It’s a Halloween Hootenanny!

Halloween is, by far, the best holiday.  It might not have as much music related to it as Christmas, but what Halloween songs there are far outpace any carol in terms of awesomeness.  Everyone knows the standards: “Monster Mash,” “The Time Warp,” even “I Put A Spell On You.”  Those are classics for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that your Halloween playlist needs to be limited to a handful of Sisters Of Mercy songs and howling wolf sounds (though, come to think of it, why don’t more people play Howlin’ Wolf this time of year?).  When I think of Halloween music, I think of all the surf, garage and rockabilly bands that have recorded campy, catchy and infinitely danceable tunes with a Halloween twist.  Some of my favorite groups of the genre, including The Ghastly Ones and the Nekromantix play the spooky stuff pretty exclusively, but others only pepper their albums with haunted selections.  Bands of both those kinds make appearances on what is not only my favorite Halloween album, but one of the most fun albums I’ve heard: Halloween Hootenanny.

Released by Rob Zombie‘s unfortunately defunct Zombie A Go-Go imprint in 1998, Halloween Hootenanny features the absolute best of the garage/surf/rockabilly scene of the ’90s.  Alongside still-pretty big acts like Los Straitjackets, the Reverend Horton Heat and Zombie himself, are forgotten favorites like lounge combo Frenchy, borderline punks The Legendary Invisible Men (featuring members of another featured group, The Bomboras) and, presenting one of the album’s best cuts, the Swingin’ Neckbreakers.  Though “No Costume, No Candy” is essentially one joke stretched out over nearly five minutes, it does what too few candy-givers dare to do: set some damn rules.  Halloween Hootenanny also works in some brief sound effect intros and outros, and is hosted by TV creepshow presenter John Zacherle.  He even fronts Southern Culture On The Skids in a version of “Sinister Purpose”!

Though Zombie A Go-Go is no more, copies of Halloween Hootenanny can still be found in various forms of used.  Don’t just use it as a starting point for exploring each of the included bands’ own catalogues (though you totally should), but as a chance to expand your Halloween music horizons!  Happy Halloween!!

Listen: Swingin’ Neckbreakers – “No Costume, No Candy” from Halloween Hootenanny (1998)



~ by E. on October 29, 2010.

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