The Strangeloves – Australian sheep-farming brothers Giles, Miles and Niles Strange – were in fact a trio of New York songwriter-producers, searching for hits amid the onslaught of the British Invasion. The thressome – Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer – had written and produced the Angelsâ€™ chart topping hit â€œMy Boyfriendâ€™s Backâ€ in 1963, but with the change in musical tide, they began looking for beat groups. Rather than finding a group for which to write and produce, they made one up in the studio and created a fictional backstory. Their first single, â€œLove, Love (That’s All I Want from You)â€ bubbled under the Top 100, but their second single, â€œI Want Candy,â€ rode its Bo Diddley beat to #11. Theyâ€™d score two more Top 40 singles with â€œCara-Linâ€ and â€œNight Time,â€ and perhaps even more impressively, their original backing track for â€œHang on Sloopyâ€ was reused for the McCoyâ€™s chart-topping hit.
The groupâ€™s one and only album is reproduced here on candy apple red vinyl, and includes their three hits, alongside several excellent album tracks. The groupâ€™s rendition of â€œHang On Sloopyâ€ includes the extra verse that was cut from the McCoysâ€™ single, and a cover of Gary â€œU.S.â€ Bondsâ€™ â€œNew Orleansâ€ infuses Cannibal and the Headhuntersâ€™ â€œNa Na Na Na Naâ€ chant from â€œLand of 1000 Dances.â€ The original â€œ(Roll On) Mississippi)â€ temporarily drops the dominant Bo Diddley beat for a stomping New Orleans rhythm and wild Jerry Lee Lewis-styled piano. The proto-bubblegum original â€œRhythm of Loveâ€ was rewritten into a fetching power-pop tune by the appropriately fictitious Pooh Sticks, and â€œJust the Way You Areâ€ closes the album with the bandâ€™s favored Diddley beat.
Goldstein would go on to discover and produce Warâ€™s singles and albums, while Gottehrer would co-found Sire and produce seminal early works by Blondie, Marshall Crenshaw, the Go-Gos, and many others. But years before, they were the Strange brothers, sporting zebra-striped vests and leather pants, and pounding on aboriginal drums while performing their ode to dancer Candy Johnson on Hullabaloo. Real Goneâ€™s 2019 vinyl reissue reproduces the original mono mix, providing a textbook example of monoâ€™s power to deliver the gut punch thatâ€™s often dissipated by stereo. The stereo mixes included on the groupâ€™s Best Of CD are good to have available, but they donâ€™t deliver the Boss Radio memory of mono. For fans who donâ€™t have an original vinyl issue, this is a great get! [Â©2019 Hyperbolium]