Hereâ€™s another example of singing groups in the Squeaky Rodent Department: Shirley, Squirrely & Melvin. Their album Live has an interesting history (at least according to Wikipedia): In 1980 Excelsior Records released Chipmunk Punk, a new album featuring the Chipmunks put together by David Sevilleâ€™s son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. The album turned out to be an unexpected success, so Bagdasarian recorded a follow-up, Urban Chipmunk — for RCA Records. This left Excelsior holding the bag, so they supposedly took outtakes from Urban Chipmunk and an earlier Shirley & Squirrely album and came up with Live. I donâ€™t know if I believe that story, but it’s on Wikipedia, so it must be true!
The first song weâ€™ll feature here is the Sam & Dave/Blues Brothers classic â€œSoul Man.â€ I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever heard a song pushed so hard when itâ€™s sung. Apparently, Squirrely thinks “soul” translates to â€œSing like youâ€™re constipated.â€
Next, SS&M reveal their country side with â€œThe Gambler,” an odd pick since Alvin, Simon, and Theodore covered the same song on Urban Chipmunk, although they changed a few words — “soda” instead of “whiskey,” and instead of bumming a cigarette, the gambler â€œasked for a Twinkie, and offered me a bite.” I guess SS&M get extra points for performing the song as written. Their version also features special guest star Denny Richards. (Never heard of him. Have you?)
Continuing in a country vein, we have the classic â€œMercedes Benz.â€ This one was a little tricky since the song is sung a cappella, but the rodents actually do a pretty good job here.
Hereâ€™s an original song: â€œI Like Reggae Too.â€ Was reggae making that big of a comeback in 1981? The song is also notable for name-checking the Rolling Stones, Blondie, and the Beatles.
And finally, speaking of the Beatles, hereâ€™s “Get Back,” a song that missed out on being included in the Beatles covers compilation at Popdose a few weeks ago. (Somehow I donâ€™t think any of you missed it!)
And as always, if you want to hear the entire album, you can find it here!
As you may have gathered from the title, it’s a live album. Okay, so the “live” element is just applause and audience noise added to the mix in the studio, because you canâ€™t stage a live rock concert with musicians in animal costumes. Or can you? Tune in next week for another Way Out Wednesday and find out!