The Woggles – Teendanceparty (1994): Forgotten series

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A group with the sound and spirit of 1960s-era garage bands, the Woggles are best decribed by the things they are not — despite being from Athens, Ga.

No Dead influences. No side projects with Peter Buck. “Teendanceparty” is, instead, refreshingly free of any jangly pretense.

In fact, the Woggles’ muscular, long-playing debut was built on a rock-solid foundation of three-chord chromosomes — much of that thanks to original guitarist George “Montaque” Holton III, who passed away in 2003.

Yet, it’s also kinda rockabilly, and kinda country. (Read: mostly effects-free picking.) It’s a kinda surf-punkish and boogie woogie, too. (Read: The occasional loping, gurgly organ fills.) There’s even a goofy retro-dance cut, as the Woggles kick up their heels on “My Baby Like to Boogaloo,” a great tune with a hippy-chick back beat.

That air of loose-limbed experimentation keeps the band from being any of those things exclusively, though. It’s all of that, and usually something more.

But always, always fun. That’s best played out on the instrumental “Mad Dog 20-20,” with its wacky, go-go groove. Manfred “The Professor” Jones’ vocals sound like they were sung by the furry muppet that plays the drums.

One disappointment: “Abba,” sadly, is about some girl — not the sweet-singing vocal group.

“Teendanceparty” remains a nice primer on the Woggles, who still tour regularly two decades into their career.

The group more recently put out the critically well-received “Rock And Roll Backlash” — its first since the death of Holton, who has been replaced by Jeff “Flesh Hammer” Walls, the former guitarist from Guadalcanal Diary. Track 2 on that one, called “It’s Not About What I Want (It’s What You Got),” was voted by listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage as the Coolest Song of 2006.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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