Various Artists

Great Googly Moo and More Undisputed Truths

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The follow-up to Ace's compilation Great Googa Mooga presents 24 more nonsensical tunes from rock & roll's formative years, spanning the early '50s to the mid-'60s. Really, where else can you hear, in just one hour, titles including "Ipsy Opsie Ooh," "She Goes Oonka Chicka," "Ka Ta Ga Boom Beat," "From the Top of Your Guggle (To the Bottom of Your Zooch)," "(You Got) The Gamma Goochee," and "Shombalor"? Nonsense syllables, of course, were a big part of doo wop music, and you'll hear some doo wop tunes here, including the title track, done by the Spaniels in 1958. Yet the stylistic range is fairly broad, taking in Los Angeles R&B, frat rock, early soul, girl groups, and even surf-style music. Some of these acts would challenge the memories of even mammoth record collectors, yet others were quite well known, including the Kingsmen, the Drifters, Larry Williams, Shirley Ellis, LaVern Baker, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Perhaps the only well-known songs here are the Rivingtons' "The Bird's the Word" (the basis for the Trashmen's hit "Surfin' Bird") and Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (here represented by an alternate take). But although some of this is the sort of novelty material whose humor might wear off pretty quickly, a good number of tracks defy you not to both grin at the absurdity and bop along with the beat. "The Bird's the Word" scores high in that regard, but so do Baker's "Pig Latin Blues" (a 1952 recording with some pretty astounding nonsense scatting); the Boss-Tones' "Mope-Itty Mope," with some of the best buzzsaw, gravelly, bass vocals of any doo wop song; Pat & the Californians' "Be Billy," infectious 1964 surf-garage; the reliably strange Hawkins' tune "I Hear Voices"; and, in a kind of piece de resistance as far as made-up phrases go, Helen Humes' "Woojamacooja." Such weird recordings require explanation, which Ace gives in its typically amply annotated and illustrated liner notes.