Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MONSTER MASH - Zacherley

YEAR: 1962

LABEL: Cameo-Parkway

TRACK LISTING: Monster Mash, Hurry Bury Baby, Let's Twist Again (Mummy Time Is Here), I'm the Ghoul from Wolverton Mountain, Gravy (With Cyanide), Popeye (The Gravedigger), Limb From Limbo Rock, Weird Watusi, Pistol Stomp, Dinner With Drac Part 1, The Ha-Ha-Ha, The Bat

BONUS TRACKS: There are no "bonus tracks" as such on such an old album HOWEVER the 2010 Collectors' Choice Music reissue combines this album with the Cool Ghoul's 1963 LP SCARY TALES which will be posted separately.

IMPRESSIONS: OK so this is the OTHER best album of all time. When I was a kid, my mother had regaled me with tales of having seen Zacherley (or Roland as he was called then) on Philadelphia TV back in the late 1950's. He was a legendary figure in my mind so you can imagine my delight when visiting my father I discovered the MONSTER MASH album among the albums down in his bar. I "liberated" it then and there and have had it ever since. Oddly the copy of the album I grew up with was missing two tracks (I'M THE GHOUL FROM WOLVERTON MOUNTAIN and LIMB FROM LIMBO ROCK). I assume it was a later reissue which (for some reason) removed two songs from the record probably for playing time. Who knows why. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that I found a complete earlier pressing at one of those used record collector "conventions" they used to have periodically at local malls. It's almost impossible to relate the feeling I get when I hear this album: intense childhood nostalgia combined with the warmest, coziest feelings of Halloween. Truly one of my favourite albums of all time and truly each and every song is my favourite. But if pressed...

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Monster Mash, Hurry Bury Baby, Let's Twist Again (Mummy Time Is Here), Gravy (With Cyanide), Popeye (The Gravedigger), Weird Watusi

GUEST ARTISTS: The Dreamlovers, The Orlons and The Cameos all perform backup vocals since the songs used the actual music tracks (sans vocals) of current Cameo-Parkway hit singles (see below).

FACT SHEET: MONSTER MASH was Zacherley's first album. John Zacherle began his horror host career on Philadelphia's WCAU-TV as Roland (pronounced Ro-LAND thank you very much). After gaining nationwide attention, the Cool Ghoul moved to the larger New York market and changed his name to Zacherley. His first Cameo release was the hit single 45 "Dinner With Drac" in 1958 which rocketed to #6 on the Billboard charts. His huge success as a TV horror host led to a series of albums. All the songs on MONSTER MASH (with the exception of the title track) were actual the music-only tracks of Cameo-Parkway hit singles which Zacherley sang overtop of (bad sentence structure...bad me!). The backing tracks for the Dovell's "Hully Gully Baby" and "The Bristol Stomp" fitted HURRY BURY BABY and THE PISTOL STOMP. Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again", "Popeye the Hitchhiker", "Limbo Rock" and "The Twist" served to provide the music track for LET'S TWIST AGAIN (MUMMY TIME IS HERE), POPEYE (THE GRAVEDIGGER), LIMB FROM LIMBO ROCK and THE BAT. Jo Ann Campbell's "(I'm the Girl On) Wolverton Mountain morphed in Zacherley's THE GHOUL, Dee Dee Sharp's follow-up "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" turned into GRAVY (With Cyanide), "The Wah Watusi" by the Orlons became WEIRD WATUSI, and Bobby Rydell's "The Cha Cha Cha" became the backing track for THE HA-HA-HA. Now in his 90s, Zacherley still performs the song "Monster Mash" live on stage with the Dead Elvi at every Chiller Theater Convention.

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