Monday, October 26, 2009

Sounds of the Season: Halloween Hootenanny/The Ghastly Ones

Surf rock and monsters have a long history together. Surf culture, for whatever reason, really embraced the classic monsters of yesteryear, and incorporated them into their iconography. Did this start with the classic surf rock theme song to The Munsters, or was that theme the result of surfers being enamoured of our favorite creatures? I'm not sure of how it all began, but today the two are inextricably linked. Surf rock is often played at Halloween parties, and a whole slew of surf bands have arisen in the past several years that wear their love of all things spooky on their sleeves.

In the late 90's, ghoulish rocker Rob Zombie assembled a macabre gang of his favorite bands to craft the ultimate Halloween party album: Halloween Hootenanny!

Now, you might think with Mr. Zombie in charge, that all the music would be in the vein of his signature growling metal, but nay! This is a completely different beast altogether, with bands like Reverend Horton Heat, Los Straightjackets, Deadbolt, The Dead Elvi and (my personal favorite)The Ghastly Ones! These bands, for the most part, skew towards the surf rock genre, and the result is a fun, spooky romp. Nothing on the disc is remotely offensive, and you can freely spin this one with kids in the room. Even Mr. Zombie joins in the fun, with a tune backed by The Ghastly Ones (Rob Zombie does surf rock! Yes, it is all kinds of awesome!). This is a perfect Halloween party disc, through and through, and it's great for all ages. My kids love this album as much as I do (their personal favorite is The Dead Elvi track "The Creature Stole My Surfboard").

While on the subject, I'll spotlight one of the bands featured...the aforementioned Ghastly Ones. They describe their style as "Haunted Garage and Cemetery Surf"...and you really couldn't have a better description! With tunes about spooks, monsters and "Go-Go Ghouls", you really can't ask for a more fun-filled, Halloween appropriate band to play at your Samhain shindig! Their first disc, A-Haunting We Will Go-Go is currently out of print, but if you do some digging you can still find it in some CD online outlets. Failing that, you can find many of those tunes re-recorded on their third disc, Unearthed (some fans argue that these versions are actually better than the originals, but I'll let you decide). Their second album, Target: Draculon, is equally packed with ghoulish grooves that will have you doing the Ghastly Stomp until dawn!

To snag some Ghastly Ones tunes, head on over to their official store:

and to get your claws on Halloween Hootenanny, pop on over to Halloween Town:

I give both of these extremely high recommendations. No, they aren't remotely similar to my previous entry (Midnight Syndicate), but they are equally excellent for getting you in the Halloween mood. For me, Halloween encompasses a fairly wide spectrum, so these fit the bill as well.


Wendy the (Very) Good Witch said...

Ahh...the Ghastly ones. They are the arch nemesis of the Moon-Rays...ha! No, but they are great, and they are the same style that the Moon-Rays first 3 albums were in. Swingin' was actually a big departure from their other albums. If you haven't listened to the Moon-Rays older albums, and you like the Ghastly Ones, then you should really check them out. I must admit though, that I personally don't love the 'surf' style as much as I did 'Swingin', but then I was also never a big Beach Boys fan either. But I do love the old 20's & 30's music, guess that explains my preferences...ha! But I can appreciate most forms of music and the Monster Surf is indeed very cool! Not too mention Mr. Zombie! Great post! :o)

The Gill-Man said...

Hmmm, I'll definitely have to check out the Moon-Rays other discs. I dig the surf sound quite a bit (and I really don't care for the Beach Boys either. Their stuff is like homogenized surf...all white and safe for the masses, with no real bite).

As for the Swing sound...well, I dig that just as much! I'll definitely be getting to that here soon!!