Various Artists

He Put the Bomp! In the Bomp

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Greg Shaw wasn't a musician, but he had a greater positive impact on rock & roll than many people who've put out dozens of records. Shaw was a record collector and passionate rock & roll fan who founded one of the first rock fanzines, Mojo Navigator, that in time evolved into his magazine Bomp, which focused on the kind of real rock & roll most major magazines ignored. Shaw also wrote for other publications, worked as an A&R man for several record labels, and managed the Flamin' Groovies for a spell, and in the '70s, he put his money where his ideals were and launched his own independent label, Bomp Records, and released a steady stream of classic garage rock, punk, and power pop recordings that continues to this day. In the fall of 2004, heart failure claimed Shaw's life at the age of 55, and He Put the Bomp in the Bomp is a compilation album that pays homage to Shaw's work and his guiding influence. Since he didn't make records of his own, it isn't a tribute album in the usual sense, and it doesn't focus strictly on music that was released by Bomp over the years. Instead, He Put the Bomp features 23 acts who play the kind of raw, heartfelt, and passionate rock & roll that Shaw championed, each covering a different classic tune. Some of the combinations seem pretty obvious -- the Plimsouls grooving on the Easybeats' "Good Times" or Nikki Corvette tearing into the Pleasure Seekers' "What a Way to Die" -- while others are a bit more cryptic, such as the Morning After Girls transforming Kim Fowley's "The Trip" into a slow, narcotic drift, and the Warlocks closing the show with "Hey Man" by Spacemen 3. But the guiding principle seems to have been to get the kind of bands Greg Shaw liked and have them play songs Shaw would dig, and thankfully nearly everyone here hits that nail on the head. Nikki Sudden and Captain Sensible deliver a surprisingly effective acoustic version of Iggy Pop's "Kill City," Outrageous Cherry's cover of the Gants' "I Wonder" is simply luminous, the Black Keys transform the Cramps' "I Can't Find My Mind" into something even more messed-up than the original, "Him or Me" by the Dukes of Earl is pure frat rock bliss, and "Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog)" finds the Barracudas making the most of a great Roky Erickson tune. He Put the Bomp In the Bomp is an eclectic set that covers a fair amount of stylistic ground, but every track in one way or another speaks of a deep love for rock & roll, and it's not hard to imagine that Greg Shaw would have gotten a pretty big kick out of it.

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