Saturday Morning: Cartoon’s Greatest Hits – Review

Saturday Morning: Cartoon’s Greatest Hits

by J. Lianna Ness

I’m still divided on the issue. Fads are just that – passing public interest in a particular style or thing. However, I can’t help but wax nostalgic when I hear a CD like Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits. After all, this is my childhood we’re talking about. While most of the cover versions of Saturday morning television songs are fun to listen to, personally, I prefer the originals (I know for a fact that most of them are floating around out there on miscellaneous discs, thanks to folks like TV Toons and Rhino). But the overall packaging of this disc is magnificent. The liner notes are extensive and very informative, featuring not only the background and history of each show, but photos and comments from the artists who perform the songs, as well as the lyrics (with the exception of two).

“The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)” by Liz Phair with Material Issue is a nice effort, but the Dickies already recorded the definitive version years ago. “Go Speed Racer Go” by Sponge doesn’t sound a whole lot like the original. This sounds like the Mach 5 crashing into a wall of indie pop. I’m lumping “Sugar Sugar” by Mary Lou Lord with Semisonic, and “Scooby Doo Where Are You?” by Matthew Sweet together because they sound almost identical (same notes, different arrangement), but they’re fun versions that stick pretty close to the originals. “Josie and the Pussycats” by Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donelly is way too long. The original version was only 50 seconds long; This clocks in at two minutes and 52 seconds.

“The Bugaloos” by Collective Soul is a show I don’t recall watching so I can’t tell you how faithful it is to the original, but it’s fairly peppy. “Underdog” by Butthole Surfers is a way cool quasi-surf tune that kicks butt(hole). “Gigantor” by Helmet sounds a little like Nirvana. I repeat myself, the Dickies did it better the first time around.

“Spiderman” by Ramones sounds like, well, the Ramones doing a cover of “Spiderman.” They’re masters at taking old songs, re-recording them and making them sound like one of their own. Bravo! “Johnny Quest/Stop That Pigeon” by Reverend Horton Heat is a complicated piece – six key changes in all! The Reverend himself calls it “bright, fast and zany,” and I’d have to agree with him.

“Open Up Your Heart and Let The Sun Shine In” by Frente! is a nursery rhyme-like song that would make Mother Goose smile (after all, like the song says, “Smilers never lose and frowners never win…”). Too fucking cute. “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah” by Violent Femmes is, lyrically, the easiest tune to remember so it’s sure to be the one that everyone is going to be humming. Eventually it will annoy the hell out of you, prompting you to quote George Jetson and shout “Jane, stop this crazy

“Fat Albert Theme” by Dig is brilliant and almost quasi-psychedelic. “I’m Popeye The Sailor Man” by Face to Face is something you could almost mosh to. Very heavy. It made me wanna go knock someone over. “Friends/Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” by Tripping Daisy sounds like the Beatles running into Redd Kross (by the way, it just doesn’t seem retro without Redd Kross. I’m shocked and hurt).

“Goolie Get Together” by the Toadies is catchy and loud. As our loquacious and witty Editor would say, “Rock the fuck on!” “Hong Kong Phooey” by Sublime is classy, dancehall reggae dub. “H.R. Pufnstuf” by the Murmurs makes me ponder the irony of a band whose big hit song is called “You Suck” doing a cover of a kiddie show theme song. “Happy Happy, Joy Joy” by Wax: Am I the only one who thinks they’re more annoying than fingernails scraping on a chalkboard? Cartoons just ain’t what they used to be.