One of the first releases on Otis Fodder's net-based label, Comfort Stand Recordings, Tra La La La Phooey! is a mildly bewildering compilation that covers, quite literally, the breadth of R. Stevie Moore's decades-long recording career, from a vocal performance by the nine-year-old Stevie at a session run by his Nashville studio-star father Bob Moore, and a freaky Mothers of Invention-like skewed pop song recorded in 1968 by a 16-year-old Stevie and his high school band, all the way through his years as the pioneer of the home recording underground. Moore's amazing versatility is on full display, with songs that range from the delightful Merseybeat of "You and Me," and the early synth pop of "Technical Difficulty," to more challenging exercises like the Residents-like instrumental "Cease All Relationships (Phlegm Soundtrack Excerpt)." The set also includes a few examples of Moore's unparalleled range as a cover artist, from a dead-on re-creation of Bo Diddley's "Say Man," to a sincere and delightful rendition of the Shaggs' "Philosophy of the World." There's even a collaboration with label owner Fodder on a Conlon Nancarrow-like recasting of Moore's '70s classic "I've Begun to Fall in Love." While Tra La La La Phooey! might be a little overwhelming for the complete R. Stevie Moore novice, its wild eclecticism is a valid representation of the many and varied riches awaiting.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason