The Trashmen

Teen Trot

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It was Sunday night in western Wisconsin, and the 1965 Pierce County Fair was in full swing, so where else would America's greatest landlocked surf band be but entertaining 700 teenagers who had paid the princely sum of $1.50 to celebrate with some high-quality live music? This county fair gig was doubtless a typical show for the Trashmen, but unlike most of their appearances, someone with a decent quality tape machine (and some knowledge of how it worked) was on hand, and Teen Trot, recorded live in Ellsworth, Wisconsin on August 22, 1965, delivers 73 minutes of Minnesota's finest hard at work. Teen Trot is a shade more sedate than one might expect from the Trashmen; with the exception of "Surfin' Bird," their set consists entirely of covers, most reasonably familiar, and playing on a Sunday evening with parents and civic leaders on hand, the show rarely rises to the full mania one might hope for. But despite these drawbacks, the Trashmen sound tight and emphatic all night long (this disc was edited from three 40-minute sets the group played that evening), and the guitar interplay between Tony Andreason and Dal Winslow is terrific, with the band winding its way through surf classics like "Let's Go Trippin'," "Kuk," and "Baja" like the Dick Dales of the Midwest, and filtering "Green Onions," "Rumble," and "Susie Q" though plenty of twang and reverb. The Trashmen certainly crank up the goofy factor on their versions of "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" and "Drive-In," they sound pretty lascivious on "Lovin' Up a Storm" for a show taking place on the Sabbath, and "Surfin' Bird," of course, is a glorious call to the Id and the band has a ball with it. The fidelity of the recording is surprisingly clean and well balanced, and the liner notes from Ron Thums tell the story of this night in the band's life very well. Maybe Teen Trot isn't quite the Trashmen live album you've dreamed of, but it's an extremely entertaining addition to their catalog that could very well kick off more parties close to 50 years after the tape rolled.

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