Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bongos Fury!!

When I'm not buying discs from pre-teen television idols, I dig trolling Billboard's list of new releases for interesting stuff. Something that caught my eye was the "special edition" reissue of The Bongos' Drums Along the Hudson released by Cooking Vinyl last week. The Bongos were one of the shining lights of the talent-laden Hoboken pop scene of the early 1980s and their 1982 LP arguably represents one of the high water marks of the era. Criminally, it has also fallen out of print for some time but thankfully, Cooking Vinyl has remedied this situation.

I just ordered my copy and haven't had a chance to give this new edition a spin yet, but looking at the track listing and description this will clearly be the definitive CD release. Completely remastered from the original source tapes, this special edition includes 15 cuts from the original release supplemented with 12 bonus tracks. The extra material includes the Bongos first live show in 1980 plus a new version of The Bulrushes featuring Moby.

I've not spun this disc in years, so I pulled out my vinyl copy for a fresh listen. After 25 years, the music holds up quite nicely, carried along by janglelicious guitars, super-catchy choruses and just a touch of the edgy sound of fellow scenesters like the Feelies and the dB's. On top of that, include one of the most brilliant covers of a T-Rex song put to vinyl and you have yourself a powerpop classic! As always, you can get your own copy of Drums Along the Hudson from Not Lame or other fine purveyors of music. O.K. Cooking Vinyl, now let's get going on a new reissue of Numbers With Wings and Beat Hotel!

Here's a clip of the band at a recent reunion show doing one of my favorite tracks from the LP, Zebra Club.


steve simels said...

KC --

Saw these guys opening for somebody I've now forgotten around the time this came out.

I must confess I never quite got them, although everybody I knew at the time valued them highly.

I got the influeces and what they were trying to do, but it always seemed a little twee to me.

By the same token, I never got the dBs untill Stamey left and it became Holsapple's band.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Feelies, Glenn Mercer (lead singer, guitarist & composer) just released his first solo CD called "Wheels In Motion" on Pravda Records ( It's really good!

Rinjo Njori said...

someone recently e-mailed me asking if I owned a copy of this album. I don't but I did notice a few other comments/ posts on this band other places recently. I guess someone is trying to drum up interest in this album and The Bongos. I could think of worse reunions.

mcpart said...

An old college friend has been trying to get me to make a CD rip of my vinyl copy of "Number with Wings" for more than a year now but I keep procrastinating. What a great record.

Heather said...

I loved the Bongoes, and they might have had a decent shot at making it if they had been more consistent live. They were either brilliant (I recall a particularly incandescent Mambo Sun at the East Side in DC, about 1987) or simply awful. I've long suspected cocaine as a factor in their demise as it seemed to be ruining quite a few new bands around that same time.

Kid Charlemagne said...

Yes, Steve the Bongos do score high on the scale of twee at times, but I still love 'em. The first dB's LP did absolutely nothing for me, but they started clicking to my ears around Happenstance. Plus, the Holsapple group is a horse of a different color.

If I tried to list the number of great bands that were ruined by coke and/or smack around this time, it would take reams of paper.

preznit giv me turkee said...

now if someone would do a re-release of The Individuals