Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wild Thing - The Troggs

Wild Thing
The Troggs
Atco 33-193

Here's a post to honor Reg Presley who died of cancer on the 4th of this month.  Presley was the lead singer and main songwriter for the British band, the Troggs.  This was their debut album which was also released with an identical song selection but different cover art on Fontana Records the same year.  The British version of this album has a lot more cover songs on it and is a lesser album in my opinion.  The best song on the album (and the best song the Troggs ever did) is "Wild Thing" written by Chip Taylor.  The song is an eternal rock classic, with lascivious lyrics crooned over a superbly heavy riff and weirdly an ocarina solo.  I'm fond of Hendrix's famous cover version, but this is still the definitive performance.  Its raw primitive power and inherent stupidity basically defined the Troggs as a band, but unfortunately they never were able to top this immortal single.  Most of the songs on the album are in a similar vein with power riffing and relentless beats supporting simple repetitive lyrics.  Among the best of them are the fuzz-laden "From Home," "Lost Girl" with its sizzling garage-style guitar solo, Shelby Singleton's 1950s rock and roll style "Evil" and the hard rocking "Your Love" which rips-off the Kinks.  The album's other hit single is the catchy "With A Girl Like You" which is also constructed around a simple riff, but has more of a pop flavor and a smoother sound.  "Our Love Will Still Be There" has a similar sound minus the catchy hook.  There are also some lightweight pop songs like "Hi Hi Hazel," "Jingle Jangle" and "When I'm With You" which don't play to the band's strengths but provide a little variety to the incessant pounding of the rest of the record.  This is a dumb record but it is a lot of fun and it totally rocks.  I would not be happy if all rock were this idiotic, I need John Lennon and Bob Dylan, but I'm grateful for guys like Reg Presley as well.  He may not have been a great artist, but he understood the Dionysian hedonistic essence of rock as much as anyone and I mourn his passing.  Recommended to people who like the Ramones better than the Talking Heads.

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