Various Artists

Mostly Ghostly: More Horror for Halloween

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If you're looking for a non-run-of-the-mill soundtrack to your next Halloween party, this disc, and its predecessor, Ace's These Ghoulish Things: Horror Hits for Halloween, should just about tide you over the first round of trick and treat. Devoted wholly to rock/horror novelties from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s, just a couple of these 25 tracks (Jumpin' Gene Simmons' "Haunted House" and John Zacherle's "Dinner with Drac") were hits. And as a matter of fact, just a few of the other artists -- Screaming Lord Sutch, the Monotones, Bobby "Boris" Pickett (represented not by his hit "Monster Mash," but a radio plug for the single), Screamin' Jay Hawkins (of course), and (believe it or not) future country star Roy Clark -- will be familiar to the average knowledgeable rock fan. Since these are essentially novelty songs, you might not feel much like pulling them out on occasions other than Halloween, much like you only play Christmas albums at a certain time of year. The songs are longer on novelty than musical value, but if nothing else, they're entertaining relics of just how outrageously silly early rock & roll performers (and labels) would get in search of a quick hit. Some of the songs, too, are pretty strong in their own right, especially Sutch's "'Til the Following Night" (one of the best pre-Beatles rock & roll records from Britain), "Haunted House," and the Moontrekkers' instrumental "Night of the Vampire" (one of Joe Meek's best productions). It doesn't get much weirder than Gary "Spider" Webb's "The Cave, Pt. 1," consisting mostly of a boy and a girl sporadically calling out to each other in a cave as guitars twang and drums throb. Beatles' novelties, to stretch the thread more, don't get much weirder than Gene Moss & the Monsters' "I Want to Bite Your Hand," issued in the wake of the Fab Four's invasion of the U.S.. For Cramps fans, there's the original version of "The Goo Goo Muck," as first heard on Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads' 1962 single. The 20-page liner notes, as ever for Ace, have fascinating background information on the tracks and their connections to many unlikely famous performers.

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