Originated in 1942 as teenage comic-strip characters, the Archies found new means of employment in the late ’60s when Don Kirshner, the fellow behind the birth of the Monkees, not only turned them into a Saturday morning cartoon show but enlisted a crew of respected songwriters and studio musicians to cut discs under the name of the beloved kids from Riverdale.
Ron Dante, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Toni Wine, Joey Levine, Andy Kim, Hugh McCracken and Bobby Bloom were some of the folks who participated in the sound and vision of the fictional band.
Although serious rock fans and critics, meaning those believing credible music revolved strictly around political and artistic statements, cried foul, there’s no argument the Archies concocted tunes as crafty, clever and imaginative as anything the revolutionary British Invasion bands peddled a few years earlier.
Right off the cuff, the Archies proved the cynics wrong, as their debut single “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” made the top thirty charts. The band’s next effort, “Sugar Sugar,” which is included here on their second album, Everything’s Archie (Calendar Records) fared even better, going all the way to No. 1 in the summer of 1969. Anchored by a pleasantly peppy beat and hooks so intoxicating they should be branded illegal, it was only expected a song this irresistible would catch on.
A true blue bubblegum marathon, Everything’s Archie bulges at the stitches to a delicious display of handclapping, rustling tambourines, kinetic keyboards and pillows of celestial harmonies. Hanging out with Mama Cass (of the Mamas and Papas) and having a great time is what the Archies are doing on the boppy and bouncy “S.K.O.O.B.Y. D.O.O. (Feelin’ So Good),” while the humorous “Don’t Touch My Guitar” and the doo-wop driven “You Little Angel You” receive raves as other notable offerings featured on the disc.
Generated by stabbing grooves, the racing rhythms of “Melody Hill,” the spinning sensations of “Inside Out Upside Down” and the dance power of “Rock & Roll Music” also take the biscuit, where the warm and fuzzy “Bicycles, Roller Skates And You” favors a softer and gentler angle.
A sure cure for a blue mood, Everything’s Archie twinkles and twirls with positive energy. You’d be hard pressed to find tunes humming with so much elation, but then again that was the point and purpose of bubblegum music. Punching in as a premier presentation of the genre, Everything’s Archie abounds with sweet and juicy stuff that’s hopelessly addictive!
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