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Album Review

Unless, like the Holy Modal Rounders, you've spent a lot of time listening to Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music while ingesting recreational drugs, their music might sound a bit odd to you. Actually, given the ramshackle performances, it sounds a bit odd in any case, but as with any humorously intended work, appreciation of it depends on one's sympathy with the artists. For initiates, this seventh (and, so it seemed at the time of its release, final) album was one of the Rounders' better ones, with Peter Stampfel, Chris Weber, and especially Robin Remaily turning out characteristic new work and covers of old songs like "Euphoria" and "If You Want to Be a Bird" backed by a rhythm section. "August, 1967 (Hippies Call It STP)," borrows its tune from "Fishin' Blues," while head Rounders Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber sing a paean to psychedelic drug use that breaks down into odd references such as this allusion to Amos & Andy: "'Splain dat to me, Kingfish, it ain't too clear/King it to me, 'splainfsh, said the engineer."The CD reissue released on June 27, 2000, added three bonus tracks. "TV Song" is a tribute to the addictive power of television; "Year of Jubilo" revives a Civil War victory celebration; and "Snappin' Pussy" is an appropriately bawdy follow-up to an earlier Rounders favorite, "Boobs a Lot."


Formed: 1963 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

The Holy Modal Rounders were almost the very definition of a cult act. This isn't a case of a group that would be described by such clichés as "if only they got more exposure, they would certainly reach a much wider audience." Their audience was small because their music was too strange, idiosyncratic, and at times downright dissonant for mainstream listeners to abide. What makes the Rounders unusual in this regard is that they owed primary allegiance to the world of acoustic folk -- not one that...
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Last Round, The Holy Modal Rounders
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