Hot Sox

Sha Na Na

Kama Sutra Records, 1974



What do you think of when the "band" Sha Na Na comes to mind? Most likely your answers would be that they had their own TV show. They were the dance band in the movie Grease. And what you may not have known that they played at the first Woodstock.

Sha Na Na, an 50s-early 60s oldies band, released albums back in the 1970s. Back when oldies were hip, thanks to the TV show Happy Days, Sha Na Na was a happening group that brought back the early days of rock and roll. Of these albums, Hot Sox, released in 1974, is probably considered their best.

The common oldies are here as usual, plus some originals! The oldies list is here, as in previous albums:

The Reflections' "Romeo and Juliet"

The Essex's "Easier Said Than Done"

The Crew Cuts' "Sh-Boom"

Joe Jones' "You Talk Too Much"

The Jive Bombers' "Bad Boy"

Huey Piano Smith's "Don't You Just Know It"

And each version by Sha Na Na is fresh and exciting as the originals.

Then there are the originals, something that wasn't expected as in previous releases. "Maybe I'm Old-Fashioned," a song that starts out the album. A very well-done tune, in the late 50s oldies style.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track "Hot Sox," is more of a novelty song, and probably the best song on the album. It features vocalist Jon "Bowzer" Baumann, and for those of you who remember him, this big-mouth singer was a very comedical character. "Hot Sox" is no exception. It's a very funny tune about dancing with those "Hot Sox" on. As much as Robert Parker's dancin' "Barefootin'" was, ShaNaNa puts clothing attire on those feet, and makes it just as much fun to dance and listen to.

"Stroll All Night" is a nasal-type vocal tune, that is almost as good as the remaining tunes on the album. Another "novelty" number, is "Too Chubby To Boogie." The lyrics are hysterical: "Too Chubby to Boogie, Too Chubby to Rock & Roll. Too Rolly-Polly to Rock & Roll."

And the last selection is a slow-dance song, which is great to end the album, "Dreams Come True." Most of the Sha Na Na albums ended with a slow-dance tune such as this one.

When Sha Na Na first started releasing albums, they were mostly from live performances. Hot Sox is an all-studio album, which makes this album even greater than their previous releases. And most of their albums included posters of the band. In Hot Sox, it featured small baseball-card sized pictures of each member of the band, and like baseball cards, they were autographed. If you get a chance to see the back side of this album, a circle of pictures is shown of these autographed picture cards.

Sha Na Na has only one CD on the record stores shelves. It's their live recording of From The Streets Of New York. As much as this band may not have been as popular as the big names in the Seventies, this band was very enjoyable to watch, especially for those who lived through the rock and roll 50s, and for those who like the oldies in general. Maybe one day their remaining releases will be reissued on CD.

Sha Na Na has gone through personnel changes, and there are only 4 original members remaining today: Jocko Marcellino (drummer), Donny York (vocals), Lennie Baker (sax) and Screamin' Scott Simon (piano). They performed at the Woodstock '69 Reunion. They, along with Crosby, Stills & Nash were two of the original groups who performed at the original Woodstock in 1969.

For those who love the oldies, and for those of you who were around back then, I'm sure that Sha Na Na was one of the bands that were playing in your area. Sha Na Na was the very first concert I ever attended. Our seats weren't the greatest, but from what I remember, they did a great impersonation tribute to Elton John.

Rating: A

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© 1998 Eric E5S16 and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Kama Sutra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.