Oldies but Goodies – Review

Oldies But Goodies

(Negative Progression)
by Scott Hefflon

Two of the main types of punk comps are cover/tribute/theme comps and the typical “if I can get five or six good bands, people’ll buy this comp with all my friends’ unknown bands on it.” Oldies But Goodies is both, but for the most part, I don’t mind. It has the not-glossy, not-shitty production that is where punk oughtta be these days. And while many of the covers merely speed up an already great song and add a few snarls, looping harmonies, and group yells, this comes closer than practically anything else. It ain’t on par with Before You Were Punk (on Vagrant which, ironically, is distributing Oldies But Goodies) or Mëtal Rüles (Smart, see elsewhere this issue), but what is? Oldies But Goodies is also kind enough to include photos, logos, and addresses for all the bands involved, as well as listing who each song was made famous by. Opening with “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” by Cooter, followed “Johnny B. Goode” by 5-Driver, it took ’til “My Boyfriend’s Back” by Bracket (and, from the sounds of it, Dance Hall Crashers) and “Mr. Sandman” by GOB (complete with snoring sounds and closing with the riffs from Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”) to really hit the mark. And while MxPx don’t really do anything except layer more sweet harmonies and swing on “Blue Moon,” it’s still a damn good track. In contrast, Lounge‘s “Be My Bab zzy” is so freakin’ fast, it misses all the nuances of the vocal trading and longing of the original. Nice, but coulda been better. Face to Face stop by for “I Gotta Know,” but without Elvis’ presence, the song is just a song. And that says a lot. Latex Generation‘s “Runaround Sue” has the “Welllll…” launchings and all the bluster and roar of punk, but this song shoulda been covered by a hiccuping rockabilly band. It just screams for it, doesn’t it? Mr. Prolific, Bil McRackin covers “Oh Boy,” and does a damn swell job, Canadian accent and all. Cool. The clucking intro (and Girls, Girls, Girls motorcycles revving) of Good Riddance‘s “Leader of the Pack” is pretty cool, but I still like Twisted Sister’s version better. (Not really, I just wanted to make sure you were still reading.) Another Joe‘s “Da Doo Run Run” is so fun, so silly, so dorky, I’ll overlook the fact that they miss a shitload of notes on the “YEAH!”s and the singer kinda sounds like a cock rock wanker in a shithole bar somewhere. Oh hell, I like it. It’s goofy and a great song to begin with. And now we come to the part of our program where we fill space: Bounder‘s “Kalamazoo,” Lipmonger‘s “Wonderful World,” Sumo Grimace‘s “Book of Love,” and Grieving Eucalyptus‘ “Bee-Bop-A-Lula” are unnecessary covers I’ll never listen to again. Automatic 7‘s cover of “Sweet Little Rock-n-Roller” is so impressively true to form with its pace, its piano, its production and tones, I’m hesitant to say it doesn’t step up and introduce itself enough. Great reproduction, though. All in all, a really good comp, filled with fun, memories, and reminders to check out new bands and stock up on old vinyl.

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