Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs

The Best of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs [Karussell]

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Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs retain a raucous, off-kilter charm that reaches beyond their massive 1960s hit, "Wooly Bully." Led by keyboardist and singer Domingo Samudio, the Pharaohs throw up a unique brand of Tex-Mex and R&B that sounds like Junior Walker and Doug Sahm jamming at a frat party. This collection has the group's biggest hits ("Wooly Bully," "Lil' Red Riding Hood") as well as some rarer tracks, including a funky take on Little Willie John's "Leave My Kitten Alone," and an absolutely bizarre (and charming) song called "The Cockfight," which is essentially the autobiography of a fighting rooster. Rhino's anthology called Pharaohization, which weighs in at 24 tracks, is still the place to go for a comprehensive look at Sam the Sham's career, although casual listeners may want to opt for a shorter hits package. This compilation falls somewhere in between.

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