12 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Real Kids leader John Felice was outsider student of outsider rock ’n’ roll, an obvious first-generation fan (there weren’t many) of The MC5 and The Stooges. So for a Boston kid who was, in the early '70s, an original member of the somewhat calmer Modern Lovers with Jonathan Richman, this 1977 debut finds Felice and the boys getting their complete ya-ya’s out. Every song nearly careens off the track and is subsumed with youthful verve and rock ’n’ roll sexual tension. There’s lots of punked-up power pop (“Taxi Boys,” “Better Be Good”) and tortured blues (“She’s Alright,” “Roberta”)—the very kind that made cult heroes of The Flamin’ Groovies, Eddie & The Hot Rods, and even Big Star. You also get barreling versions of songs by Buddy Holly (“Rave On”) and Eddie Cochrane (“My Way”) and a not-so-innocent Velvet Underground doppelganger (“Just Like Darts”). The truth is, “All Kindsa Girls” and “My Baby’s Book” would have, in a just and fair universe, made the band huge. That doesn’t mean The Real Kids isn’t a stone-cold punk-era classic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Real Kids leader John Felice was outsider student of outsider rock ’n’ roll, an obvious first-generation fan (there weren’t many) of The MC5 and The Stooges. So for a Boston kid who was, in the early '70s, an original member of the somewhat calmer Modern Lovers with Jonathan Richman, this 1977 debut finds Felice and the boys getting their complete ya-ya’s out. Every song nearly careens off the track and is subsumed with youthful verve and rock ’n’ roll sexual tension. There’s lots of punked-up power pop (“Taxi Boys,” “Better Be Good”) and tortured blues (“She’s Alright,” “Roberta”)—the very kind that made cult heroes of The Flamin’ Groovies, Eddie & The Hot Rods, and even Big Star. You also get barreling versions of songs by Buddy Holly (“Rave On”) and Eddie Cochrane (“My Way”) and a not-so-innocent Velvet Underground doppelganger (“Just Like Darts”). The truth is, “All Kindsa Girls” and “My Baby’s Book” would have, in a just and fair universe, made the band huge. That doesn’t mean The Real Kids isn’t a stone-cold punk-era classic.

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