All Hopped Up, an album of firsts for NRBQ!
Released in the spring of 1977, with recordings covering a two-year period from November 1974 to November 1976, All Hopped Up is NRBQ’s fifth album. But in many ways it showcases a new band with a new spirit, a new energy, and a new approach.
It’s the first album with drummer Tom Ardolino, who joined in August 1974 at the age of 19 and entered the recording studio just three month later. His joining signals the start of the edition of NRBQ that spanned almost 20 years while gaining notoriety for their blockbuster live performances and classic recordings.
It’s the first NRBQ album to feature compositions by Al Anderson, who contributes the wonderful “Ridin’ In My Car” and delivers inspired guitar solos over the course of the proceedings. It’s also the first album with extensive blowing time for the Whole Wheat Horns and finally, it’s also the band’s first album on its own Red Rooster label, with subsequent releases including Kick Me Hard and Tiddlywinks, as well as the first-ever vinyl reissue of the Shaggs’ legendary Philosophy Of The World album in 1979.
In addition to Terry and Joey kicking up their songwriting by several points on the Richter scale, All Hopped Up is the first album that they produced, and it’s also the first time NRBQ worked with engineer Tom Mark, who came on board when the boys began recording and remixing at Bearsville Studios in November of 1976. This team would go on to helm classic albums like At Yankee Stadium, Kick Me Hard, Tiddlywinks, and She Sings, They Play.
Along with all these noteworthy firsts, All Hopped Up also broke acres of new and fertile ground with its broad mix of musical styles. “It Feels Good” and “Things to You” are poppier than anything previously released by NRBQ. While at the other end of the spectrum, “Honey Hush” heralds the first appearance on record of the deep, bluesy groove that NRBQ’s new rhythm section would employ so effectively in its legendary live shows for decades to come, and their version of “I Got A Rocket In My Pocket” rescues a gem first recorded by Louisvillian Jimmy Logsdon (as Jimmy Lloyd) from obscurity and breathes new life into it. The latter two tracks also contain piano solos by Terry that combine equal measures of authority and abandon.
All of this adds up to a great album by a great band, free from and unfettered by any constraints imposed on them by a record company or outside producer, and clearly having a blast in the recording studio.
More than 40 years after its initial release, the original version of All Hopped Up is finally widely available on CD and vinyl. It has outlived concurrent 1970s musical trends like punk rock, new wave, and disco, and it sounds fresher, livelier, and better than ever!
Ridin’ In My Car It Feels Good Cecilia I Got A Rocket In My Pocket Call Him Off, Rogers Doctor’s Wind Things To You Help Me Somebody Still In School Honey Hush Queen Talk Bonanza That’s Alirght Chicken Hearted Do The Bump She’s Got To Know Start It Over