Thursday, October 13, 2011

THE ORIGINAL MONSTER MASH - Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

YEAR: 1962

LABEL: Garpax/London/Deram

TRACK LISTING: Monster Mash, Rabian - The Fiendage Idol, Blood Bank Blues, Graveyard Shift, Skully Gully, Wolfbane, Monster Minuet, Transylvania Twist, Sinister Stomp, Me and My Mummy, Monster Motion, Monster Mash Party, Irresistible Igor, Bella's Bash, Let's Fly Away

BONUS TRACKS: Monster's Holiday

IMPRESSIONS: The song "Monster Mash" looms large amongst any conversation about Halloween music. Halloween probably wouldn't be Halloween without it and the song is in fact strong enough not to suffer from over-play. However, the album itself is cute but a rather anemic affair (especially when compared to Zacherley's MONSTER MASH album which is much stronger). "Sinister Stomp" is actually almost the exact same music as "Monster Mash" while several of the other songs are muted parodies of then-current dance crazes like "the Mashed Potato" that are nowhere near as successful as Zacherley's (owing to the fact all of the Cool Ghoul's songs on his album use the exact same musical track recordings as the original hits). The songs on Pickett's albums which actually work the best are the non-singing ones ("Bella's Bash", "Monster Minuet") which rely on more sketch-comedy antics and Pickett's patented Karloff and Lugosi impressions. The album may be a tad weak but it's still worth a listen or two around Halloween.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Monster Mash, Blood Bank Blues, Wolfbane, Monster Minuet, Me and My Mummy, Monster Mash Party, Irresistible Igor, Bella's Bash, Monster's Holiday


FACT SHEET: MONSTER MASH is Bobby "Boris" Pickett's first album deriving from the success of the single "Monster Mash" which went to number one on the Billboard charts in 1962. While singing with a band called The Cordials, Pickett offhandedly performed a version of the Diamonds' song "Little Darlin'" in a Boris Karloff voice. The audience loved it and bandmate Lenny Caprizzi urged Pickett to do something with the idea. Pickett and Caprizzi wrote the song "Monster Mash"and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, Johnny McCrae, Rickie Page and Terry Berg as the Crypt-Kickers. Another member of the Crypt-Kickers was Leon Russell but he arrived late for the recording session and only appears on the b-side "Monster Mash Party". After the success of the single, an album was built around the song with Pickett doing his Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi impressions. There are scores of cover versions of the song "Monster Mash" from Zacherley, the Bonzo Dog Band, Andrew Gold, the Dead Elvi, the Misfits and even Vincent Price; however the song "Monster's Holiday" was also covered by Lon Chaney Jr.! "Rabian-The Fiendage Idol" is a parody of then-current teenybopper fave Fabian while "Let's Fly Away" is a parody of a parody: Stan Freberg's "John and Marsha" sketch.

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