Spike Jones in Hi-Fi

Spike Jones

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Spike Jones in Hi-Fi Review

by Eugene Chadbourne

This album was also identified as Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, although just saying "Spike Jones, the monster one" has always worked fastest for identification purposes. Practically every record released in the late '50s said "in hi-fi" or "in stereo" on it anyway; in fact, this album makes both claims -- the former on the front in jagged, dripping monster letters and the latter on the back cover in a slightly more normal typeface. Voiceover artist Paul Frees, known for his Dracula and Peter Lorre imitations in cartoons, joins forces with the Jones band here for one of those completely perfect collaborations. Monsters are a rich source of comedy material as well as spine tingles, and Frees adds just the right dramatic continuity to the proceedings. The tracks include much manically tossed-off silliness cooked up by Jones and his arranging buddy Carl Brandt, such as "Teenage Brain Surgeon," definitely one of the Jones band's most rocking numbers. Then there are the classic standards that can be interpreted as having monstrous overtones. For example, having the hapless Frankenstein monster sing "Everything Happens to Me" might even make a listener forget the Billie Holiday version. The jokes even extend to the liner credits, where the vocal on "My Old Flame" is credited to one "I.M. Arson." The Jones band is in rip-roaring, startling form as usual, so hang on to your seats. Because of the content and how well it is pulled off, this is definitely recomended for children, who will probably want to keep it in their rooms once they see the cover.

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