When I pulled this album off the shelf I said, “oh, it’s an open-y!” And Alex was all, “alright, do you want to know the technical term for that?” And I was all like, “shut up I’m looking at this,” because he was sounding condescending, but now, I’m over it and want to know. It’s called a “gatefold.” The actual album that Alex has has a lot of water damage on it, that apparently came from it leaning against our radiator when we lived in Queens. Inside the gatefold, theres a lot of writing on each side, one in English and one in German. Unfortunately the English side has the most water damage and I can’t really read it. Oh well! Let’s just put the record on and listen already!
So, I don’t know anything about this band, but I do know that they’re not German, because I asked Alex, so he just has some weird German version, I guess. It looks like all the songs on this 2xLP are either from 1964 or 1965. The first song is good, and sounds like typical rock and roll from the 1960s if not a little more on the garage rock side. Some harmonizing, lots of “baby’s” and heavy on the organ. The front cover is a bunch of baby faced white dudes with similar haircuts, that are actually a little Justin Beiber-ish, especially the guy in the purple shirt. Everyone is wearing a tie or a jacket except for the doofus in the front wearing a sweatshirt with a smiley face on it. Wonder what that’s about.
The second song is called “House of the Rising Sun”, and I totally know this song! I don’t think I ever pictured 5 babyfaced white dudes playing it before now though. This is a pretty good song, but it’s a little slow. I feel like it would work in some movies though, like while someone was murdering someone or something like that. Has Quentin Tarantino used this song in his movies before? Okay, I take back it being slow once you get to the intense organ solo. That part kind of makes you want to learn how to play the organ. This is a pretty good song, I get why it’s so famous. The Animals did not write it. In fact, they barely wrote any songs on this album and the ones they did write aren’t that good, like the song “The Story of Bo Didley.” (Although the youtube comments about it are surprisingly really enthusiastic and positive.)
The next song is a John Lee Hooker cover and it makes you want to twist and shout, if you know what I mean. I think this is a pretty good, “white guys singing the blues” song, and would definitely be something good to put on during your birthday party or something like that- now I’ll know for the future! I’m noticing though that while all these covers are good, the originals are all better, in my opinion. Especially the Sam Cooke songs. I don’t really need to hear anyone else singing “Bring It On Home To Me,” when Sam Cooke does such a good job, unless you’re my friend and do a really good Sam Cooke impersonation during Karaoke. Then I definitely want to hear that.
Side two of Alex’s album is SUPER scratchy and pretty distracting to listen to I’m kind of ready for it to be over.
Alright, on to the second LP. I just asked Alex what “LP” stands for and he said, “long play,” which is totally dumb. Then he said that what’s even dumber is that short records are called “EP’s” which stands for “extended play.” Agreed, that’s just confusing. His theory is that they’re extended singles or something like that. Still dumb though. The sound quality of side 3 is much better, the first song is just like a classic blues song and makes you want to tap your feet, but again, there doesn’t really feel like there’s anything exceptional about this cover of “Dimples” by John Lee Hooker. I’d just rather listen to a John Lee Hooker album! The concept of this album is weird to me, it’s like if a lesser known pop star put out a really long album of Beyonce and Rhianna and Katy Perry covers or something like that. I can’t see people doing something like that today.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’d still put this on during a birthday party, because the variety is good and I like it, although I’d skip side two because it is too damn scratchy.
One more side to go! The thing about these songs that I guess I’m just realizing is that a lot of people covered them. For example the song “The Right Time,” is on here, which I’ve always known as a Ray Charles song, but it’s credited to “Herman,” which apparently refers to Woody Herman, whom I’ve never heard of. I guess The Animals, just like Ray Charles thought their version of the cover would be the memorable one, but let’s put it this way, Rudy Huxtable was never going to lip sync to The Animals, and you probably shouldn’t either.
I just realized that the stairs in our house have the same little stage area, so if that isn’t a reason to have five children, I don’t know what is. Also, per usual, Denise’s outfit knocks it out of the park while Vanessa’s leaves much to be desired.
Bottom line: I wish this album was a compilation of the original songs. Alex told me his theory of why this was done a lot back then was because it was a “safe” way for white people to listen to black people’s music, and I think that’s a valid point and probably true. But all in all, it’s not too bad of a way to listen to a lot of classic hits.