Holy Modal Rounders

Holy Modal Rounders

Too Much Fun!


Let me start by saying that Peter Stampfel’s musical yelp-and-banjo combo is an acquired taste, like feta cheese or anchovies. Add Steve Weber’s manic scatting and strumming and Dave Reisch’s washtub-worthy bass thumping, and it gets far more exotic. Those who find themselves enjoying these strong flavors often meet with puzzled stares, so don’t be surprised at the amount of bafflement in the room when you play your friends the find of Ninety-nind, the Holy Modal Rounders.

The HMR first shocked the world with their energetic interpretations of folk music in 1964, and though you’d think their audience would get a bit jaded over time, they’re still doing it now. Could you blame teenage depression on “Happy Rolling Cowboy”? Will we see the latest ex-mouseketeer babbling like a bayou madman, like you hear in “Crowley Waltz”? Have times been any harder than the hard times on “Penny’s Farm”? Hey, who plays the banjo on more than one song an album these days? The Holy Modal Rounders continue to alarm the established underground. They haven’t put out an album in twenty years and they can pick up right where they left off! Pretty sad, isn’t it? At least we have Too Much Fun! to cheer us up after that realization. Wonderful liner notes by Stampfel and a mysterious Señor X add to the amusement and enjoyment. I tell you, I’m ordering one of them nun doll catalogs.

Scour the bins for this one (it’s on Rounder, a label named after the Rounders), and we’ll all twirl around the room.

Rounder Records, 1 Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140; http://www.rounder.com

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