Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Champs: 3/4 Mash/Mr. Cool (Challenge 9180)

Now, we all know The Champs will always be remembered for "Tequilla," right? Well, the story didn't end there. Like countless others, they never quite matched that smash, but they were in there trying. As late as 1963, they recorded (to my ears, anyway) one of the very best instrumentals ever, "3/4 Mash."

But first, we must briefly discuss "Mr. Cool." It's a pretty typical rocker for these guys and it has a sort of Spanish flavor to it with its guitar riff and "la la la la la" vocals. It kind of strikes me as something Lawrence Welk would've done if he were leading a rock band. Yes, it's mediocre. The drums are pretty loud, though.

Now, for the real meat. "3/4 Mash" starts off with a low, grumbling voice announcing its title. And then, the waltz-time beat kicks in with a sleazy guitar and pounding bass moving up and down the scale and back. Next, the saxes blast their way in and with that, the cast is set. It's a two-and-a-half minute film noirish romp through dark backalleys and disreputable strip clubs where anything can happen and does. Plus, this thing is LOUD! You can almost imagine sirens off in the distance as the bullets fly.

Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but when an instrumental is this good, sometimes it can arouse images in your head. One can imagine this on one of those "Las Vegas Grind" comps, or maybe the soundtrack for a black & white B movie about some down-on-his-luck heel on the run from the mob. That's how good this one is, friends. It's definitely one of my personal faves and I think I've almost worn out my copy. But life can be that way, y'know?


keaneyes said...

I think Mr Cool is the a-side.
And this fab b-side is the band having fun with the Mashed Potato/Hully Gully beat, but in 3/4 time.

Troy McClure said...

I agree with you Brian: it's a great tune! 3/4 rhythms are not so often exploited in rock'n'roll

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