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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Punsters - Boardwalk Santa

Name: (the) Punsters
Album: Boardwalk Santa
Year: 1981
Style: Juvenile Rock, New Wave, Pub Rock, Variety
Similar Bands: Fabulous Fondas, Dead Milkmen, Beru Revue, Ween, Coolies, Weird Al, Blasters
One Word Review: Exaggerated Pub Vaudeville
Based Out Of: New Jersey
Label: Rosebud Records
 Boardwalk Santa - Cover, Record
Boardwalk Santa - Back, Record
Boardwalk Santa (1981)
  1. Boardwalk/Ghetto Santa 2:34
  2. My Heat's In Gridlock 2:20
  3. What's So Funny 2:34/
  4. Shell Game 1:59
  5. I Asked the Angels 3:05
  6. Baghdad Daddy 1:40
  7. I Dreamt I Dreamt of Gefilte Fish 1:15
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Robert Kaplow - Vox
Tim Korzun - Keys, Bass
Michael Townsend - Bass
Marc Lanzoff - Vox
Carmen Presti - Guitars, Vox
Ken Cohen - Drums
Glenn Taylor - Engineer
Miguel Pagliere - Photography

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but the album was very appealing. Recorded in 1981, with a silly name & title, and cover art to go right along with the title, apparently taken in Asbury Park.Lots of local bands from this era put out some fun, bouncy music, so I just hope this is in the same vein as the Fabulous Fondas.

Album Review: They were a silly, satirical band from Jersey, with a few singles and this EP under their self-producing belt. Singer Kaplow has moved on to writing novels, scripts and other works. The band was on NPR back in the 80’s, and appeared on the Uncle Floyd show, along with Tiny Tim.

“Boardwalk/Ghetto Santa” begins with an amateur rock opera dialogue over a tinkling piano, as if it is the wishes of a young boy asking Santa to save him from the town. The song kicks in with a fun surf-rock style, and deep, vocals seeming to maybe mimic Elvis a little, but the lyrics are comedic in theme.
“My Heat's In Gridlock” is a gritty song that sounds as if it is sung by an angry, agitated Weird Al. The song’s style is slinky pub rock, with exaggerated vocals.
“What's So Funny” starts with spoken work over quiet music. The song kicks in with a toe-tapping, bluesy Blasters style song. The song is sectioned out in intervals, the music is broken up by spoken word sections. The song is questioning what is so funny about TV shows like Benny Hill or TV Bloopers, as they are more sick than humorous.

“Shell Game” is another exaggerated vocal performance, this time in a new wave theme, over a driving bass line. It reminds me a little of They Might Be Giants, and includes a new wave (Elvis Costello) organ effect.This is probably the most straight forward song on the album, and the best one.
“I Asked the Angels” starts after a spoken word discussion and then a false start. But the song is a slow 50’s styled doo-wop, vocal band ballad. Like a silly version of Earth Angel. I do keep anticipating the vocals to sing “Angels of Harlem” rather than “Angel Sent You”
“Baghdad Daddy” is a particularly cringe-worthy song, introduced with an A&R man discrediting the band. The song has exaggerated vocals pared with deep complimentary vocals, singing a greaser-pub rock style song. The song uses the Beatles line from Come Together: “One and One and One is three”
“I Dreamt I Dreamt of Gefilte Fish” is a straight up silly Bob Dylan Parody song. And is another cringe worthy track. The singer sings of Gefilte Fish being eaten all of the time and everywhere in his place, which will most likely make him a Gefilte Fish soon. It has a very vaudevillian feel to it in the ending.

Stand Out Track: Shell Game

Steven Hart fr 2009

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