Fans of the long out-of-print ATOMIC CAFE soundtrack were no doubt thrilled to hear the news that Buzzola (through Chrome Dreams in the UK) had released a compilation of Atomic songs entitled "Like an Atom Bomb: Apocalyptic Songs from the Cold War Era." The CONELRAD staff, for purely selfish reasons, was quite hopeful that such a release would answer the hopes and dreams of our readers once and for all. For if we've gotten one obsessive e-mail about the dearth of classic Atomic platters on CD, we’ve gotten a thousand.
Unfortunately, having heard the album, the consensus is: If you're lucky enough to have a copy of the CAFE soundtrack, hold on to your vinyl. Make a CD copy of it and put your record in a temperature controlled vault. In fact, make two CD copies and ship your album to Iron Mountain.
Indeed, we're saddened to report that "Like an Atom Bomb" is nothing but a quick cash-in on the minor, but fervent mania for all things atomic. From it's cheap graphics to its woefully thin liner notes (the writer, Neil Kellas, doesn't even cite years for the songs!), this collection is a major disappointment. With one notable exception, the non-CAFE songs on the 18-song compilation are curious and uninspired choices ("No, No Joe" by Hank Williams being the exception).
The ATOMIC CAFE soundtrack was as clever as the movie it sprang from. It had newsreel audio that established a context, its selection of songs ran the gamut of Cold War weirdness and its liner notes were written by a music scholar who knew his business (and his years!). This collection, on the other hand, is bland as can be.
It brings us no joy whatsoever to post this review, but we do so to let our readers know that we know what's out there and we feel an obligation to share our thoughts.
Perhaps, though, there is a secret Manhattan Project of sorts in the works out there somewhere with the goal of presenting the definitive Cold War music box set complete with incredible liner notes. If so, this release will hit...(great God Almighty) like an atom bomb!
|LIKE AN ATOM BOMB: APOCALYPTIC SONGS FROM THE COLD WAR ERA|
TRACK LISTING - Buzzola  Available from Amazon.com
|1.|| JESUS HITS LIKE AN ATOM BOMB: The Pilgrim Travellers|
|2.|| ATOMIC SERMON: Billy Hughs & His Rhythm Buckaroos|
|3.|| ATOMIC POWER: The Buchanan Brothers|
|4.|| WHEN THEY DROPPED THE ATOMIC BOMB: Jackie Doll & His Pickled Peppers|
|5.|| OLD MAN ATOM: The Sons of the Pioneers|
|6.|| ATOM AND EVIL: Gold Gate Quartet|
|7.|| NO NO JOE: Hank Williams|
|8.|| JESUS IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE: The Pilgrim Travellers|
|9.|| WHEN THE ATOM BOMB FELL: Karl & Harty|
|10.|| WIN THE WAR BLUES: Sonny Boy Williamson|
|11.|| ATOMIC TELEPHONE: Spirit Of Memphis Quartet|
|12.|| ATOMIC COCKTAIL: Slim Gaillard Quartette|
|13.|| FIREBALL BOOGIE: Camille Howard|
|14.|| SHE'S BEEN GONE: H-Bomb Ferguson|
|15.|| MISSION TO MOSCOW: Benny Goodman Orchestra|
|16.|| END OF WAR BLUES: Charles Brown|
|17.|| SAD NEWS FROM KOREA: Lightin Hopkins|
|18.|| JESUS HITS LIKE AN ATOM BOMB: Lowell Blanchard & The Valley Trio|