11 Songs, 28 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
5 Ratings
5 Ratings
Mac Badger ,

Chewy-Yummy!!!!!

I feel like i'm back grade school, This was one of my first LPs before i broke the bubblegum sound but this is sweet and sticky fun i LOVE it.

hyperbolium ,

Sweet second album from bubblegum legends

Alongside the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Ohio Express was among the purest expressions of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz’s bubblegum ethos. “Ohio Express” was used to name several different musical groups, including singles originally recorded by Rare Breed, a touring outfit originally called Sir Timothy & The Royals, and various aggregations of New York studio musicians fronted by the nasal vocals of singer/songwriter Joey Levine. It’s the latter group that hit with Levine’s “Yummy Yummy Yummy” (a song that plays “God Bless America” to the Archies’ national anthem, “Sugar Sugar”), and followed-up with the title track of this 1969 album. Levine would leave the group shortly after the album’s release, and still another edition of the Ohio Express, comprised of future members of 10cc, released the Graham Gouldman-penned “Sausalito (Is the Place to Go).”

Like the best of the bubblegum groups, the Ohio Express fashioned nursery-rhyme lyrics, earworm pop melodies and sharp studio production into music as effervescent as it is devoid of intellectual calories. If you’re looking for scholarly heft, you need to look elsewhere, but if you want two-minutes-thirty-eight that can lift your mood, “Chewy Chewy” is a good bet. In addition to Levine’s originals, the group covered a pair of 1910 Fruitgum Company hits (“1, 2, 3 Red Light” and “Simon Says,” apparently with reused backing tracks), employing Partridge Family-styled harmony vocals and touches of organ. There’s light psych (“Let it Take You”) and Tommy James-styled frat rock (“So Good, So Fine”), and though “Yes Sir” unashamedly borrows from “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” it shows that the hook still had life in it.

Resnick’s ballad “Fun” provides a few minute’s respite from the relentlessly chirpy bubblegum productions, and the odd bits of dialog laid in between several of the cuts suggest the quick-cutting, non-sequitur humor of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Chewy Chewy album is available as a two-fer with the group’s eponymous Buddah debut, the latter of which is otherwise out-of-print in the US. If you’re looking for all of the group’s biggest hits in one place, opt for the Best Of, which includes “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” “Down at Lulu’s,” “Chewy Chewy,” “Mercy,” and “Sausalito (Is the Way to Go),” but for the group’s devotees, it’s great to have the album cuts readily available. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

About Ohio Express

Formed from the ashes of Rare Breed, Mansfield Ohio's the Ohio Express came together in 1967 and enjoyed some of the largest successes of the bubblegum rock craze of the late '60s. The initial line-up included Joey Levine on vocals, Dale Powers on guitar, Doug Grassel on second guitar, Jim Pflayer on keyboards, Dean Krastan on bass and Tim Corwin on drums. Under the aegis of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, Ohio Express surfaced repeatedly on the late-'60s pop charts.

Their first single, a reworked Rare Breed tune called "Beg, Borrow and Steal" cracked the charts, but it was the sugary-sweet one-two punch of "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy" that produced their biggest hits. These tunes were pair of million-sellers for the band and their label, bubblegum powerhouse Buddah Records. Future 10cc leader Graham Gouldman sang lead on their final chart bow in 1969, "Sausalito (Is the Place to Go)." The band had a somewhat nebulous existence for the next two decades. For a brief time in the mid-'70s, Kasenetz and Katz assembled a version of Ohio Express made up of completely new musicians to play the band's hits in Long Island clubs and dive bars. This in-name-only version of the band was short-lived. In the 1980s, original drummer Tim Corwin assembled a new lineup of the group and they began touring the oldies circuit playing the band's late-'60s hits. In 2012 this version of the band offered up Bubblegum Days, an album of newly recorded versions of both their most famous hits as well as other covers from the bubblegum era. ~ Bill Dahl & Fred Thomas

ORIGIN
Mansfield, OH
GENRE
Pop
FORMED
1967

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