So much more than "Puttin' On The Ritz", but who cares?
Oh boy. Yet another relic of the ‘80s that somehow managed to work its way into my music collection. Taco’s After Eight has to be seen and heard to be believed, but it’s probably a given that most people won’t want to bother with it. You know an album is going to be bad when it has “Featuring: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, and ‘Cheek to Cheek’” permanently printed on the lower right corner. Add to that, the gagalicious pink back cover with a b/w photo of Mr. Taco Ockerse in a Glamour Shots-style pose with black lipstick and well…you get the idea.
I remember buying this album the same day I also bought my E.T. game cartridge for my Atari 2600. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” had blazed up the charts, and the album promised an even longer version, so naturally I had to hear that I thought those versions of “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Cheek to Cheek” would be campy fun as well. Campy they were. Fun? Hardly.
“Singin’ in the Rain” opens the album with Taco complaining about the weather as some cheesy rain shower sound effects are played in the background. Then he starts to sing…noooooo! For some reason, Taco thought it would be super cool to add some vocoder touches to the song as well. Wrong again, Ockerse! I suppose if your idea of such classic tunes as realized through an expensive Casio is cool, then this might be catchy to you.
So just imagine how well such chestnuts as “Cheek to Cheek”, “I Should Care” and “La Vie En Rose” get treated. Ugh. The whole problem with the songs is that Taco really tried to fashion himself as a crooner of times gone by for this junk, and it didn’t work at all. You just can’t mix synthesizers this cheesy with classic numbers like these and hope for the best. I’m now having flashbacks of when I saw Taco on Solid Gold lip synching to this stuff. Gah! But the covers are just half of the After Eight experience. We haven’t even scraped the originals!
And boy, what originals they are. “Livin’ in My Dream World” was the B-side to “Ritz”. In the tune, Taco longs for the years in which he thinks he’s resurrecting with his crappy music. “Livin’ in my dream world / Memories of yesteryear”. Yeah, Taco. Keep on fooling yourself that you had anything remotely to do with that time. The insipid title track is just as bad: “After eight / A rendezvous with Kate! / She works late / I’ve had a hard day watching color TV”. Ooh yeah, tough times, Taco. Consider it his version of “Rock Around the Clock”, as he feels the need to hit nearly every hour on his watch face.
Oh and then there’s “Carmella”, an accordion-infused tale of an actress/dancer whom Taco has lusted for from afar. Zzzzzz….or hey! How about “Tribute to Tino”, Taco’s rotten little ditty about Rudy Valentino himself? This stuff is just beyond the pale, folks. The fact of the matter is Taco was a lousy little one hit wonder that will forever be remembered for that goofy version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” that people still love to hear for some reason. This junk was rather cool to me when I was the age at which I bought it and obviously out of my mind, but as the years have gone by…I can only ask why? Why did I go this route? After Eight ends ridiculously on “Thanks a Million” that sounds like it was recorded on an old 78. How original, Taco!
You’d think this would have been the end of Taco, but no! He felt the need to record a second album with such numbers as “Winchester Cathedral” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (remember that super horrid version of “Rainbow” by Star Search winner, Sam Harris?), not to mention originals like “Superphysical Resurrection” and “Got to Be Your Lover”! Thankfully, no one bought the album and Taco Ockerse slipped back into obscurity. So my advice to you is if you see either of Taco’s mesmerizing LPs, steer clear! This is one bad trip that’s easily avoidable.
// Notes from the Road
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