Classic Rock Bottom

Sometimes you have no idea what you're going to do next and then kind, generous person like Mr. Mike Pell posts a couple of his amazing, must-listen shows and it hits you like a ton of bricks exactly what you're going to do next. Of course you have to worry about certain people like Scott Gabbert who is not kind and generous but is the type of person that screams "collusion" when one thing fits in quite nicely with another.

It's a good thing that the kindness and generosity of Sir Mike Pell greatly outweighs the meanness and jealousy of that Gabbert guy. Even though he'll whine and moan, we can just close our eyes and go to our happy place which just so happens to include Mike Pell, Esq. 

As The Legendary Mike Pell continues with his "Rat Race" series, I am proud to present the 1980 debut album from the BusBoys, "Minimum Wage Rock & Roll". It's something that ties in quite nicely with the current posts from the legendary Mike Pell.

Thanks to allmusic.com (and Mr. Pell for giving me this idea), you can read the following biography about the BusBoys:

"The BusBoys were a Los Angeles-based rock & roll band made up of five African-Americans and a Hispanic who played satirically upon their ethnic origins in songs with titles like "There Goes the Neighborhood." They were formed in the late '70s with a lineup of brothers Brian O'Neal (keyboards, vocals) and Kevin O'Neal (bass, vocals), Gus Louderman (vocals), Mike Jones (keyboards, vocals), Victor Johnson (guitar), and Steve Felix (drums). Essentially a novelty act, they nevertheless impressed listeners with their energetic bar band rock. They reached their peak of national exposure when they appeared in the 1982 Eddie Murphy film 48 Hrs. Their two Arista albums reached the charts, as did the 1984 single "Cleanin' Up the Town," which was featured in the film Ghostbusters."

How about a review from allmusic.com:

"In the 1950s, rock & roll started out as black music, but you wouldn't have guessed that to pick up Rolling Stone or Creem in the early '80s -- by that time, rock was almost exclusively the province of skinny white guys, and black artists were only to be found on the R&B charts, as if Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jimi Hendrix had never happened. So if there was more than a bit of novelty in the music of the BusBoys, that's not to say that what they were doing wasn't important or necessary -- as one of the first African-American groups to emerge to national prominence in the new wave scene, the BusBoys were willing to embrace the contradictions and confront the stereotypes that faced black musicians playing what had come to be known as "white" music. If some of the jokes are a bit forced, they're also pretty funny, especially "There Goes the Neighborhood" ("The whites are moving in!/They'll bring their next of kin!") and "KKK" ("Gonna join the Ku Klux Klan/And play in a rock & roll band"), while the music was certainly prescient, blending straight-ahead rock & roll and old-school R&B with George Clinton-esque absurdity and harmonies and new wave synthesizer squeals at a time when Prince was just edging into similar territory (and well before Cameo dropped the B-52's-ish Alligator Woman). Meanwhile, "Minimum Wage" and "D-Day" faced universal anxieties with honesty and bitter humor, and the band plays with fire and enthusiasm throughout. Not exactly up there with Bad Brains, Minimum Wage Rock & Roll is still smart and enthusiastic rock & roll that's unafraid to take chances; too bad the BusBoys never managed another album this strong."

For those that may remember, the second BusBoy album, "American Worker", was featured as an L/F album pick many years ago on a site that shall not be named. No matter what the above review says, I believe the second album is as strong as this one.

Before I end this, my thanks go out to the one-and-only Mike Pell. Without his current shows, this post most probably would have been something different. 

As always, no thanks are given to Scott Gabbert.  

Minimum Wage Rock & Roll

1. Dr. Doctor
2. Minimum Wage
3. Did You See Me
4. There Goes The Neighborhood
5. Johnny Soul'd Out
6. KKK
7. Anggie
8. D-Day
9. Tell The Coach
10. We Stand United
11. Respect

Availability: $35 used or you can get a CD on demand from Amazon for around $20.

     

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I remember these guys, and I remember the other post on that other, nameless, site. But a guy named Victor Johnson is listed here as the guitar player. Now, I wonder...is this the same Vic Johnson who now smokes for Sammy Hagar when he does his Waboritas thing? The Vic Johnson playing with Sammy is a very good guitarist. Great tone, style, and squeal on his work with Sammy.

Yep, it's the same guy.

Wow, very interesting indeed.

This....

was...

Great!  Really dug it.  Love Anggie.  One of your best posts this year.

RJ's post contains 15 total words...  You must really be upset with RJ if you're now colluding with Mr. Pell!!!  I don't know why you two can't get it together?  ... 

Oh well who cares....

Nice geetar©™®℠℗∞ work on here.  Can't say the songwriting is overly interesting though, the geetar©™®℠℗∞ totally carries the band here.  The geetar©™®℠℗∞ totally disappeared on Did You See Me, There Goes The Neighborhood and Johnny Soul'd Out, shame to 'cause the songwriting isn't good enough to carry the album so far.

And then we come to song named ...  KKK (seriously?)?  At 1 minute 42 seconds, its exactly 1 minute and 42 seconds too long.

Back on track with Anggie...  Kind of like this one - but whats up with spelling?  Trying to be silly?  But the geetar©™®℠℗∞ is back at least!  I did enjoy D-Day for some reason it was fun song, yes I said that D-Day was fun...

Second half of the album is far more interesting than the first half.  I don't know how I feel about the vocals though, the lead singer is just OK but lyrically its kind of fun, but first half stunk compared to the second half.

Nice post Jon! 

"There Goes The Neighborhood" and "KKK" are actually quite funny if you listen to the lyrics. And, no, they are not trying to get people to join the KKK.

Uhhhhh...yeah.

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