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Early Hi-Ball Years

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Album Review

Long before this Chicago quartet traded in their musical saws and xylophones for a tedious, but thankfully short-lived college-rock phase, the Coctails were the ultimate lounge-garage act. Their gimmick not only consisted of a multi-instrumentation of pop and jazz directly imported from the 1960s; they also had a fan club that sent out exclusive singles, a newsletter, and even toys. The Early Hi-Ball Years perfectly captures the Coctails during this era when they were in their quirky prime. Taken from their self-released albums Hip Hip Hooray!, Here Now Today, and Songs for Children, each track has an unpredictable uniqueness of lounge and rock & roll nostalgia — a result of their combined use of banjos, organs, bells, vibraphones, saxophones, clarinets, and other instruments.


Formed: 1989 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Progenitors of the lounge revival movement, kitsch-pop icons the Coctails formed in Kansas City in 1989; making their debut at an area art gallery clad in matching yellow tuxedos complete with maroon bowties. The group (singers/multi-instrumentalists Archer Prewitt, Mark Greenberg, John Upchurch, and Barry Phipps) forged a unique, eclectic sound celebrating the sound and imagery of '50s-era space age bachelor pad music, drawing influence from everyone from Miles Davis to Martin Denny. After issuing...
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Early Hi-Ball Years, The Coctails
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