Good Rats, The
Band members Related acts
- John Gatto - guitar
- Larry Kotke - bass, vocals
- John Franco - drums
- Mickey Marchello - vocals, guitar
- Peppi Marchello - vocals, harmonica
- none known
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Company: Warner Brothers
Country/State: Long Island, NY
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: promo sticker on cover
GEMM catalog ID: 4617
Along with NRBQ, these guys may be American's best know unknown band. I'll readily admit that these guys are a hit or miss proposition for me. At least part of my reluctance to fully embrace them has to do with the fact that lead singer Peppi Marchello has a bizarre resemblance to Slade's ...
1.) Back To My Music (Peppi Marchello) -
2.) Injun Joe (Peppi Marchello) -
3.) Tasty (Peppi Marchello) -
4.) 300 Boys (Peppi Marchello) -
2.) Fred Upstairs & Ginger Snappers (Peppi Marchello) -
3.) Phil Fleish (Peppi Marchello) -
4.) Klash-Ka-Bob (Peppi Marchello) -
5.) Songwriter (Peppi Marchello) -
I didn't really get into the Good Rats until the original band had broken up, but it's funny how to me, this album just sounds like "where I come from" - and I've been kinda rediscovering this band lately. Sure, there are a few artists out there that one might say possess the "Long Island Sound" (no pun intended - though it also warrants mentioning that for those doubters, I'm actually not the first to coin the phrase - and I strongly maintain that it is identifiable in recordings), but none capture the working-class side of the people and places like the Good Rats. That's why in retrospect it seems fitting that my first exposure to the band was one summer after a day of working construction with my dad, when my uncle handed me a stack of vinyl that included "Tasty" - and told me that it was "just a great rock n' roll album".
This album is somewhat unique in the Rats catalog, since later discs were more about straightforward rock tunes that wrapped up around 3-4 minutes. Which is not to say that's a bad thing (if you're curious, "Rat City In Blue" and "From Rats to Riches" are recommended - and "Live At Last" is one of the best live albums ever, in my opinion - while the fidelity isn't so hot, a super tight and proficient band at the top of their game more than makes up for it). These songs stretch out a bit more, and are loaded with jazz influences - even a few bars of Ellington's "Caravan" on "Fred Upstairs & Ginger Snappers" (great title!) - and "Tasty" is worth a listen for the guitar work and pristine vocal harmonies alone.
All told, this doesn't try to be "high art", and that's what makes it so great - it is what it is - you can tell these guys are having fun and not putting too much thought into it, and we all benefit. A great album for rolling down the windows and driving through the old neighborhood.
If you look for it on ebay or half.com, expect to pay an arm and a leg
for it - because original copies on CD (and vinyl) are out of print.
However, if you're curious enough to jump on a recommendation like this,
you can order copies of Rats CDs directly from the band (they still
perform - Peppi is the lead singer, and other, younger Marchellos are in
the new lineup) for a good price at www.goodrats.com.
Some Good Rats Trivia: My dad bought my first acoustic guitar from
guitarist John "The Cat" Gatto, who was working at Musicland in
Lindenhurst, NY at the time. =)
Tasty (Warner Bros.) What can you say about a band admirers claim is the best to emerge from Long Island since the Vanilla Fudge? That even Shadow Morton isn't so foolish
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