Music Reviews

The Rubinoos

Crimes Against Music


There’s a rule in the record reviewing world: not only are most of the records you get crummy, you’ll never ever get one worth keeping. I think we broke the rules with this album by some Bay Area troopers known as The Rubinoos. This band has existed with various line-ups since the mid ’70s, has opened for big name acts and even had a minor hit. Too bad they never made the big time, as they have a genuine sense of pop music, great arrangements and more skill than most MTV level bands. After a zillion (OK, half a dozen) albums, they’ve put together a disc of nothing but covers. Everyone from Bowie to the Ramones has done it, and this compilation is one of the best. It’s not that they do the covers “Rubinoos Style,” but they cast them freely into the style of a broad spectrum of other bands’ styles. Some of the picks in my mind are the Swing Dance version of Costello’s “Pump It Up,” the jungle version of “Bend Me, Shape Me” and best of all, a Green Day-style redo of “Brandy You’re a Fine Girl.” They even pick out some songs you may have missed first time around, like Polly Brown’s “Up in A Puff of Smoke” and the marginal “Bubble Gum Music” by a band with a name way too long to print here. These guys know their stuff, make every song sound like a hit and even look pretty good on the cover in a “Middle Age Comb-Over Skinny Tie” way. Oldies never sounded this good!

Zip Records: • The Rubinoos:

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