Various Artists

Monster Bop

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The German Buffalo Bop label has released two collections of '50s and '60s vintage monster rock & roll songs: Horror Hop and Monster Bop. Going by the catalog numbers, Monster Bop came first and is hands-down the best of the two for quality of material and strict adherence to the Halloween theme. The compiler seemed to run out of material for Horror Hop and was forced to fill out the collection with songs about space and the jungle, but Monster Bop is packed wall to wall with B-movie imagery of monsters, graveyards, black cats, and such. Like all of Buffalo Bop's questionably legal compilations, the recordings were mastered from vinyl "to maintain the real 50's blast," and most of the artists are unknowns who appeared on independent or vanity labels. There are exceptions: Bert Convy, future actor and former member of the Cheers, contributes two of the best cuts, "The Gorilla" and "The Monster Hop"; "Caveman" is an early recording by Tommy Roe; Jackie Morningstar's "Rockin' in the Graveyard" and the Hollywood Flames' "Frankenstein's Den" have been reissued on legitimate compilations; and the Ivan who sings "Frankie Frankenstein" is actually the Crickets' Jerry Allison. In terms of quantity and quality, Monster Bop is possibly the best collection of Halloween novelty songs yet assembled, even though it has none of the most famous ones.

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