Party follows guitarist Al Lorusso through three cover bands from the period 1964-1966. The Chevells, who offer two selections here, are the first, from 1964. They're a classic early instro band, but they came along just in time to be swept aside by the British Wave and the resulting demand for vocals. Lorusso moved on the the Van-dels, who would morph into the Bourbons. The disc at hand contains 26 tracks by the band, recorded at rehearsal's and performances, in absolute lo-fi.
Actually, I really like this one. This is the time I was playing in my first bands, and I wish I could say we were as adventurous in our cover selections as these guys were. "Louie, Louie" is here, of course, along with some Chuck Berry, but these guys were covering the Beatles, Dylan, Bobby Fuller, Wilson Pickett, some more prominent local acts and a number of others, and doing a fairly credible job of it.
This is fun stuff, a reasonable chronicle of what thousands of young local cover bands were doing at the time. The Bourbons were doing it better than most, primarily because their vocals aren't actually painful most of the time. This is what the bands at my junior and senior high school hops sounded like, and what I hope my first bands sounded like when we were on (and when I was on-key). It's something worth preserving and something worth listening to. And hey, it's 28 tracks - 77 minutes of just about everybody's greatest hits. If you like garage bands or you were working up a sweat in your stocking feet in the high school gyms of the early 60's, you should take a listen.
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