Tapdancin' Bats

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This is without question one of the 'Q's [read: NRBQ's] best compilations -- displaying many facets of the band's instrumental agility and uncanny sonic reinventions. Chronologically, Tapdancin' Bats represents the quartet during the mid- to late '70s. However, a number of the tunes -- most notably "Ain't It Alright" and "Trouble at the Henhouse" -- date as far back as 1972's Scraps album, which was the first to feature "Big" Al Anderson (guitar). The disc also represents the final chapter in their association with the Bearsville record label -- which was owned and administered by Albert Grossman (of Bob Dylan fame). Regarding the talents and musical interests of the band itself, the album's contents run the full gamut of pop music -- making pit stops into avant-garde jazz ("Tapdancin' Bats") and even classical ("Capriccio") along the way. However, it is their undeniable sense of humor and meticulously crafted straight-ahead pop and rock songs that comprise the vast majority of this title. Several of the more notable tracks include the duet between Joey Spampinato (bass/vocals) and the self-proclaimed guiding light of professional wrestling, "Captain" Lou Albano, on the tune "Captain Lou." Likewise, Albano contributes vocals to "Boardin' House Pie." The two tracks represent the respective A and B sides of their difficult to locate and long out of print 45 rpm single that Albano original sold at his matches. There are also a few solid rockers, such as "Ain't It All Right" and "You Got It" -- the latter of which features Anderson on vocals. Fans of '50s television pioneer Ernie Kovacs will undoubtedly remember "Rats in My Room" -- which was one of the oddities featured on his program. Here, the 'Q give the song almost a ragtime feel. The title track and "Come on and Ride" feature Terry Adams (keyboards/vocals) at his far-out jazzy best. His portable keyboard experiments are right out of Sun Ra. While not a perfect primer, Tapdancin' Bats is indeed a batch of fun for the initiated.

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