Double Date with Joanie and Chachi
Nick At Nite Goes to Outer Space
Nick At Nite Records/550 Music
These two recent collections under the Nick at Nite imprint have about as much in common as Captain Kirk does with the Fonz. They’re held together (extremely loosely as the Outer Space disc proves), by the themes of “good times” ’50s and outer space imagery, respectively, and jointly by campy musical representations of these genres.
The Joanie and Chachi sampler is the third album of oldies spun off of the Happy Days series. It’s a short (about a half hour) and pleasant, if extremely obvious, collection of 11 moldy oldies and another run through of the execrable Happy Days theme from the thankfully long gone but unfortunately not forgotten duo of Pratt & McClain. The music is fine, but even Happy Days rerun fanatics have to be sick to death of over-exposed chestnuts like “Book Of Love,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Great Pretender,” or “Bye Bye Love,” which are already on hundreds of better programmed compilations. A comedic set of liner notes that reprints a fictitious conversation between the two titular lovebirds is cute, but hardly essential.
Much more dicey is the Outer Space disc which cherry-picks some extremely eclectic musical selections, many of which have little to do with the supposed concept. Slightly longer (almost 40 minutes), but waaaaay less cohesive, the tracks range from Frank Zappa’s wonderful “Cosmic Debris,” to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s worthless “Attack Of The Radioactive Hamster From A Planet Near Mars,” incredibly plopped next to each other on the disc. Other tracks that have maybe a slight connection to the space theme (Earth Wind and Fire’s “Shining Star” is not about the cosmos) and absolutely no musical connection with each other fill out the disc. Compilation buddies Atlanta Rhythm Sections “Alien” and Blondie’s “Rapture” should not only NEVER be on a compilation together, but worse, their subject matter is minimally about space. Much better is Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark’s pretty nifty “Apollo XI” which uses actual sound bites from the mission of the same name.
Horribly out of place musically though is the Byrds’ hoe-downy “Mr. Spaceman,” which might as well have been beamed down in error, as they hardly fit in with the rest of the synth-heavy cast. But they came cheap since they’re already on Sony (suspiciously like E, W, & F, Adam Ant, Weird Al, and Herbie Hancock) and there were no licensing fees.
It’s a lame collection that seems to want to cash in on the Nick At Nite franchise, but only a six-headed alien with no brains would be foolish enough to fall to earth for this schlocky compilation.