Claude McLin's 1963 single "Jambo" is one of the all-time great obscure (and absurd) rock & roll novelties. There are no real "words" save a jew's-harp-sounding vocal of nonsense syllables, slurs, and airplane-swooping vocalese punctuated by exhortatory shouts of "everybody," "I said," and "and then." All the while an incongruously good-natured, beyond-elementary R&B-rock organ groove à la the early Mar-Keys pushes things along in the background. It wasn't a hit, but it's pretty hilarious, and irresistibly bizarre. Or maybe it was a hit, at least on an underground level, when it was reissued on CD in 2003, as Ace decided to put it out as this CD single in 2006, backed with an instrumental version (which, to be frank, is just the backing track, and on which you hear faint traces of the lead vocal bleeding through). That instrumental version allows you to "sing" along karaoke-style if you wish, though it's doubtful anyone could pull it off nearly as well as McLin did. All good fun, but if you dig this kind of thing, you should really buy Ace's Great Googa Mooga compilation, which not only includes both these tracks, but also has 25 other early rock & roll novelties that leaned heavily on silly nonsense syllables.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger