These reviews are written and posted to rec.music.dementia as a service to those who do not have the reviewed recordings, as a means to acquaint those readers with the recorded material and the artists. Any quoted lyrics are included solely for enhancement, copyrights remain with the original owners, I make no claims. I am not affiliated with The Dr Demento Show, On The Radio Productions, etc. (except like, I was in the, like, Funny Five or something...uh huh huh huh)
Barnes & Barnes
Oglio Records OGL 81593-2 (1996)
Please Please Me - Boogie Woogie Amputee - Gumby Jaws Lament - de Pumped Out Blues - Clip Clop (Ode to Equus) - I Hope She Dies - Party In My Pants - Fish Heads - Sewey Hole - The Lumanian Love Song - Cemetery Girls - Something's in the Bag - Linoleum - When You Die --- (bonus tracks:) The Vomit Song - Boogie Woogie Amputee (early version) - High School Gym - Three Drunk Newts - Voyeur - Cruising Through Westwood - Neanderthal Love - Please Squeeze My Knees Louise - I Love You Baby
I received an advance copy of this CD from a source close to the project (ain't tellin' who), for which I give public thanks...First off, the packaging is first rate. Original cover art is faithfully reproduced, colors transferred well. The booklet has other photos of B&B from different eras, including a great shot of a young Artie & Art circa 1972!!! (This photo also appears on the disc itself!) Plus it is jammmm-packed with informative and very entertaining liner notes written by Art himself! (and edited by Artie I should add...) Add to this the bonus tracks and you have a reissue done the way it should be, something that domestically-speaking, only the Capitol Collectors Series and select others have been able to do. A very nice job all around.
Unlike my other reviews I will skim the highlights of the previously released material here and delve a bit into the treasure trove of B&B "unissued"...Art covers everything very nicely in the liner notes, thank you.....You can get the lyrics for the original release off the website as well.
First off, the digital transfer from the original masters was very ably handled by Artie himself. Hey, who better to translate the Lumanian vibrations than a native Lumanian??? Right out of the gate I noticed various percussion thingies, usually shakers or tambourines, that never came across on vinyl (or at least not on my cheezoid stereo-at-the-time!) Naturally there's a bit o' hiss, but that is to be expected, when you consider that all that existed in Lumania at that time was semi-pro recording equipment, and to make the necessary vibrations, Art & Artie were forced to "bounce" tracks to make the two of them sound like six or eight or more...The sound is fatter, especially on the low end, plus certain synth bass sounds have a "dzztt" that also did not come across on the original vinyl. There's also a nice homogenous feel to it, perhaps the original mixes were run thru a certain compression unit or reverb program, just a very comfortable wash...
Check Artie's vocal (again, if you already have) on Please Please Me, great combination of angry and cartoony, especially on the last verse. Boogie Woogie Amputee is presented here in the mix originally issued on Zabagabee, a later mix than the original vinyl Voobaha. Down hetta hetta!! Gumby Jaws Lament features accordion from "Weird Al" Yankovic and a laryngitic Art doing the recitation of a very pathetic character ("I watched a lot of television, especially the game shows....I can tell you the cost of about anything between 1966 and 1969.") de Pumped Out Blues seems to kick extremely hard on this release!, Artie did indeed pump it up evidently...Clip Clop is just such a FUN tune, and very interesting chord changes, taking dementia into a new realm of musical credibility. Lines like "We take hula dancing class/Horsey wears a skirt of grass/I'm so glad that he's my friend/Eenie meenie miney mo YEAH" prove that B&B take themselves just seriously enough, but not too much. Check the bubbly underwater keys on the second verse and the swirly keys on the interludes!, also some neat stereo panning.
I Hope She Dies contains a great Benny Bell surprise lyric a la "Shaving Cream", check the lyric file to find out! Great spoken part by Artie ("She fulfilled my every fantasy! Even the one about...Jell-O!"). Party In My Pants returns to its original ending, after the "Party Mix" issued as the B-side of the "Love Tap" 45 and the edited ending on Zabagabee...it's Art & Artie planning for their upcoming party and going over the guest list! Who *are* Mook and Beanhead anyway???? Chop! The chorus vocals have a nice sheen on 'em this time around...
Probably the main reason we're all here, Fish Heads remains the #1 most requested song in the history of the Dr. Demento Show. The Great Newts of Lumania join Art & Artie of course. YEAH. Sewey Hole is a raved-up stomper, great great vocals that are demented in every sense of the word, gotta hear it...The Lumanian Love Song is a wonderful production; despite not having any drums or drum machine, it moves along quite nicely, tasteful use of electronic processing particularly on Art's acoustic guitar, and Artie's Arp lends the right other-worldly feel to it. This musical setting and the line "Ripping at your little panties" are a great thematic contrast. Cemetery Girls is also returned to its original version after some variations on various other releases including Zabagabee. It didn't occur to me until a few years ago regarding the Twilight soundbites used in the song and their juxtaposition to Art's alter ego (like, uh-Duh)...Artie's vocal delivering the macabre subject matter is positively chilling.
