On Second Thought: Hoodoo Gurus, Woggles – Vindicated!: Tribute to the Fleshtones (2007)

A promised new album from the Fleshtones called Wheel of Talent, due in January 2014, brought me back to this 24-tune tribute project. Vindicated! was similar in theme to the Fuzztones tribute album from 2006, in that we’re treated to bands from around the World performing songs from the honored band’s beginnings to their recent albums. Some you know and others you may not have heard of, but all of them due justice to what is easily the hardest working live band out there — bar none.

Los Chicos from Spain starts things off right with a spirited and faithful version of “Living Legends,” while Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus turn in a high-octane hard-rocking “Pickin’ Pickin.” ‘I Am What I Am’ proclaim Sweden’s caveman stompers the Maggots, in furious Fleshtones fashion. The Insomniacs, one of a handful of bands representing the U.S., turn out a Mod Who-influenced version of “I Wanna Feel Something Now.” Pretty cool! Scotland’s The Primevals pull out their own brand of Euro-garage magic for “Screamin’ Skull.” Very good.

Hans Frank from the U.S., meanwhile, sets a very different mood with sound effects and a swampy acoustic for his take on “Whistling Past The Grave.” Snax featuring Halloween Jack features an amalgam of players from the U.S., France and Germany performing a funky electronic version of “Green Good Crack,” the tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek ‘Tones tune — and it’s easily the most radical versions done on this tribute. Italy’s the Psychotones get fuzzy with “Hitsburg U.S.A.,” while new wavers the Slickee Boys (also from the U.S.) turn out “Headlock On My Heart” in their own straight-ahead rockin’ way. England’s Richard Mazda’s 1980s-arena rock take on “Hope Come Back” is not much to speak about, but the Slow Slushy Boys (from France) tackle “I’ve Gotta Change My Life” with their very cool, vintage 1965 garage-organ sound. Nice!

The U.S.’s Hate Bombs contribute a moody, pounding “The Dreg.” Strangely enough, the Subway Surfers sound more like the Ramones on “Dreaming About Work” than The Fleshtones. And what can you say about the Woggles’ version of the Fleshtones’ anthem instrumental “The Theme From The Vindicators?” Excellent comes to mind. It’s the one performance that comes close to capturing the Fleshtones’ spirit! The Swingin’ Neckbreakers do their usual slash n’ burn on “3 Fevers,” while Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators — yet another American act — leads Sweden’s Nomads authoritatively through a rousing and rocking “American Beat ’07″ — and watch out for the swell hidden bonus live track at the end.

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.