Trade Mark of Quality

The Pooh Sticks

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Trade Mark of Quality Review

by Stewart Mason

The Pooh Sticks were nothing but a series of jokes, but some jokes are funnier than others. Everything about this bootleg-feel (but officially sanctioned by Fierce Records owner Steve Gregory, the Pooh Sticks' not-quite-behind-the-scenes Svengali) live recording is dead-on, from the deliberately amateurish cover art to the album title, a winking nod to the premier bootleg label of the '70s; it's intended to make the album feel like something sold under the counter or at trade fairs. Unfortunately, this plodding live set makes that dangerous slip from willful amateurishness to bored incompetence. Despite frontman Hue Williams' game showmanship, the band is loose and sloppy, and the songs just sort of peter out more than they come to an end. This is the sort of thing usually labeled "for fans only," but even fans should stick with the much better live album, Orgasm. The CD version adds three extra tracks from a contemporaneous single, including a rough-and-ready version of the Vaselines' "Dying for It" that has all the charm the album proper lacks.

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