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WOW It's...The Lounge-O-Leers

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Album Review

Ricky Ritzel and Aaron "Hot Rod" Morishita have come up with a unique and very entertaining album where they cover pop, country, and other assorted well-known tunes that both make the charts and put some solid kick in them. Both of these multi-instrumentalists supply all the music and do the vocals. And they do all of this on the improbably named label Emenar. Most of the pieces are from the 1998-1999 period, but there's one oldie, "A Summer Song" (from 1964), that was originally recorded by Chad & Jeremy and reached number seven during that year. This entire session is pure unadulterated groove done with humor and a bit of satire of the original, as they hit the groove right on the head with their pounding keyboards. Not all the covers are pure pop. "Mambo No. 5" is out of a Perez Parado chart with lyrics by Lou Bega, who recorded the tune in 1999. Peter Gunn, from the late-'50s TV show with the same name, gets a slam-band workout by the two performers — not quite the original Ray Anthony record. No pop icon is safe from the audacious antics of these loungers. They even go after dominant divas with their interpretations of Celine Dion's "My Heart Go Will On," Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger," and Britney Spears' "Oops...I Did It Again." In keeping with homespun lounge psychology, there's a strange but sincere instruction for living and drinking (especially drinking) on "Everybody's Free (To Feel Groovy)." There's fun all around on this happy album with homemade arrangements, which gives this popular music a much different twist than the original versions. This album could liven up a party by seeing how many can identify the tune and who sang it when. Recommended.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

New York City retro-satirists the Lounge-O-Leers teamed singer/keyboardist Ricky Ritzel and singer/percussionist Aaron "Hot Rod" Morishita. The duo's debut, Experiment in Terror, quickly established their musical modus operandi with kitschy, lounge-inspired renditions of everything from "Stairway to Heaven" to "Wannabe." Subsequent outings include The...
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WOW It's...The Lounge-O-Leers, The Lounge-O-Leers
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