'Buried Treasures' Review
Listen up Deadites! Gruesome Joe here with the latest installment of the Musical Morgue right here on Rotting Flesh Radio.
With the Midwest Haunters Convention coming up, I wanted to bring in a little bit of that ol’ nostalgic feeling… Summer is upon us, and now is the perfect time to relax, enjoy other haunter’s company, grill out, drink some beer, and have a little bit of fun. So, the album I have pulled from the vaults this week was recorded by the one and only Bobby “Boris” Pickett, and is an album of rare recordings appropriately titled Buried Treasures.
Now, most everyone knows Pickett from his incomparable hit “Monster Mash…”
(“Monster Mash” clip)
But what a lot of folks don’t know is that he recorded several other fun and obscure songs, many of which can be conveniently found on Buried Treasures. The album, as inferred by the title, lends several songs to the spooky side, but also includes several of Pickett’s other novelty and parody tracks spanning from 1963 through 2002.
Some tracks far outshine others, but for the most part, I really enjoy the kookiness of this album. Tracks like “Monster Rap,” “Me and My Mummy,” “It’s Alive,” and “Transylvania Twist” really make this album full of Halloween flavored goodness, while other tracks, such as “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” “Monster Man Jam,” and “Sky High Market” use humor to impart more serious messages.
There’s really no way to do a linear review of this album, because songs jump from genre to genre. The playlist of the album was laid out like a roulette wheel—you don’t really know where the album is going to take you next. So, as a whole, be prepared to jump around a bit if you listen to the album all in one go. However—this would be a great album to pull some songs from to throw into one of your favorite playlists or mixes, especially if you’re putting together a fun Halloween get together.
There were a few tracks on the album that I just didn’t enjoy very much. “Sky High Market” and “Star Drek” are among the top of that list. I found these tracks to be a bit annoying, so only listened through them once and knew enough was enough. I think what got me about these tracks was that Pickett was just trying too hard to be funny—which is one thing I just don’t enjoy. He came close to this again with a few of the longer narration tracks such as “Monsters on the Prairie.”
But enough about all those—let’s move on and talk about some of the tracks that I really enjoyed—the Halloween themed tracks!
Topping the list has to be track 7, “Monster Rap.” This song, very appropriately titled, was recorded in 1985, and fits in perfectly with some other songs of the time. Listening to this song made me think of the Fresh Price and his “Nightmare On My Street.” Campiness abounds, with kooky lyrics and ridiculous synthesized accompaniment. Needless to say, I enjoy this track whole-heartedly!
(“Monster Rap” clip)
Another track I enjoyed greatly was “It’s Alive,” which falls right into place within Pickett’s repertoire of Frankenstein-esque characters and scenarios. In this song, we meet his mad scientist son who has followed in his tracks, but with much more sophisticated technology. The music is bit more sophisticated than “Monster Rap,” utilizing better honed synthesizers and layering, but maintains the same funky, fun atmosphere.
(“It’s Alive” clip)
In more of a throwback to the original style of “Monster Mash,” the song “Me and My Mummy,” recorded in 1975, has a melodic du-wop style underlying the love story of a man, and his mummy. I really enjoyed the orchestration of this track—in particular the use of the saxophones and backup vocals. I also really enjoyed the simplicity of the music and the layering within the track. It made me think of an Egyptian zombie version of Grease or something…
(“Me and My Mummy” clip)
“Monster Concert” is a classic, if you’re into the old-school Halloween music—so it was very nice to hear it on the album.
(“Monster Concert” clip)
And it was nice to hear the really fun “Transylvania Twist” as mentioned by Pickett years ago in the original “Monster Mash.” The backup vocals and drawbar organ throughout the song really take it over the top.
(“Transylvania Twist” clip)
Pickett also utilized his voiceover talent and has several tracks on the album that are spoken, fully themed pieces—whether they be in a Halloween spirit, or sketch comedy. The Halloween themed pieces are my favorite obviously, “The Graveyard” being my favorite of the spoken tracks.
(“The Graveyard” clip)
The remaining tracks on the album are either mini sketch comedies or novelty or parody songs aimed at different themes. “The Humpty Dumpty” is a crazy song about none other than Humpty Dumpty, the track “King Kong (Your Song)” is similar—it’s about King Kong. These tracks aren’t my favorite, but are pretty funny in a goofy sort of way. One of my favorites is “Godfather’s Respect”—appropriately titled as it is the Godfather singing an Italian, warped version of “Respect.”
(“Godfather’s Respect” clip)
Pickett has two songs on the album that are very charged anti-smoking and environmental awareness songs wrapped in the guise of his quirky songs; “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” and “Monster Man Jam” respectively. I enjoy these songs, as they were an interesting sort of PSA Pickett put together—but I can’t help but have a secret desire to hear “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!” as the underlying track of a John Waters movie, where all the characters smoke like freight trains…
(“Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” clip)
So overall, I give this album one and a half bloody stumps up. I wasn’t blown away by all of the tracks, but I have to say that the album is definitely worth having in your collection if you are an aficionado of weird music—especially pertaining to the Halloween season. Bobby “Boris” Pickett created one of the most well known novelty songs of all time with “Monster Mash,” so it was very cool to hear some of his other fun songs.
Buried Treasures can be purchased online at www.TheMonsterMash.com. More specifically, if you go to www.TheMonsterMash.com/catalog you will be taken directly to their online shop, rather than having to link through all the madness at the front of the Monster Mash Website.
Well Deadites, that about does it for this week here in the Musical Morgue. If you haven’t had the chance, be sure to stop by www.GruesomeJoe.com to check out the Morgue’s catalogue of reviews in print, as well as to send me your band suggestions for potential reviews. Be sure to tune in next time when we’ll have more great tunes I’m sure you’ll want to add to your collection. Until then, I’m Gruesome Joe and I’ll be chilling out here in the Morgue, waiting for you, until next time…