The most political song on The Electras, originally released in a 500-copy vanity pressing at super-snooty New Hampshire prep school St. Paul’s in 1961, is “Summertime Blues.” None of these swells had to work all summer just to try and earn a dollar, though, and it spouts not half as much blue cheer as recent versions by Rush or the Black Keys. (Their “Three Blind Mice” can’t touch Carla Bley’s, either.) Still, that congressman telling guitarist and budding constitutional law scholar Larry Rand “I’d like to help you son but you’re too young to vote” intrigues, if only ’cause one Electra is 17-year-old Oslo resident (hence Hives-like matching suits!), future Mekong Delta bluesman, and JFK fan John Forbes Kerry—who’s way less proficient than Rand, but still. As pianist Jack Radcliffe told the Boston Herald, “We were looking for a babe magnet, and he owned a bass.”
The Freudian-monikered combo cover lyric-free hits by the Bulldogs, Santo & Johnny, and Duane Eddy, plus two from New Mexico teens the Fireballs. Most progressive pick: Lee Dorsey’s “Ya Ya,” which went Top 40 right around the time they were recording. Let’s see the Hives do “Get Low,” you know? Now if only the Republican maraca and guitar players would vote for the bassist.