Do you dare to go…Beyond the “Monster Mash”?

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There’s no stopping it now, it’s that time again. Here’s a collection of creepy, kooky stuff in the same vein (ouch!) as the ubiquitous Bobby “Boris” Pickett hit, but a bit more obscure.

Link to playlist:

You can also click on individual songs for YouTube videos.

Enjoy…at your own risk…

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Ron Haydock & The Boppers – HALLOWEEN

The Naturals – THE MUMMY

Bob McFadden and Dor – THE SHRIEK OF AGONY

The Creatures – MOSTLY GHOSTLY

Allan Sherman – MY SON, THE VAMPIRE



Skipper Ryle – WOLF GAL

Ethel Ennis – MAD MONSTER PARTY (bonus track not on the Spotify playlist!)

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Screaming Lord Sutch – DRACULA’S DAUGHTER

Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians – MONSTER JERK

Dickie Goodman – HORROR MOVIES (the video is a different version from the song on the Spotify playlist)

Larry’s Rebels – HALLOWEEN

Gene Moss – SURF MONSTERDrac's Greatest Hits (

Zacherley – WEIRD WATUSI

The Poets – DEAD

Bobby Please & The Pleasers – THE MONSTER


Ted Cassidy – THE LURCH (video from “Shindig” 1965! You’ll need to turn it up a bit)

Joe Johnson – GILA MONSTER




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If there’s a hell below…it’s probably a lot like 42nd Street in 1972

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During lunch in the Westhampton Beach High School cafetorium (a sinister-sounding hybrid of cafeteria and auditorium), a portable phonograph is often plugged in at the edge of the stage platform, and the music is piped through the room’s speaker system. So I chomp on my daily peanut butter sandwich to the sounds of the O’Jays, the Trammps (half a decade before they skyrocket to fame on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), and Curtis Mayfield. In the fall of ’72 “Freddie’s Dead” from Super Fly engulfs the lunch period like warm maple syrup. Mayfield’s so-smooth soul singing is a thing of pure beauty, spread across that unmistakable bass backbone with a bit of flute and just the right amount of sweet strings. One could forget the song is actually about the death of one of the film’s characters, Fat Freddie. What can compare to the moment when those strings glissando down like a police siren and Curtis comes back to let us know he’s just tryin’ to find a little love and some peace of mind?

The-Deuce-logo-color ( 45 years later, HBO has produced an early-seventies time capsule a la their short-lived series Vinyl, this time dedicated to the pimps, prostitutes, and general sleazeball characters of 42nd Street and entitled The Deuce. Now we get to see what was happening here, in da big, bad city, while us kids were eating lunch way out in the Hamptons in the shelter of the cafetorium. And singing the theme song at the start of each episode is…the late, great Curtis Mayfield. His 1970 hit “(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” graces the opening credits against vintage shots of Times Square the way it useta be.

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Kicking off Mayfield’s debut album, Curtis, “(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” is an intense eight minutes of Latin-percussion-driven fire ‘n’ brimstone directed to…uh, black and white alike (let’s just say he certainly ain’t politically correct), over one of the greatest fuzz-bass riffs ever invented. While we’re at it, check out the other monster on Curtis, “Move On Up.” For some reason it never charted as a U.S. single despite those classic R&B horn hooks and universal you-can-do-it-if-you-try message.

Mayfield was born in Chicago in 1942 and by 1958 had formed the Impressions with school friend Jerry Butler. Seven years later, at the forefront of the Chicago soul sound, he wrote the legendary “People Get Ready,” among other Impressions hits. In 1970 Mayfield went solo, releasing the above-mentioned gems, as well as work with the Staples Singers and several movie soundtracks. He moved to Atlanta in 1980, recording and performing until a stage accident in 1990 left him paralyzed from the neck down. He continued to write music and record vocals – while lying on his back. Curtis Mayfield died on December 26, 1999 at age 57, leaving us nearly forty albums of his music including twelve with the Impressions.

So don’t worry…if there’s a hell below and we all go…Curtis’ll be there coolin’ it off.

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Happy Birthday, Schizomusica

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Yes, this blog turned one year old this past week. Soon it’ll be walking and talking! That first post on October 6, 2016 was all about The Lil Smokies, a bluegrass-pop concoction from Missoula, Montana. And here we are, a year later and the band’s just released their second album, Changing Shades. So…

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These guys certainly have a sound – pop melodies and lyrics over a bluegrassy banjo-dobro beat with half-country/half-Kansas (the band) fiddle coursing through its veins. Changing Shades continues what they started with their 2013 self-titled debut. Opener “The City” wastes no time mentioning David Bowie’s death, but is still a lively uplifter that showcases the Lil Smokies formula to a tee…and don’t miss that sudden Beach Boys-like vocal thing towards the end! “Might As Well” grabs hold of you with Jake Simpson’s scratchy, chugging fiddle, keeps holdin’ on with Matt Rieger’s gritty guitar, then heads down Smokies Highway with nice harmonies and cowboyish riffs. Other highlights are the energetic banjo-fest “Winded” and the enigmatic “Hitchcock,” which may or may not be about Alfred, or Robyn, or neither. “Kings and Queens” (wherein the “changing shades” lyric lives) is a down-home number that has Andy Dunnigan doing his best James Taylor. The catchy “Feathers,” previously available as a YouTube video only, is included here, as is “The Gallery,” which closes the album with perhaps the band’s most heartfelt moment.

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The Lil Smokies are performing at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on November 10, along with similar-sounding outfits Mipso and The Brothers Comatose. Y’all come on down!

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Now for another Schizomusica favorite, Aussie-American band The Walk-A-Bout. Well, one-quarter Australia and three-quarters Long Island. When we last left them they had just unleashed their debut six-song EP, mysteriously titled The Walk-A-Bout, and now…another two tracks have appeared, on the really mysteriously-titled Walk-A-Bout 2. “Oasis” and “Drifting Tide” they are, and get ready for some more hearty rock featuring Kevin Anderson’s barefoot-comfy riffs and Sully Sullivan’s sunset-on-the-sea singing – with some fun percussion so ya can move ‘n’ groove.

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Check out The Walk-A-Bout at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett on October 14.

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And finally, a group from New Haven, Connecticut, whose 5-song disc Dreams of Trees Pt. 1 was featured here back in April, No Line North. They’ve just teamed up with Lys Guillorn & Her Band (that’s their full name) on a split single due out October 21. “How To Make a Mountain,” Ms. Guillorn’s side, is a folky kinda thing that – well, how ’bout the Lil Smokies with Lucinda Williams on vocals? NLN’s side, “Dirty Holiday,” is sort of like…sorry but I have Lil Smokies on the brain…that band again but minus the banjo and dobro, and rockin’ out with Jon Schlesinger as the resurrected Jim Carroll singing lead. And after that wacky ending I bet someone broke a few violin strings! There’s gonna be a record release gig at Lyric Hall in New Haven on October 21 with both bands plus more.

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So let’s all hoist an Oktoberfest beer to another year of Schizomusica!

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