Various Artists

Arf Arf Presents

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Arf Arf Presents is a dozen sides that executive producer Erik Lindgren cleverly put together on an LP which has for its cover a human diner waitress with a dog's nose holding a tray of biscuits. Not all of these biscuits are for everyone, but there are some gems scattered throughout the tracks. Willie "Loco" Alexander covers Little Richard's "Slippin' and Slidin'," recorded in March and April of 1988 at SMAP, the Somerville Media Access Project. This driving version is not as loud as his Boom Boom Band from ten years earlier, but it is still powerful, with saxophones from Steve Adams leading the charge and the Atlantics' Boby Bear on drums providing the beat. Alexander, a formidable producer, tracks Smack Tan Blue at Active Sound, a funky South Boston studio, then Willie Alexander takes the Boatmen all the way up to Maine to do a metallic-tinged "I Can See Clearly Now," the reggae submerged in heavy guitar and skipping drums. The music is all very localized with Lindgren, Alexander, and engineers Kim Pandapas, Chris Lannon, and Sean Slade overseeing the Boston product. The Peecocks come off like a lightweight Jayne County, with the singer's personality content to replace Buddy Holly's lyrics with an obscenity, but not delivering the way County would, right in your face. The Ski a Delics recorded live at a club called Green Street Station and should have stayed there. Five people playing "skis" to Queen's "We Will Rock You" might be funny live, but on record the joke will elude most listeners. They come off like a folk-rock version of Brian Eno's Portsmouth Sinfonia. Ed "Moose" Savage and his Siamese Triplets fare a little better, with "Worms" ending side one and "Vinyl Siding" opening side two. The Polysocialites also entertain with their "Scary" and "Man Overboard." "Scary" borders on rap and is more appealing than the Well Babys, whose "Well Baby Rap" is just a bit too much for a rock & roll recording. John Pearson's "Beautiful Dream" is a slick, melodic almost-ballad which works, while Erik Lindgren's "Another Side of Reality" from the Four Commandments is eclectic enough to reveal the executive producer's wonderfully chaotic personality. Compilations are not an easy task -- the results can be hit or miss -- but despite a couple of frivolous episodes, Arf Arf Presents gets high marks.

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