The Monster Album – compilation album

  
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The Monster Album is a 1964 release on Don Costa’s DCP label. The twelve songs are mostly written by Dickie Goodman and Bill Ramal, though there are also takes on hits of the day, including Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s perennial “Monster Mash. The performers are mostly session musicians, though there are known contributions from prolific songwriter and producer Gary Usher (best known for his work with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys) and Chuck Girard, the singer of both The Castells and The Hondells.

The late 50’s and early 60’s were flooded with ‘novelty’ horror and Halloween-themed albums, in some respects a post-war rejection of fantasy horror as something genuinely frightening and a sign that horror had entered mass public consciousness to the extent that parodies would be widely understood.

Dickie Goodman was an American music and record producer born in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for inventing and using the technique of the “break-in”, an early precursor to sampling that used brief clips of popular records and songs to “answer” comedic questions posed by voice actors on his novelty records. Perhaps the most notorious example of this is “Mr Jaws”, a 1975 parody of Spielberg’s summer blockbuster which inexplicably went to number 4 on the Billboard Top 100.

If anything, The Monster Album is more subtle, though it would be alarming if anything were to compete. The track-listing is as follows:

1. The Ghoul From Ipanema

2. Frankenstein Meets the Beetles

3. Werewolf Waltz

4. Haunted House

5. Monster Mash

6. My Baby Loves Monster Movies

7. Dracula Drag

8. Blood and Butter

9. A Hard Day’s Night

10. Monster Talk

11. Purple People Eater

12. Mambo Mummy

The songs are mostly in a rock ‘n’ roll style but with elements of surf music and hotrod imagery. The ‘adaptations’ are easy to spot – a fleetingly amusing take on “The Girl From Ipanema” and yet another version of Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater”, a song only aped more by “Monster Mash”, which is also here. Beatlesmania certainly influenced the album, the original “Frankenstein Meets The Beetles” (not sure why they changed the spelling)  which sees our favourite animated corpse taking the place of Paul alongside George, John and Ringo on the grounds that they all have the same haircut. The creators were pleased enough with it that they released it as a 7″ single, backed with “Dracula Drag”, probably the best song on the album which sounds eerily like The Ramones’ “Rock n’ Roll High School”. The single was credited to Jekyll and Hyde. The charts remained untroubled.

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Elsewhere on the album, “A Hard Day’s Night” is a disgracefully lazy straight read-through of The Beatles’ hit but ‘sung’ by a Boris Karloff sound-a-like (actually, a-sound-a-bit-a-like) and “Blood and Butter” parodied the already ludicrous, “Bread and Butter” by The Newbeats.

The album was housed in one of the most poorly executed sleeves of all-time, a pitiful rendering of classic movie monsters plonked on a crudely-drawn graveyard backdrop. The album has never been issued on CD and partly due to the Gary Usher connection, now commands, incredibly, three-figure sums on internet auction sites.

Daz Lawrence, moviesandmania

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One Comment on “The Monster Album – compilation album”

  1. Pedantry alert: Frankenstein’s Monster is surely a portmanteau (of several) animated corpse(s), as opposed to a singular ambulant deceased entity? I’d guess ‘The Beetles’ spelling was for legal reasons. Wouldn’t Bela Lugosi have been a more apt voice choice for ‘A Hard Days Night’? (A Hard Drac’s Night? ‘And I’ve been flapping like a bat! I should be sleeping in the crypt! And venn I ketchu alone, I’m going to suucck your blood, a-ha-ha’, and so on).

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