The Detergents

The Many Faces of the Detergents

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As good a parody as "Leader of the Laundromat" was, it wasn't the kind of hit upon which a career could be built. That hit was there to be milked, though, so the Detergents quickly got an album into the market, leading off with "Leader of the Laundromat" of course. Even by the standards of quickie exploitation albums, though, it's disappointing, consisting of fairly lame takeoffs on early- to mid-'60s hits and novelty songs. So "Mrs. Jones ('Ow About It)" is a satire of Herman's Hermits' "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter"; "Soldier Girl" of "Soldier Boy"; "The Little Old Doctor from Ipanema" of both "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "The Girl from Ipanema"; and so on. There's an odd laugh now and then, but the humor's usually strained and dated, and there are way too many not-too-inside references back to "Leader of the Laundromat" (particularly the punchline "who's that banging on the piano? I dunno..."). In the midst of this is an odd instrumental send-up of "The Pink Panther" theme, titled "The Blue Kangaroo." The songwriters-producers behind the Detergents (Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss) obviously had some smarts and wit, but as for making a viable, innovative career out of this satirical approach...well, that's the difference between the Detergents and Frank Zappa, who took this kind of wise-ass mockery of pop clich├ęs to a much higher level. Unfortunately, this CD reissue doesn't add on any of their non-LP singles, which included "Double-O-Seven" and "I Can Never Eat at Home Anymore."

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