Wild Thing (one reviewer at RYM calls them Steppenwolf Jr.) were a conceptional biker group conceived by Jac Holtzman, head of Elektra Records. The group consisted of Poncho Vidal (guitar), Patrick Mitchell (bass-vocal), Jesse P. Brock (organ-vocals) and Dennis Ianntelli (drums).
Their album “Partyin’” contains cover versions of songs from the mid to late sixties including such hits as “Born To Be Wild”, “In A Gadda-Da- Vida”, “Good Lovin’” and “Wild Thing”. The “Born To Be Wild” biker exploitation angle was likely perceived to cash in on the success of film”Easy Rider” released the same year.
WOW!, Elektra label, now were really talking muso-bizzness. Exploito-Elektra hmmm?….. maybe less of a wow? 1968. Ezy Rider was out there, leader of the pack and all who jumped on its bandwagon were happy to be followers, chasing the $s. And I suppose thats what “Partyin’” is: a reactive album rather than a proactive one. cos reactions often generate the cash register.
The band Wild Thing simply set about recording 14 covers simply. and simply got the product in the can. BUT were they, are they any good?, for those who prefer originals, stick to the originals and steer well clear of this, HOWEVER, this will appeal to ALL of us who so loved our local bands playing our local scene. The boys know their limits but do play to the edge of their talent.
EXPLOITO albums do bring something to the table that big names don’t (i.e. straight shooting from the hip), nothing too arty, simply get in, do the business and keep all on show within a tight-nit-fit. As the album unfolds, Jesse’s organ and Dennis’ drums do kick up some ass and the husky vocalist does hit the notes. The bass lines glue the sound together and on some tracks Poncho gets to shine.
However, to enjoy this album one has to suspend disbelief and not compare any of these versions with the real thing. As the album develops it is apparent that the target audience is perceived by Elektra to be an eclectic wide one.
The title “Partyin‘” makes sure theres a fair degree of blue-eyed soul in the mix, (half of the album), ensuring that the groovy dancers can do their thing, while the other half who prefer to sit things out, can revel in the heavier numbers on show.
Poncho’s guitar becomes prominent during “Mercy”, which has me loving the band, as they are obviously having a whale of a time. Some may find “Mercy” rather pedestrian..me I found it strangely the STAND OUT track? “My Girl” is one where the party goers can snuggle up a bit, and exchange phone and zip codes. The three closers sum up the band, “Revolution” allows Poncho to really blast out his lines with gusto as our fearless foursome go for an extended smorgasbord swirl of noise.
The boys check their watches and kick in with a rave up of “Sooky-Sooky” as they really try to come on over as We are hip! And so the generous 14 tracks on show end up with Wild Thing’s version of “Wild Thing“, which is slow enough to allow our party goers to really pair off and head for the exits enabling them to take in their next sunrise.
So what’s on show is a little of this and a lot of that and like Tom Waits said of music like this, Its shopping music, nothing too interruptive! , that said, after my listen I sure do miss parties like the one on show here. Interruptive? nay, simply nostalgic. summed up by the albums art-work do you not see yourself there? (by Aye Afloat)
And yes: This is a celebration of Rock N Roll !
01. Born To Be Wild (Bonfire) 3.10
02. Hold On I’m Coming (Hayes/Porter) 2.53
03. Magic Carpet Ride (Moreve/Kay) 2.10
04. In The Midnight Hour (Pickett/Cropper) 2.31
05. Good Lovin’ (Clark/Resnick) 2.31
06. Mustang Sally (Rice) 2.55
07. Revolution (Lennon/McCartney) 3.20
08. In A Gadda-Da-Vida (Ingle) 2.47
09, My Girl (Robinson/White) 2.48
10. Sooky – Sooky (Covay/Cropper) 2.58
11. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Williams/Watson/Zawinul) 2.49
12. Born On The Bayou (Fogerty) 2.50
13. Knock On Wood (Floyd/Cropper) 3,19
14. Wild Thing (Taylor) 2.46