Various Artists

Horror Hop

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Sheb Wooley knew not what he had wrought when he did "Purple People Eater" -- it not only overwhelmed his country music career, but created a new subgenre of rock & roll: horror rock. There are a few familiar names here, including Wooley's alias Ben Colder. The central concept of the CD is that these are all rock & roll songs hooked around some horror (or horror-related) theme. Truth be told, "Monster Mash" is catchier than most of what's here, and a better fit. Much of what's here are curiosities -- rock & roll exploitation that might not do much more than go through the motions, albeit sometimes fairly well, as with Kip Tyler's brooding "She's My Witch," which might have made a good Gene Vincent number, and Billy Sills' cheerfully danceable "Night Mare." And some of it is just dumb, like "Foo Man Choo" by the Revels. Tommy King's "Bo Diddle in the Jungle" gets dangerously close to theft, borrowing liberally from "Diddley Daddy." "Monster Holiday" is a variant on "Monster Mash" credited to Lou Chaney, who is someone doing a decent impression of Lon Chaney, Jr. Colder's "Shudders and Screams" is more subtle in its humor and more of a country-style number, although it covers similar ground. An outfit called Tony's Monstrosities is represented, doing "Igor's Party," in what seems to be an attempted "Monster Mash." Bobby Bare's tribute to the '50s horror TV star Vampira is a lot of fun, but Smiley Smith's "Voo Doo Woman" is a better piece of rock & roll -- a fast, free-wheeling number with some diverting lead guitar. Whoever played the axe on the Frantics' "Werewolf" gets a nice, slow workout as well, and one that fans of instrumental rock will love. Billy Taylor's "Wombie Zombie" and Macey Ross' "Big Chief Buffalo Nickel" are both pretty decent rockabilly-style exploitation in the horror vein, with references to "Purple People Eater" and others. "Jungle Hop" by Kip Taylor really belongs on a Bo Diddley-style collection more than it does here.

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