Roger Ruskin Spear

Electric Shocks

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Although Spear's solo album was reasonably witty, it often sounded like a sketchbook for Bonzo Dog Band ideas that would have been far better if they had been filled out to something more substantial, perhaps with the aid of his ex-bandmates. If you like the Bonzos a lot, you will appreciate the humor at work here, which simultaneously mocks and pays homage to music hall-type styles, irreverently mixing in modern sound effects, rock instruments, and weird tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It's best on the opening "All By Yourself in the Moonlight," where some old coot harmlessly warbling away on an old standard suffers the protracted indignity of hard-rock instruments invading his tune. Also give credit to Spear for hijacking passages from Joe Meek's "Telstar" in "Patrick Moore," long before it was chic to dig Meek. A 1998 CD reissue on DJC adds four bonus tracks from the Rebel Trouser EP.

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