Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween A Go-Go

Speaking of Halloween compilations, the always-reliable Little Steven has released a pretty cool looking Halloween compilation, Little Steven's Underground Garage Presents Halloween A Go-Go.

Our first Halloween collection finds us probing the subconscious to confront our most persistent demons on Garage Rock's favorite holiday. We are visited by some of the usual cast of characters one would expect, Dracula, the Wolfman, Ghosts, Zombies, and Witches, but are far more horrified by that which cannot be touched, controlled, bargained with, or avoided. Our own dreams. During the course of these proceedings you will find yourself dancing with the Devil, laughing in the face of the apocalypse, transported to the mystic forests of your deepest darkest secrets and insatiable lusts, and shocked by the helplessness of your own confessions of the sacred and the profane. But afterward, if you live, one fact above all will remain clear. Now you will learn why you fear the night!

It looks like a good line up of songs, and Little Steven made the inspired decision to include Roky Erickson & the Aliens' classic "I Walked With A Zombie" from Roky's first solo album, The Evil One. He could just as easily have chosen "Two Headed Dog," "I Think Of Demons," "Don't Shake Me Lucifer," "Night Of The Vampire," "Creature With The Atom Brain," or "Stand For The Fire Demon" all from the same genuinely terrifying album.

I don't really mean to quibble with Little Steven's choices (who am I to quibble with Little Steven?), and it's good to see The Stems and The Fuzztones get a nod, but this album does not look 100% complete to me without a track from the Cramps. "I Was A Teenage Werewolf, "Zombie Dance," "Human Fly," "I Ain't Nuthin' But A Gorehound," or "Surfin' Dead" would have fit in nicely.

If I were putting together a Halloween compilation, here are a few other tracks I might consider for inclusion (other than what I've already posted):

The Flaming Lips - "Halloween On The Barbary Coast," or perhaps "Unconsciously Screamin'."

- "Halloween" (face it Mudhoney's version kicks butt over Sonic Youth's original).

Robyn Hitchcock - Lots of Hitchcock's music would be appropriate for Halloween (perhaps a legacy of his name). Likely suspects include, "Eaten By Her Own Dinner," "Let There Be More Darkness," "The Pit Of Souls," "Sleeping With Your Devil Mask," "The Ghost Ship," "The Man With The Lightbulb Head," "My Wife And My Dead Wife," "Demons And Fiends" and probably about a dozen other spooky Hitchcock tracks I'm forgetting about.

Brian Eno & David Byrne - "The Jezebel Spirit" What could be spookier than a genuine exorcism set to music?

Jonathan Richman - "Vampire Girl" Not really a scary song, but I do love Jonathan.

Bo Diddley - "Bo Meets The Monster" No purple people eater is going to mess with Bo Diddley. Bo Diddley is a gunslinger.

Aimee Mann - "Frankenstein" Mann's song is too much of a brainy allegory to be frightening, but it's a good song nevertheless.

Pink Floyd - "Scream Thy Last Scream" One of Syd Barrett's last recordings with the band he founded was rejected by his bandmates as being too disturbing. It's hard to argue with that assessment; forty years later it still has the power to disturb. Despite dozens of Pink Floyd reissues, neither this song nor "Vegetable Man" has ever seen official release.

Meat Puppets
- "Attacked By Monsters" "Snakey is awakey and he wants a little piece of the pie." Lock up your daughters, this is scary stuff! "Vampires" isn't nearly as frightening, but it's a good rejoinder to anyone who claims the Meat Puppets didn't make any good music after leaving SST.

Meat Puppets
- Vampires (Live)

This one sounds good anytime of the year.

Ben Vaughn - She's A Real Scream

I make a point of re-posting this Velvet Monkeys' rarity every Halloween.

Velvet Monkeys - Spooky

Anybody have other suggestions?


Guy said...

I endorse The Cramps! "Songs The Lord Taught Us" is not only the world's greatest trick or treat record, it may or may not be the world's greatest punk rock record. Who knows?

Dig "The Mummy" by Bob McFadden And Rod McKuen. It's really funny in a Vincent Price kind of way. Later covered to excellent (and bizarre) effect by The Fall.

"I Hear Voices" and "Alligator Wine" by the late great Screamin' Jay Hawkins rattle all the bones.

Finally, "Cold Ethyl" by Alice Cooper remains crisp, cool and refreshing.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Pete Bilderback said...

Songs The Lord Taught Us might be the greatest album ever, period.

I once stood right next to Jonathan Waters at a Cramps show at Hammerjacks in Baltimore. I'm pretty sure he was checking me out.

Can't believe I forgot Screamin' Jay. That's a pretty serious oversight on may part.

Doug said...

I suppose the Misfits' "Night of the Living Dead" or "Ghouls Night Out" might fit the bill. Granted, pretty much their entire catalog is one big Halloween album.

Pete Bilderback said...

I could never get into the Misfits when I was a kid. I think this had little to do with the music they made.

The Misfits, for me, always felt like a band where to be a fan you had to sign up for a whole "lifestyle" package. It's the same reason I could never get into Bahaus, or The Grateful Dead, or hardcore in general (I did like some hardcore bands, but never got passionate about any of them).

That said, I don't doubt that a lot of The Misfits' music would work nicely on a Halloween themed compilation.

Guy said...

Being a fan of Rush seemed like a full-time job, too. At least it did in my high school.

On the haunted end of things, Creedence Clearwater Revival had some good, spooky songs - "Walk On The Water," "I Put A Spell On You," "It Came Out Of The Sky." etc.

Also, Dr. John's "Gris Gris" album is serious voodoo music.

fantom said...

Anybody else have trouble getting tracks to play through the imeem widget? I can't get a single one to roll....

Pete Bilderback said...

Hmmm. I can play them through either Firefox or Safari. Try forcing your browser to quit and then reloading. I think the player is Flash based, so you might need to have the Flash plug-in installed in your browser.

If anyone else is having trouble let me know.

Sorry for the trouble...this is a new thing I'm experimenting with.

fantom said...

You're right, Pete. A little restart did the trick