The Squirrels

Get Down With the New Age Urban Squirrels

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First in a series of archival releases from the scattered vaults and oddities of Rob Morgan and his bandmates over the years, Get Down, also known as Live Bootleg, Vol. 1, is a ridiculously funny treat and a half. While Morgan himself downplays everything throughout the liner notes -- and once or twice he does have a point when it comes to recording fidelity and cohesive performances -- Get Down lives up to the Squirrels' philosophy. As Morgan himself puts it during the radio station interview interspersed throughout, "What the Squirrels basically do is they fix defective music, and they take good music and wreck it!" The interview, done in September 1985 to play up an upcoming date, is a merrily ridiculous situation, with Disney songs cropping up throughout the background and Morgan and bandmates generally acting goofy and sharing out odd stories. (In an amusing note, the interviewer himself is future Sub Pop supremo Jonathan Poneman.) As for all the various live cuts, the first batch comes from 1984 and 1985 dates when the group went by its New Age Urban Squirrels identity, while the remaining tracks surfaced from a 1989 reunion show. Familiar romps through the likes of "Amos Moses" and "Spirit in the Sky" rub up against other less well-known demolitions, the most hilarious of which is the Billy Joel-baiting "Just the Way You Are," which transforms the odious number into a tribute to the Who. The version of the Bee Gees' "Got to Get a Message to You," meanwhile, could probably be used to stun annoying neighbors within about ten seconds -- Eric Erickson's guitar solo needs to be heard to be believed. Some odd studio cuts turn up near the end, including a joke studio mix of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Get Down" done by Erickson and Conrad Uno specifically to freak out Morgan. A great mini-magazine with full track details, archival photos, and nutty stories is the actual CD package itself, an extra bonus of nuttiness.

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