Something's In The Bag was their second 45 on the Lumania label (Boogie Woogie Amputee was the flip), follows Cemetery Girls in horror/sci-fi content as well as running order, and in some ways if ya think about it, it's kind of like Phil Harris' "The Thing" right??? Art sez he did the recitation in one take, no mean feat, like trying to sing a verse of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in one breath...Linoleum is sort of The Gospel According to Barnes & Barnes, sounds simple enough. We are all perpetually seeking fulfillment, be it inner peace or "an attractive person of the opposite sex to get naked with", and these things are not always easy to find, so as an alternative, Barnes & Barnes offer Linoleum! Linseed oil solidified by oxidation. Finally tying it all together, When you Die offers a simple solution to the life/death question: "When you die, you stop drinking beer/When you die, you stop being here"...Need they say more? This was rerecorded in a slightly extended version for Zabagabee, the original is presented here. And here ends the original Voobaha LP.
The long-sought-after original version of The Vomit Song begins the bonus tracks section, the tracks included having been recorded between 1978 and 1980. Art & Artie sing and hurl together on this one with full rhythm backing, including a hilarious musical reference to the 1960's hit "Wishin' and Hopin'" ...very loose vocal performance but what the heck right?!?! A more subdued Boogie Woogie Amputee follows in an earlier version, again some loose vocals...this version has a more homogenous mix than the Voobaha version, closer and with less reverb. Treasure time again on High School Gym, the flip side of the "Fish Heads" 45. SuLu guests on this and does a great job...another fun tune, quite cartoony again. Three Drunk Newts was originally released on Dr. Demento's Dementia Royale and is supposedly the reason Art and Artie were banished from Lumania (for those just tuning in, Lumania exists in an alter-dimension on the continents now known as Africa and Australia, and Art & Artie would travel there by sound waves to be put into deep trances by the ruling Newts to record their music.), thing is, why would the Newts sing on this tune if they were so offended??? Neat banjo doing a pseudo-raga at the end.
Voyeur is a twisted blues shuffle of sorts. Strangely it reminds me of 10cc, particularly the melody and the vocal delivery, kinda like Eric Stewart on "You've Got a Cold". Good full sound, guitar-driven with a killer bass fill by Art early on. Gotta hear the background chant under the solo...Cruising Through Westwood is a showcase for Artie's mournful vocal. Seedy subject matter dealt with via appropriate music, just Art's guitar and a bit of arp strings later. Neanderthal Love is another cartoony-fun track, it was played on Dr Demento a number of times before Voobaha was originally issued and it was one of the tunes I was clamoring for to be released, but never was....well guess I wasn't alone, because here it is! Art & Artie sing together very well on this, full analog sound and close-mixed guitars plus funny funny subject matter...who'd-a thunk it, yeah, how did they do it back then?!?!?! Art & Artie offer their theory.
Once again, the subject and the setting are totally skewed in Please Squeeze My Knees Louise, a nice major-7th Latin chugga-chugga providing the framework for such lines as "Boobies and butts drive other men nuts, but I'm a knees man". EEE-YOWWW! Art on self-described "Eeyore" vocal, and Artie and Joan Farber doing the nasty banter. I Love You Baby is an unusual and complex track, at the heart of it is a 12-bar minor blues but set over a Latin nanigo (fast 6/8) rhythm, lotsa kitchen sounds and chants in the background, and a stinging backwards Art guitar solo (Tomorrow Never Knows indeed!). A snippet of the vocal track was used as a link between tracks on their 2nd LP Spazchow. Some neat moments: under the intro they sing the standard "Just Friends" (referred to by Art as "'Friends' from the Little Rascals", fair enough..Just fa-RIENDS!!!) and in the break Artie begins "Let me tell you about this chick that dumped me" (a line from I Hope She Dies) and he is interrupted "Wrong song!". Art wonders in the liner notes if they succeeded on the track. Listen and decide for yourself, it has my vote.
When I think of how I hounded the poor guy at Record Stop in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York for 3 straight months back in 1980 ("Did Voobaha come in yet???" "No not yet"), I feel kinda guilty. Then again, good things are worth waiting for, and though it took 16 years to have it out again, it was again worth it. Luckily, unlike the subjects of most of my other reviews, you CAN get Voobaha!
Here's what Carl Caprioglio sez:
"To order send $12 to "Voobaha Internet Sale" PO Box 404 Redondo Beach CA 90277 or call 1-800-COOLCDS to order a catalog."
That price is if you do it now during August 1996. So get on the Lumanian wavelength and enjoy a classic slice of dementia and great music as well, the fantastic Barnes & Barnes' Voobaha.
Cheese to Jason Polland for the color scan of the Voobaha cover. Check his official B&B-approved website!
c 1996 Chris Mezzolesta [firstname.lastname@example.org] / Email for permission before reposting, all reposts must be intact and include copyright notice and name of original author.
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