Considering Peter Stampfel has, at the youthful age of 80, been releasing albums under a dozen or so various incarnations—both solo and as part of a group—for over the past 50 years, the new album by Peter Stampfel And The Atomic Meta Pagans being reviewed herein might be met with initial confusion.
Until, that is, one realizes that, having performed with not only his “bread and butter band” Holy Modal Rounders into the 00s, he’s also shared creative space with artists as diverse as Bongwater, They Might Be Giants, and Baby Gramps. The man’s pretty much the father of psychedelic folk, but this ain’t no history lesson, so let’s get on with it.
For the unchurched—and, to be fair, most musicians seeking to more than eke out an existence—beginning an album with an improv ditty called “Feeding The Cats” might seem a bad move, but it’s here we find Stampfel and his experimental vocal foil Shelley Hirsch debating dietary options for hungry cats. If you can make it into bluegrass send-up “Casey Jones” without a smile on your face, you’re probably, no, definitely in the wrongest place.
“Grin” toys with pronunciations, while “Diarrhea Of A Madman” (sadly, not an Ozzy Osbourne parody) keeps the gigglers a’ giggling. Our current politi-criminal administration gets its time in the hot seat here and there, mostly on “Red, Blue And Hot.”
Sports culture is celebrated/lambasted in “New Football Blues,” and the penultimately-placed “Frolic You, You Frolicking Frolic” is exactly as fun as you imagine it to be.
For fans of good times, bad improv, old time music, and the Paleozoic, I present to you… this!