Friday, July 29, 2005

Billy Rat and the Finks: All American Boy/Little Queenie (IGL 45-100)

This one-shot from a prolific Iowa label gives us not one but two raucous covers done up crude garage-punk style. First, we have the Bobby Bare by way of Bill Parsons classic about a boy who becomes a rock & roll star only to have Uncle Sam come knockin'. In this version, it sounds like a snot-nosed brat yellin' and raisin' a ruckus after being awakened from his afternoon nap. The vocals, credited to one Wally Shoop, yelp, scream and slur as if drunk. But that's a good thing. It only adds more punk fury to the song. The band provides the rest of the sloppy fury with swirling organ and dirty fuzz guitar runs. And this time, the cat with the big cigar tells our hero he's "gonna put (me) on the Sullivan show." And he didn't forget the cadillac. That dirty fuzz is more prevalent on the Chuck Berry cover that graces Side 2, while the organ drones more than it swirls. But Shoop's vocals are even more obnoxious than ever. So wha'dya think? A joke or a work of genius. Me, I don't know about art, but I know what I like, and I like this here 2-sider a whole lot! I believe this was this group's only record, but oh, what a record it is!

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