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School is Out: The Best of Gary U.S. Bonds

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Album Review

In the early '60s, nobody made noisier, crazier sounding rock & roll party records than U.S. Bonds, with records rife with massive amounts of echo and good times galore. The crudeness of Frank Guida's production techniques is undeniable; overdub upon overdub are lopped on top of each other until the original band track is buried under a muck of tape hiss and echo, a swirling pool of party noise that is unabated. Why Guida and Bonds were so successful with this formula, milking it for all it was commercially worth, is here to be investigated on this single-disc 18-track collection. The big hits are here: "Quarter to Three," "New Orleans," "School Is In," "School Is Out" (although the last two are missing the spoken intros that graced the original singles), "Dear Lady Twist," "Twist Twist Senora," and "Not Me." But curiously left out are several powerful tracks, most notably "Trip to the Moon," to make room for lesser tracks from later in Bonds's career. This is still the best overview available though, until somebody does a better retrospective or decides to reissue the original Legrand album.


Born: 06 June 1939 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Pop

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

After moving to the Norfolk, VA, area in the mid-'50s, young Gary Anderson began plying his vocal wares, first in church, later with a local group called the Turks. When he was not yet 21, he was approached by local record producer Frank Guida to join his tiny Legrand label. Guida changed Anderson's name to U.S. Bonds, hoping the first release would get extra airplay by disc jockeys mistaking it for a public-service announcement. The result was the classic "New Orleans," combining rock-combo raunch...
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School is Out: The Best of Gary U.S. Bonds, Gary U.S. Bonds
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