Various Artists – Halloween Nuggets: Haunted Underground Classics (review)

Various Artists – Halloween Nuggets: Haunted Underground Classics (Liberation Hall/Rock Beat)

Spice up that party with these spooky obscurities!

Halloween season is upon us.  Unfortunately, that means we get “Monster Mash,” “Ghostbusters,” “Thriller,” and a few other tired classics, over and over again.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Liberation Hall has just issued Halloween Nuggets: Haunted Underground Classics, to mix things up.  

Out of the 21 songs on this collection, the only ones you’re probably going to recognize are the three movie trailers (for The Blob, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and the Creature From the Black Lagoon).  That leaves 18 Halloween-themed songs that will sound fresh to your ears, and will liven up that drab party.

Bobby Bare is probably the biggest name on this collection – he’s featured with “Vampira.” Then, there’s Ervinna & the Stylers, who one-up Redbone for their take on “Witch Queen of New Orleans.”  

“It” from Jonny Fraser and the Regalaires is a swampy instrumental fueled by a honky sax and tinkling piano.  Some of the primitive sounds, like the wind blowing and monster noises in “Rockin’ in the Graveyard” from Jackie Morningstar, add to the charm.

There’s a good deal of instrumentals here – “Graveyard” by the Phantom Five is one of the best tracks here, it’s kind of the haunted version of the surf classic, “Pipeline,” complete with a similar sax solo, while “Devil Driver’s Theme” from The Vettes, mixes car sound effects with werewolf sounds to great result, and Richard Rome’s “Ghost a Go Go” eschews the typical guitar/sax approach and replaces it with organ and harp.

Things go from the strange to the absurd with The Elites doing “Jack the Ripper” who is “decreasing the population / disturbing the situation.”  “Zombie Stomp” by Billy Ghoulston has a Motown feel to it.

This groovy collection is available to stream, and, in physical form on CD and vinyl.

About my only complaint with this great collection is the lack of liner notes.  It would’ve been nice to have a line or two about each song – at least telling us what year every one of the tracks was from.  

Wake the dead with this great new collection from Liberation Hall.  —Tony Peters