Friday, July 29, 2005

Rod McKuen: Oliver Twist/Celebrity Twist (Spiral 1407)

"Hey Andy, how's about some soup?"

Before he became one of the most popular (some would say most noxious) poets of the 60s, Rod McKuen was a struggling rock 'n' roller. He had appeared in a rock movie called "Rock, Pretty Baby" and had also recorded for Brunswick a novelty called "The Mummy" under the name Gene McFadden and Dor. Now, here he is jumping on the twist bandwagon with these two sides. "Oliver Twist" is, of course, a play on the Dickens title ("You ought to see Oliver twist," get it?), while "Celebrity Twist" name drops Greta Garbo, Zsa Zsa Gabor ("Even Zsa Zsa don't need an analyst") and "every debutante on Chubby Checker's list") as among those doing the title twist. It should be noted that McKuen's vocals are not bad at all on either song. In fact, they're surprisingly gruff. And the band on both songs plays it hard and fast with barely a let-up. So while this may strike you as yet another silly twist record, don't let it. It's actually pretty good for what it is. Your move. Just remember: "You don't need pills to cure your ills at the celebrity twist."

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