Various Artists: Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Vol. 1

Expanded reissue of legendary bubblegum compilation

Originally issued by Buddah in 1969, and reissued in expanded form by the UK Cherry Red label in 2010, this historic collection of bubblegum music is now available for domestic digital download through Sony’s Legacy imprint. The fourteen tracks of the original LP were pulled together from the biggest hits of Buddah’s Kasenetz-Katz production team, including the 1910 Fruitgum Company’s “Simon Says,” the Ohio Express’ “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and the Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine.” Brilliant melodic hooks, crisp studio productions and child-like lyrics combined to produce songs that were instantly likeable (except, of course, to self-righteous rock fans who’d long-ago lost track of music’s simplest pleasures) and more importantly, memorable. Though aimed at the pre-teen crowd, the songs’ surface-level innocence often harbored erotic and psychedelic allusions that were sufficiently camouflaged to escape AM radio’s gatekeepers.

Though Buddah didn’t corner the bubblegum market (the song of the year for 1969, “Sugar Sugar,” was on Don Kirshner’s Calendar label, for example), their output is easily the largest concentration of the genre’s exemplars. Cherry Red’s (and now Legacy’s) enhanced reissue drops two tunes by the Kasenetz Katz Super Circus (“We Can Work it Out” and “I’m in Love With You”), and adds seven titles, including the 1910 Fruitgum Company’s “Indian Giver” (which post-dated the compilation’s release), Salt Water Taffy’s “Finders Keepers” and the Shadows of Knight’s swampy “Run Run Billy Porter.” This is both a good place to start a bubblegum collection and a terrific spin for those who are already fans. To reach beyond the Buddah stable, try a single disc set like 25 All-Time Greatest Bubblegum Hits, or search out copies of Varese Sarabande’s five-volume Bubblegum Classics series [1 2 3 4 5]. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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