Have Another Ball! is yet another in a growing list of inexplicable releases by pop-punk label Fat Wreck Chords. Following a No Use for a Name greatest hits album and a second NOFX live disc, this “new” album from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes mostly collects b-sides from their first album, Have a Ball. That album, and this one, shows the band taking on songs by 70s singer/songwriters, and many of these tracks first appeared as b-sides on, now out-of-print, seven inches. Of course, their tongue-in-cheek covers were fun back in 1997 when Have a Ball came out, and they’re still fun today. Their take on “Rich Girl” to open the album is as punchy as these songs get, and along with Manilow’s “I Write the Songs” it is probably the best combination of humor and high energy.
But the band is best when they lace these covers with classic punk riffs. And aside from meshing “Blitzkrieg Bop” into “You’ve Got a Friend”, that doesn’t happen on this disc. Also, the inclusion of “The Harder They Come”, recorded a number of years after all these other songs, shows not only how tight the band has gotten over the years, but how murky the older recordings are. This is certainly better than some of the other questionable releases coming from the Fat camp, but I’m still not sure there’s a good reason for Have Another Ball! to be on record store shelves.