Dun-dun-dun! It's Day Four of Rush Week and we're entering the digital age of frat rock compilations with four compact discs, including one of the earliest frat rock CDs from 1988, one from the short lived American Beat label and two identical discs under different titles from Compass Productions, circa 2006-2008. After covering seven albums in three days, we have about 130 different songs in the master frat rock playlist. Will these CDs add to that total? Or will they just feature digital doppelgängers?
Priority Records entered the genre with the budget-priced The Best Of 60s Party Rock, complete with a portrait of toga partiers on the cover and fourteen tracks on the disc. The tracklist starts out strong with certified frat rock essentials by The Kingsmen, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Tommy James & Shondells (sic), The McCoys and Cannibal & the Headhunters. Two other party starters from The Swingin' Medallions and The Isley Brothers come along later making The Best Of 60s Party Rock a winner. Unlike a lot of compact discs, where the desire is to hear sparkling clear sound, this is one where the songs sound appropriately primitive and rough around the edges. The notoriously clipped mastering that Priority is known for actually benefits and enhances the listening experience this time around. Only two songs from The Best Of 60s Party Rock were added to the master frat rock playlist.
One of six(!) titles in American Beat's The Sixties Series from 2006 and 2007, Frat House Hits states its intent right there in the title and then lets the music back it up. There are five tracks here that appeared on the decades earlier CD above though the mastering is different on this one- somewhat cleaner and louder ("brickwalled"). But there are only ten tracks for a total of 25 minutes. Yes it was budget-priced at about $6 MSRP ten years ago but by then frat rock collectors already had all of these songs elsewhere. Frat Rock Hits is a fine, cheap and brief introduction to the genre for the newb and unsurprisingly, many many still sealed copies are readily available through usual online retailers. Still, Frat House Hits adds three tracks to what is now being referred to as The Ultimate Frat Rock Playlist.
The Hideaway is located in the Southwest urban desert, in a basin surrounded by four mountain ranges. It is a sweet location that is quiet and secluded (for a planned community with an HOA) with minimal street lamps and within walking distance of both a Target and a Wal-Mart, both of them expanded to include decent grocery sections. I visit Wal-Mart maybe once every six weeks but Target is more of a every two weeks shop. No matter what I am specifically shopping for, and I always shop from a prepared list, I make a beeline over to the CD department to see what's new, what's a Target Exclusive with bonus content and to check out the display of cheap, themed compilation discs. The discs pictured immediately above, Frat Party Rock and 60s Frat Party, once were part of that regularly changing area and goes to show you that just because a disc has new artwork (featuring the same model) and a new title, it may still contain the same songs as the last disc you bought there. Each CD offers the same 17 tracks though the earlier Frat Party Rock release listed the final five songs as Bonus Songs and the latter 60s Frat Party just lists all seventeen songs without any indication of a bonus. These CDs were cheap to begin with and only got cheaper if they didn't sell and were clearanced to make room for the next wave of titles. Hands down, these are the best discs in today's post and the perfect starting and ending point for most people who want a solid frat rock compilation. The only thing missing is an Isley Brothers "shout" song. Three songs from Frat Party Rock aka 60s Frat Party were added to The Ultimate Frat Rock Playlist, bringing the total to 138 songs or almost six hours of party time.
Miss any days of Rush Week yet? Don't just sit there with the cheerleaders - click on the Rush Week tag below to see what you missed and join us as Rush Week rambles on with Day Five, Toga Rock!