Maybe Frankenstein Is Here

:: Highlights From The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Chorus ::

When I found this record recently, sealed for about $3.00, I thought what the hell. A relic from the '60s, might be pretty good, or at least wacky. But there were some confusing things about it. What the hell is a Kasenetz-Katz? Why does it say "Original Cast Recording"? What do groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and J.C.W. Rat Finks have in common with each other?

Unfortunately it's a pretty mundane record. Bland covers of Beatles songs and stuff like Hey Joe and You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. It's supposed to be 8 different bands all playing together at the same time and thus becoming a "Singing Orchestral Circus", but in reality these 8 bands didn't really exist to begin with.

Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz were a production team credited with inventing Bubblegum music. With the help of label exec Neil Bogart (later of Casablanca Records infamy), "Super K" gave us songs like "Little Bit of Soul" by the Music Explosion, and "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" by The Ohio Express. The 1910 Fruitgum Co. had a string of hits like "Simple Simon Says" and "Goody Goody Gumdrops". If these titles don't ring any bells, it's probably because they were frankly very lightweight, and intentionally so at that. You've probably heard these gems before on oldies radio, but let's just say they don't leave much of an impression. In other words, they were perfect AM radio fodder, and Kasenetz-Katz rode that wave for as long as they could.

The "bands" on this record represented Kasenetz-Katz' entire stable of hit makers. Funny thing is, they weren't really bands at all, just a bunch of studio musicians going by different band names as a way of selling more records. The guys on the cover were probably musicians sent out on the road to play teenage fairs and mall openings dressed in animal costumes as the "1989 Musical Marching Zoo" (which has a nice ironic touch when you think about what a crappy year for music 1989 turned out to be).

I put together a little compilation of the in between tracks on the album. I like how they try to make it sound like they were "live" in front of an "audience", but it couldn't be more lame. Anyway, believe it or not, this is the best stuff on the album. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the album came with a sheet of stamps featuring a picture of each member of each band on each stamp. It's totally pristine and it almost makes up for the shitty sounding record.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a record store and this record was on the wall and they wanted like 50 bucks for it, and it wasn't even sealed. Hahahahaha!

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 11:32:00 AM

I've got this album though mine didn't have the stamps. I quite like this kind of bubble gum pop. I have another compilation that features some of the same bands and some others. They're a kind of anti-dote to the Nuggets stuff but some of the songs are quite good.    

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 11:39:00 AM

I have a copy of this record, as well as another one called "Bubble Gum Explosion" (or something similar). I know these people aren't in the same league as the bands who appeared on the Nuggets and Pebbles compilations but they still have their charm. 'Quick Joey Small' is a great song.    

Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:44:00 AM

The other Kasenatz-Katz LP is really great! There's a song about a dude trying to get to his woman in New York ("but there'll be a delaayyyy!!!") that I forget the name of right now, that's particularly rockin!    

Thursday, November 10, 2005 4:29:00 AM

Tom - that song is "Quick Joey Small," one of my favorite bubblegum tracks ever. I bought the 7" when it came out (yeah, I'm old).    

Monday, March 16, 2009 1:05:00 PM

No it ain't! It's actually called (funnily enough) 'New York Woman'.    

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