Getting The Last Laugh
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 09/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There were so many bands that came up through the NYC CBGB's era that one can be forgiven for never having heard many of them. Or for that matter, thinking they were all either punks like The Ramones and Dead Boys or arty popsters like Blondie and The Talking Heads. For every band that got written up or made the charts, there were dozens that didn't. Enter The Laughing Dogs.
While they made their splash in the Max's/CBGB rush of NYC signings, The Laughing Dogs were a smart rock band with more Beatles/Who tendencies. There wasn't any anger or irony involved in their two Columbia albums, but there was plenty of good natured pop fun. They were a bunch of ace musicians, having backed the likes of Rupert Holmes and Davey Jones/Mickey Dolenz on recordings. So when The Laughing Dogs debut, produced by Bruce Botnik was released in 1979, most of the notice came on the group's sharp songwriting. "Get 'Em Outta Town" and "It's Alright, It's OK" are so darn good that how they slipped off the radar is beyond me. I loved 'em in my college radio days, and thought the similarity between this album cover and the Who's Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy was not unintentional. They had a grip on the best of that early 70's hybrid of pop and rock and were pulling it handily into the 80's.
Those comparisons to The Beatles, Who and even The Rascals were even more concrete on "Meet Their Makers." Featuring one of the best album covers of all time, and I do mean of all time...the band members each with their moms smacking them around, and the back cover, playing their sons' instruments as the band cowers in terror, it was even a better album than the debut. "Zombies" takes on the trend-mongers that insist that they knew better than you what your tastes should be. The mild protest of "Formal Letter" saw the band stretching out topically. And again, a great missed single on the album's closer, "Two Who Are Willing."
Sadly, that was The Last of The Laughing Dogs. (Although they still do the occasional one-off show.) Like so many of the great New York bands that couldn't get on the charts or just never seemed to get the success to match the acclaim (The Shirts, Mink DeVille), The Dogs seemed doomed to obscurity until now. Trust me, like the recent Amrican Beat reissues from The Fools and The A's, I snapped this up as soon as I spotted it. If any of the bands mentioned here tickle your memory switch, it may be time to allow these dogs to have their day."
Finally!-A New York band that doesn't suck!
Joseph O. Thayer | California | 09/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Way underrated, under-exposed(too much clothing),terrific songwriting,awesome vocals,these guys had everything but the proper recognition outside of their region."
Wow! Can't believe it's true!
Tomm | Upstate, NY United States | 11/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, after all this time looking for new copies
of these great albums! Here they are! I haven't been
this excited since discovering the group "The Producers"
has also been released on cd! I am going to CRANK it!"