Liquor Giants

Something Special for the Kids

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According to the liner notes -- by Liquor Giant leader Ward Dotson, posing as Wade Jr. -- the impetus behind Something Special for the Kids can be "chalk[ed] up to self-indulgence or perhaps a hankering to bug others." Some of the obscure sides Dotson and his band cover come from a genuinely inspired place, while others were probably recorded for a lark (although he may actually tell you it was actually a sparrow...ha). The cover photo -- of a clown holding a birthday cake -- gives the impression that this isn't a collection they want you to take too seriously. "Beatles Please Come Back," for instance, harkens back to a more innocent time when one-off groups (in this case, Gigi Parker & the Lonelies) would pay tribute to the Fab Four by recording lovely little forgotten odes of praise. There are other surprises along the same lines, including Dotson's rambunctious versions of "What's New Pussycat" (Tom Jones) and David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging." Surely neither are songs you'd imagine Liquor Giants ever covering (at the time, the Matador Records website stated: "If you are wondering why this CD isn't on Matador, that's because we have a very strict policy of no David Bowie covers under any circumstances"). There are quite a few covers of tunes by old English rockers and Brit invaders: the Zombies' "Got to Get a Hold of Myself," Jeff Beck's "Tallyman" (credited to Beck, although it was written by Graham Gouldman), and "Toast and Marmalade" (aka "Toast and Marmalade for Tea"), a 1970 single from Tin Tin's first album (produced by Bee Gee Maurice Gibb). Jeff Lynne is paid tribute by the inclusion of the Idle Race's 1969 single "Days of Broken Arrows" and Dotson's version of the Move's "Fire Brigade" -- a song his Liquor Giants often played live, but had never recorded before -- is heartfelt and warmly inspired. American-bred cover songs, like New Colony Six's "Things I'd Like to Say" from Revelations and the Turtles' "Love in the City," get a fairly straight-ahead no-frills treatment. The real winners here are Dotson's covers by the ladies: "Don't Ever Leave Me" (Connie Francis) and especially Dusty Springfield's "Stay Awhile," though "I Don't Know Why," formerly waxed by an obscure Christian outfit who called themselves the Sons of Thunder, is a lot of fun.

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