The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company: Simon Says is the only thorough CD compilation available domestically -- although their first four long-players have been issued on compact disc in either Japan or Europe. The appeal of the 1910 Fruitgum Company lies primarily in their effective ability to marry undemanding rhythms to equally puerile premises -- as evidenced in their Top Five hits "Simon Says," "1, 2, 3, Red Light," and "Indian Giver." There were many configurations of musicians under the 1910 Fruitgum Company moniker. The band actually began as a discovery by bubblegum pop music moguls Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz of a Central Ohio group named Jeckell & the Hydes. Before one can say "Bazooka Joe," Kasenetz and Katz had again struck gold, issuing their first farfisa-driven hit, "Simon Says," in late 1967. While the band might have been marketed primarily toward a grade-school audience, their sly and otherwise innocuous lyrical double entendre gave their older brothers and sisters something else to think about. Musically, 1910's churning beat-laden rhythms accompanied by the undeniably catchy abandon of Mark Gutowski's lead vocals gave the band a feel of prepubescent garage pop. As was often the case at the time, actual membership within the group fluctuated wildly. Initial recordings did, however, feature members of Jeckell & the Hydes with professional studio musicians augmenting when necessary. By the time of their fifth release, Hard Ride, there was an entirely different set of musicians behind the microphones. The only personnel to remain were creators Kasenetz and Katz. In addition to the hits The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company: Simon Says features, it also includes tracks from the not-as-successful incarnations of the band -- including the ersatz heavy metal/psychedelic "The Train" from Hard Ride.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer