The Tubes

White Punks on Dope

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This combination of the Tubes' first couple of albums really does feel like two distinct releases slapped together -- and it's the Grand Canyon-sized gap in quality that makes the demarcation about as subtle as a farting elephant hanging from a chandelier. The innovative San Francisco band's 1975 eponymous debut was, and is, a masterpiece. Creative, intelligent, sardonic, theatrical. By contrast, 1976's Young & Rich was, for the most part, uninspired, insipid, short on ideas, and lacking in color. However, it does contain the more-cheese-please, boy-girl-melodrama hit "Don't Touch Me There" -- a great track in any critic's language. And that's the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. You get one superb (remastered) re-release featuring such camp/spoof classics as "Mondo Bondage," "What Do You Want From Life," and the deliciously over-the-top title track, plus one "bonus" hit and little else. Unless you're an obsessive-completist collector, there are better ways to approach the Tubes catalog than getting weighed down with all this filler. But one way or another, you have to have the first album. Your call.

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