Monday, July 30, 2007

What Up, Dog? (1988)

I have a soft spot for the Was brothers and am really fond of their admittedly spotty releases. I think of them as the Steely Dan of another era , all studio sheen and deceptively laidback, perfectly professional funk shtick. Maybe it's the oddly mimicked "real" name of Don Fagenson. But what I like best are the choice pop gems and the way they can turn them out over and over again. They surprise me a lot. This one produced their biggest hits in "Walk the Dinosaur" and "Spy in the House of Love" but I don't think they're the best things here by a ways. I count at least four stone winners way in front of them: "Somewhere in America There's a Street Named After My Dad," "Love Can Be Bad Luck," "Anything Can Happen," and "Anytime Lisa." "Dad I’m in Jail" is just for the laughs, but it hurts too, doesn't it? P.S. I love the way "Out Come the Freaks" makes a cameo on most of their albums.


  1. Nice point. Never saw the Steely Dan connection before. Saw them twice: once at the Mudd Club when "Out Came The Freaks" broke, and then at the Palladium during a NMS or CMJ seminar evening on a bill with Digital Underground as the headliners. Was stole the show, even from Tupac and Humpty Hump, when they brough out Curt from Tears For Fears to do "Everybody Wants To Rule The World." This I thought of as genius congruency as it was the guest stars on the albs which always characterized them for me, and the choice of songs.
    So, not wanting to overstay my welcome, I will simply ask if you might have a copy of "Born To Laugh At Tornadoes" for the impeccable rendering of "Zaz Turned Blue" by Mr. Mel Torme.
    Thanks in in any case.

  2. I WISH I had more Was (Not Was) to share. I know that album well and it's a dandy. And yes, the handpicked guest appearances are definitely a strong point. Also the undeniable Detroit roots. Terrific band! -- as you witnessed. Thanks for your stories.

  3. The Was Bros. reunited a couple of years back, toured a bit in the US and UK and recorded a new album, "Boo!" that has yet to be released although one track, "Party Marty" was played during an interview on the BBC.

    Lots of great info, links and such here: