Robbie The Werewolf – At The Waleback (1964) review
Robbie The Werewolf “At The Waleback” (Gear Fab Records, 1964/2016)
Although the weird and wonderful prevails at “It’s Psychedelic Baby,” few albums are odder than this strange slab of vinyl. Taped live in 1964 at the Waleback in Santa Monica, California, the obscenely rare disc stars Robbie Robison plucking an acoustic guitar and singing kooky tunes about Halloween characters, sex, drinking and drugs that were quite radical for its day.
Robbie’s mad and manical tenor, supplanted with his insane lyrics, are both entertaining and ridiculous, pointing towards an album you’ll either love or hate. Vampires, a horny devil, Count Dracula, marijuana, a little brother encountering sharks, tip-toeing through the tulips, a flamenco story, tooling the streets of Transylvania, a warped version of “Tom Dooley,” and of course the werewolf himself, are just some of wackiness to be experienced throughout the album. The laughter from the audience indicates they were having a good time and appreciated Robbie’s freaky sense of humor, making the package an intimate and genuine affair. The marriage of folk music and comedy isn’t too unique, but Robbie’s left-field topics are certainly novel, and that itself places “At The Waleback” in a singular category. The album was never released on a proper label and a very small number of copies were cut, so many thanks to Gear Fab Records for raising it from the dead and giving it a digital rebirth.
Sixties rock fans (and that naturally includes you) probably already know that Robbie The Werewolf met with further fame as guitarist for Clear Light, whose 1967 self-titled album is a psychedelic masterpiece. And if you continue to connect the dots, Robbie’s wife, Barbara was the vocalist for the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, another great band from the acid rock era. Liner notes and trips down memory lane from music historian Gray Newell and Peanut Butter Conspiracy bassist Alan Brackett also come with the album. It’s all too groovy!
Review by Beverly Paterson/2016
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