7 DUDLEY CINEMA at SPONTO Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave, Venice, 310-306-7330, Free!
Come early – seating is limited
WED., March 14, 7pm preshow: Author Domenic Priore, Luxuriamusic.com DJ Becky Ebenkamp and anthology editor Kim Cooper screen LA’s rare back-door hit Shrimpenstein! Ostensibly a children’s puppet show (adult satire in disguise), this ’66 KHJ-Channel 9 warper featured booze & LSD jokes. Local fans included the Rat Pack & Rod Serling.
8pm. BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH! (’05, 93min) Based on Kim Cooper and David Smay’s book, Kier-La Janisse’s compilation of prepubescent pop from ’67 to ’72 features rare footage of the 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Archies, Ohio Express, The Sweet, The Bay City Rollers, the Banana Splits, the Wombles & the Jackson 5 Cartoon. It dismantles the worst myths about how bubblegum is produced and identifies the gum tendencies of artists as varied as the Sex Pistols, Abba, the Monkees and the Ramones.
Not to be confused with the similarly-titled BMG collection for which I wrote the notes in 2001 (see below). If you’re seeking the most of this splendid bubblegum band you’ll need to pick up both discs, as there are six songs on the earlier release not on this mainly singles selection, among them the essential "1910 Cotton Candy Castle." But if only one Fruitgum comp is in your future, it’d be hard to compete with this 28-track behemoth. I wish BMG had been as ambitious with their own vault artists as Germany’s Repertoire label! You’d have to dig through a lot of scuffy vinyl to assemble a comparable analog collection spanning the short, delicious career of this most infantile of semi-imaginary Buddah combos. Kicking off with the schoolyard earworm hits (including "Simon Says," "Indian Giver" and "1-2-3 Red Light"), the disc also spotlights the band (or its studio doppelgangers) in its jazzy, psychedelic and garagey manifestations. The b-sides are highlights (and a rare chance to enjoy band-penned compositions), like the growling bad girl raver "No Good Annie," and the Chinese psych-out "Reflections from the Looking Glass." Equally great are the retarded (in a good way) "Sticky Sticky" and the Link-Wray-in-orbit stylings of "Baby Bret." The comp closes with several scarce Italian-language tracks, from the Fruitgums’ late, barely-noticed Continental phase, including the exquisitely spooky "C’e Qualcosa Che Non Picardo Piu." The booklet includes notes from John Tracy and a selection of colorful 45 sleeves, sheet music covers and oddities.
Read Kim Cooper’s notes from The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company.
On this dizzy 1969 release, West Coast jazzbo and his session cats work a breezy adult contemporary vibe, with giddy female vocal choirs manifesting the audio equivalent of a gaggle of happy stewardesses bearing fluffy pillows. The mellow, playful arrangements are applied to an appealing collection of bubblegum and pop-rock standards, including “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” the Sesame Street-popularized title track and “Sugar Sugar.” While the boy/girl singers are utterly out of their depth on the latter, it’s still a hoot to hear a dark narrative like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” handled so frothily. Silly, sweet mainstream fluff, presumably originally aimed at foxy grandpas, and still likely to please the comfy chair and fruity drink set. (Kim Cooper)
Repertoire has compiled a best-of that goes beyond the usual twenty-two minute selection from the annals of the Fruitgum Co. We haven’t heard the remastered versions of the tunes yet, but if you’ve been struggling to find some of these oddities, now’s the time.
Tracklist: 1. Simon Says 2. May I Take A Giant Step (Into Your Heart) 3. 1-2-3 Red Light 4. Goody Goody Gumdrops 5. Indian Giver 6. Special Delivery 7. Train 8. When We Get Married 9. Go Away 10. Lawdy Lawdy 11. Reflections From The Looking Glass 12. (Poor Old) Mr Jensen 13. Sticky Sticky 14. Candy Kisses 15. Liza 16. No Good Annie 17. Eternal Light 18. Baby Bret 19. Track 20. Clock 21. Soul Struttin’ 22. Hook, Line & Sniker 23. Game Of Love 24. Song Song 25. Book 26. Semplicissimo 27. C’e Qualcosa Che Non Ricordo Piu 28. Hip Hip Hip Urrah! (1-2-3 Red Light)