Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band Loco Live 1976

Willie "Loco" Alexander has been a stalwart of the Boston scene since his days in the 60's garage band the Lost, and he has yet to stop rockin'! The Boom Boom Band was a hot-shot piece of smokin' pre-punk rock'n'roll featuring Willie on guitar and vocals, the monstrous guitar work of Billy Loosigian and the stompin' rhythm section of Severin Grossman (bass) and David McLean (drums). Willie's unique vocals stylings mix melodies with scat-singing, whoops, oohs'n'ahs behind his pumpin' piano, while Billy dishes out power chords combined with sweet, dulcet leads while Severin and David boom-boom behind them.

I have been on the lookout for a release of a live tape that I once owned from this band that was an incredible show and while this didn't turn out to be that elusive release, it is still a terrific comp of two shows with the band at their height.

Opening the CD is a set from Boston's legendary club, The Rat, which gave us the two songs that appeared on the Live at the Rat compilation - the 50's-ish rocker "At the Rat" and the wacky'n'somewhat lewd glossolalia of the dynamically hypnotic "Pup Tune". Besides those numbers, we get the punky "Dirty Eddie" (a song left off of his MCA albums), the slower classic "Kerouac", his lovely "You Looked So Pretty When" (love Billy's highly sustained guitar here), and the heavy "Hit Her Wid de Axe".

Following this, we get 8 songs from an earlier (by a few months) show at The Club in Cambridge, MA. Some of these did not appear on either of his MCA albums, such as "For Old Times Sake", a cool Willie rocker, "Garbage Man" (a radically different version surfaced on the tape I was talking about - much more of a guitar-fueled garage stomper than this, which sounds more like a jam that eventually became a song), and "Gin", with its melodic guitar licks,

We also get a much rawer "Gourmet Baby" (without the "censored" lyrics of the LP) and an earlier "Rock & Roll 78" (here titled Rock'n'Roll Lick #76) where Willie encourages his fans to bootleg his shows while he describes the local scene and Billy switches between his heavy chords and cool riffs. "Rhythm A Baby" is also an embryonic variant of a later tune, "Mass Ave." is a bit heavier here than on the studio recordings, and "Melinda" is positively, massively forceful.

The last couple of cuts are a studio take of "Dirty Eddy" (yes, the spelling changed) and his white-boy-reggae "She Wanted Me", both from a Somor Records single - the production isn't as strong as the album, but still pretty terrific.

I love the Loco man and this is a great collection of live takes, even if it isn't what I was hoping for, it's still awesome, boom-boom rock'n'roll!