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Kind of a Drag - Single

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Album Review

Given its source, Kind of a Drag was one of the most extraordinary albums of the 1960s. One expected great, diverse LPs out of the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, among others; by contrast, even the better albums by top garage-punk outfits such as the 13th Floor Elevators generally had a one-note feel to them, or were conspicuously strong in one direction. So when a Chicago-based garage band (or were they a garage band?) like the Buckinghams, with one serious hit (the title track) to their name, put out a long-player that embraced soul, blues, garage punk, and English pop-rock with just about equal aplomb, it must have caught purchasers, radio programmers, and music writers alike off guard. Kind of a Drag isn't the kind of searing punk document that their Windy City rivals the Shadows of Knight presented with their two LPs — the latter group's work stood next to the Buckinghams roughly where the Who's albums did next to those of the Beatles. The Buckinghams' lean, guitar-driven garage punk versions of "Sweets for My Sweet" (a cover of the Searchers' version, not the Drifters') and the Hollies' "I've Been Wrong" are juxtaposed with a horn-ornamented version of the Beatles' "I Call Your Name" — on which the lead guitar is playing what sound almost like mandolin riffs; and all are sandwiched between the horn-driven "I'll Go Crazy" and the raw, bluesy "I'm a Man" (patterned after the Yardbirds' rendition, with some twists that are all the Buckinghams' own). They still come off somewhat as light-weights, as on their cover of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," but that's a minor lapse. The Sundazed CD reissue restores "I'm a Man," which was pulled off of the original LP, and it also has about the best sound that this release has ever offered.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

If everyone on the northwest side of Chicago who claims to have hung out with the Buckinghams during their heyday had faithfully bought all their releases, the rock group might have sold more records than the Beatles. Popular attractions while still in high school, the quintet changed its name from the Pulsations to the Buckinghams to reflect the British Invasion craze and signed with Chicago's USA Records in 1966. Backing Dennis Tufano's buoyant lead vocals with prominent harmonies and punchy soul-styled...
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Kind of a Drag - Single, The Buckinghams
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