Dukes of Hamburg

Some Folks

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Not since the Mummies has a garage rock revival group come up with a good costuming gimmick like the Dukes of Hamburg's Round Table shtick. (Really, the Hives and their natty little matching suits and ties? Oh, please.) Unsurprisingly, the Dukes of Hamburg are led by ex-Mummies guitarist Russell Quan, and 2002's Some Folks has all the snotty charm of the Mummies' best work, with the additional fillip of Quan's classic garage rock voice. Like seemingly thousands of American teenagers of the '60s, Quan seems to be deliberately aping the vocal inflections of the young Mick Jagger, making him an aging Asian guy from San Francisco imitating a young suburban American kid imitating a young suburban English kid imitating a middle-aged black man from the south side of Chicago. Clearly, new rules of "authenticity" apply here. What's most interesting about the album's collection of covers is that the 14 tracks venture far afield from the garage rock canon: Instead of "Pushin' Too Hard" and "Louie Louie," Quan and crew essay oddball fare like "Greensleeves," "Old MacDonald," and the Lonnie Donegan skiffle tune "Mercy, Mercy," all of them given a Kingsmen-like frat party punch. Surprisingly enough, the combination works; the old Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg standard "Green Eyed Woman" sounds just right next to the umpteenth version of "Hey Joe." Some Folks is probably strictly for garage rock fans, but it's pretty swell.

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