Dot Wiggin Band / Dorothy Wiggin

Ready! Get! Go!

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"If people called your band 'the worst band of all time' for 40 years nothing would faze you," writes Jesse Krakow in his liner notes to the first solo album from Dot Wiggin, and as lead singer and principal songwriter with the Shaggs, Wiggin knows a lot about having what could politely be called an interesting reputation for her body of work. At 21 years of age on the Shaggs' infamous debut album Philosophy of the World, Dot Wiggin sounded at once physically and emotionally awkward, but also charming and unfailingly honest about her thoughts and feelings. Over four decades later, most of that holds true on Ready! Get! Go!, the first offering from the Dot Wiggin Band; Wiggin sounds more confident with herself and comfortable with her thoughts, but she's as unfiltered as ever when it comes to expressing herself, and these songs (many written during her days with the Shaggs but never recorded) celebrate bicycles, boys, pets, and driving with the same clunky but unguarded joy that marked her work on Philosophy of the World. This time out, instead of being backed by her sisters Helen and Betty, Dot is accompanied by a team of worshipful indie rockers assembled by Krakow, and while they bring a technical skill and confidence to the performances that the Shaggs could never muster, they also follow the lead of the melodic twists and turns that dominate Wiggin's songs. Even with the band playing the right notes in tune and in time, and with keyboards, percussion, horns, and banjos livening up the arrangements, this music still sounds much like the Shaggs, more approachable but just as eccentric in its unpretentious, plainspoken way. If Dot Wiggin sounded like a naive girl singing about the world around her in 1969, at the age of 64 she sounds like life has taught her a few things, but she's still in touch with her sense of wonder, and she remains entirely and charmingly herself. The closer, a cover of the Skeeter Davis hit "The End of the World," sounds like karaoke in the best possible way -- Dot misses plenty of notes, but a lifetime of emotional ups and downs is audible in her voice, and it's fascinating to hear her quietly bare her soul to the world. The Dot Wiggin Band will never be called the worst band of all time like the Shaggs, but Ready! Get! Go! couldn't have come from anyone else, and she remains one of music's most fascinating one-offs.

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