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Let’s Go! Clap, Stamp and Shake with The Routers!

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From psychedelic guitars to uninhibited drums, Ace Records’ 2012 release slate has been chock-full of wild instrumentals from the halcyon days of the 1960s.  A recent title, part of the label’s Limited Edition series, revisits that period with one of the snappiest groups to grace the Warner Bros. label: The Routers!

Just one glance at the song titles will clue you in as to the kind of ride you’re in for on A-Ooga!!!  Stamp & Shake with the Routers : “Let’s Go (Pony),” Snap, Crackle and Pop,” “Snap Happy,” “Sting Ray,” “Charge,” “Ah-Ya,” “Wild Weekend,” “Bucket Seats” and “Boom Ti Boom.”  Yes, A-Ooga!!!, compiled from singles, album tracks and unreleased material recorded between 1962 and 1964, will take you back to an era of girls, cars and surfing, when anything was possible for a generation of sun-kissed American youth.  Although the group’s individual albums were reissued by Collectors’ Choice Music on CD, this marks the first-ever anthology of the Routers’ music.

Joe Saraceno and Michael Z. Gordon were no strangers to the singles charts when they created The Routers, having previously supplied The Marketts with “Surfer’s Stomp,” played by a cadre of LA’s Wrecking Crew vets: Plas Johnson (“The Pink Panther”) on saxophone, Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Earl Palmer on drums, Jim Gordon on bass and Rene Hall on guitar.  Producer Saraceno, also a key figure in the career of The Ventures, brought Palmer, Tedesco, Hall and Johnson into his friend Ernie Freeman’s studio along with Ray Johnson (piano), Bill Pitman (guitar) and Jimmy Bond (bass) for the single that became The Routers’ calling card, “Let’s Go!”  Written by Lanny and Robert Duncan, the single was propelled to Top 20 status in 1962 with its famous handclaps, and The Routers were on their way.  Dave Burke and Alan Taylor, in their lengthy liner notes essay, even note the impact of “Let’s Go!” in England, with its claps repeated by the late sixties “at virtually every soccer ground in England with the shout of ‘Let’s Go!’ replaced by the name of the local team.”

We’ve got more after the jump, including track listing with discography and order link!

A Let’s Go! With the Routers LP followed, with many musicians from the single retained plus the additions of Steve Douglas on his trademark wailing sax, Jackie Kelso also on sax, and George Callender on bass.  Following the practice he employed with the Marketts, producer Saraceno included a photograph of a fresh-faced, all-white group on the back of the LP sleeve, keeping the musicians’ true identities well-hidden.  One of those touring musicians pictured on that album was none other than Scott Engel, the future Scott Walker of the Walker Brothers!

“Make It Snappy” and “Half Time” didn’t repeat the success of “Let’s Go!,” but the producer and his label weren’t deterred.  An album of 1963 Great Instrumental Hits came next, with Leon Russell on keyboards, Hal Blaine on drums and Ray Caton on electric guitar all added to the mix.  The line-up for this album very closely resembled that of the group for The Marketts’ Out of Limits LP – but who was noticing?  A touring version of The Routers was even tapped to appear in Fox’s Surf Party film opposite Bobby Vinton and Jackie DeShannon!  The group’s next LP, Charge!, was sports and school-themed, and a final Warner Bros. LP was devoted to The Chuck Berry Song Book.  Rene Hall arranged both.  Saraceno returned once more to The Routers’ name in 1973, long after the time had passed for the kind of carefree instrumental rock the group had epitomized.

Four previously unreleased tracks premiere on A-Ooga!!!: “The Green Door,” “Let’s La-La-La,” “Boom Ti Boom” and “Silverfinger.”  “Let’s Go,” subtitled “(Pony)” to capitalize on a then-current dance craze, leads the compilation off, but it soon veers into a pleasing blend of the group’s most loved songs and a heaping helping of rare songs that have never appeared on CD.  All but eight of the album’s tracks are in vivid stereo, remastered by Duncan Cowell at Sound Mastering, Ltd.

For a nostalgic snapshot of infectious teenage fun set to a soundtrack provided by Los Angeles’ finest musicians, this is one disc that can’t be beat.  A limited edition of 1,500 copies, A-Ooga!!! is in stores now from Ace Records, and can be ordered below!

The Routers, A-Ooga!!! Stamp & Shake with the Routers (Ace CDLUX008, 2012)

  1. Let’s Go (Pony) (Warner Bros. single 5283, 1962)
  2. A-Ooga (Warner Bros. single 5379, 1963)
  3. Make It Snappy (Warner Bros. single 5332, 1963)
  4. Snap, Crackle and Pop (Warner Bros. single 5403, 1963)
  5. Snap Happy (Warner Bros. single 5349, 1963)
  6. No Particular Place to Go (The Chuck Berry Song Book, Warner Bros. LP 1595, 1964)
  7. Sting Ray (Warner Bros. single 5349, 1963)
  8. Crack Up (Warner Bros. single 5444, 1964)
  9. Stamp and Shake (Warner Bros. single 5467, 1964)
  10. Amoeba (Warner Bros. single 5403, 1963)
  11. Pipeline (1963 Great Instrumental Hits, Warner Bros. LP 1524, 1964)
  12. The Green Door (previously unreleased)
  13. Half Time (Warner Bros. 5332, 1963)
  14. Charge! (Charge!, Warner Bros. LP 1559, 1964)
  15. Grandstand Stomp (Let’s Go with the Routers, Warner Bros. LP 1490, 1963)
  16. Washington and Lee Swing (Charge!, Warner Bros. LP 1559, 1964)
  17. Ah-Ya (Warner Bros. single 5467, 1964)
  18. Marie Elena (1963 Great Instrumental Hits, Warner Bros. LP 1524, 1964)
  19. Let’s La La La (previously unreleased)
  20. Bucket Seats (Let’s Go with the Routers, Warner Bros. LP 1490, 1963)
  21. Wild Weekend (1963 Great Instrumental Hits, Warner Bros. LP 1524, 1964)
  22. Boom Ti Boom (previously unreleased)
  23. Big Band (Warner Bros. single 5379, 1963)
  24. Pep Rally (Charge!, Warner Bros. LP 1559, 1964)
  25. Silverfinger (previously unreleased)
  26. Guitar Man (1963 Great Instrumental Hits, Warner Bros. LP 1524, 1964)
  27. Too Much Monkey Business (The Chuck Berry Song Book, Warner Bros. LP 1595, 1964)

Written by Joe Marchese

August 28, 2012 at 10:05

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