Roger Ruskin Spear

Electric Shocks Plus

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Although Spear's 1972 solo album was reasonably witty, it often sounded like a sketchbook for Bonzo Dog Band ideas that would have been far better if they had been filled out to something more substantial, perhaps with the aid of his ex-bandmates. If you like the Bonzos a lot, you will appreciate the humor at work here, which simultaneously mocks and pays homage to music hall-type styles, irreverently mixing in modern sound effects, rock instruments, and weird tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It's best on the opening "All By Yourself in the Moonlight," where some old coot harmlessly warbling away on an old standard suffers the protracted indignity of hard rock instruments invading his tune. Also give credit to Spear for hijacking passages from Joe Meek's "Telstar" in "Patrick Moore," long before it was chic to dig Meek. The 1998 CD reissue on DJC adds four bonus tracks from the Rebel Trouser EP.

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