Alternative Tentacles puts out a lot of random stuff these days. Can’t say I’m running to check out their latest releases; but maybe I should. This time though, I took notice. Do you remember The Shaggs? The Shaggs might be the greatest “worst band” in history.
The Shaggs only proper release from 1969, Philosophy of the World is considered a classic album that very few have heard (or are able to listen to). It’s a fantastic piece of pop music – I mean that will all sincerity. You can’t help but smile when you hear The Shaggs. Frank Zappa even called The Shaggs “better than the Beatles”.
The Shaggs were formed by 3 (and later 4 sisters) at the insistence of their father and biggest fan, Austin Wiggin who recorded and pressed the record at his own expense. The record completely failed due to it’s rather unlistenable sound not fit for the mainstream market (they can’t sing, play or keep time – in the traditional sense) They quickly became a cult band and performed until 1975 when their father passed away. Not much has been heard from The Shaggs since then.
Now considered legends of “outsider music”, The Shaggs reappear 4 decades later as the Dot Wiggin Band featuring singer and lead guitarist Dot Wiggin. Ready! Get! Go! finally bring us a followup to Philosophy of the World featuring some unreleased Shaggs songs, as well as some written with her new band.
The sound has “improved”, but the sincerity, playful pop hooks and warmth is still there. Dots way of singing and playing is still present and the backing band (featuring members of Moby Grape, Shudder to Think and Elysian Fields among others) do a nice job following her.
If you enjoy artists like R. Stevie Moore, Daniel Johnston, and Deerhoof (who do a fun version of “My Pal Foot Foot”) this might be for you. Check them out, but don’t forget to pick up Ready! Get! Go! from Alternative Tentacles. I am for one, glad Dot Wiggin is back to remind us of the wonderful world of The Shaggs.