The Masked Marauders

The Complete Deity Recordings

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While the Masked Marauders were not a novelty band per se, they were indeed a fabrication of music-industry insiders who decided to see how far they could take a practical joke. The Complete Deity Recordings gathers the nine tracks from the band's self-titled debut long-player, as well as the mono versions of "Cow Pie" and "I Can't Get No Nookie" as used on the 45 rpm. The hoax commenced with a fake album review by Greil Marcus under the pseudonym of T.M. Christian. The review -- which ran in Rolling Stone magazine -- purported these Marauders were in actuality a supergroup consisting of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, and produced by Al Kooper. Taking the gag a step further was the very real Berkeley-based Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band -- who were friends of Marcus -- as well as Vic Smith and Anna Rizzo. The congregation gathered in a makeshift garage studio under the auspices of recording songs to image the tracks depicted in the review. Once recorded, an album was constructed and issued on Deity Records -- a vanity label concocted as part of the prank. Quite frankly, the Masked Marauders do not have that much to offer musically. There is certainly no new ground being broken, provoking the following comment from Masked Marauder keyboardist/backing vocalist Langdon Winner: "I don't know how anybody thought that anything that incompetent could have come from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan." The doo wop cover songs "Duke of Earl," "I Am the Japanese Sandman," and "Book of Love" are reminiscent of the caliber of performances at a typical junior high school prom -- exceedingly loose and awkward while attempting the unattainable. Slightly better are original tracks which are designed to highlight various vocal and performance styles. "I Can't Get No Nookie" is a passable rendering of Mick Jagger's vocal technique coupled with the Rolling Stones' instrumental "2120 South Michigan Avenue." "Cow Pie" is likewise an attempt to create a Bob Dylan and Nashville Skyline outtake. If a silver lining exists, it is the extended "Season of the Witch," which has enough '60s garage attitude to garner repeat listens.

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