Listen – The Ascots – Sookie Sookie – MP3
I promised at the beginning of the week that I’d be back with a very solid slice of garage heat. Whether I’m doing this as a matter of balance after Monday’s post (which may not have been everyone’s bag), or just because it’s a very cool record has yet to be decided.
Some months ago, during one of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, after hearing someone drop Steppenwolf’s version of ‘Sookie Sookie’, one of my fellow selectors and I were rapping about other version of the tune. I mentioned my faves (none better than the OG by Don Covay) like Tina Britt, Roy Thompson and Ricardo Ray, and he (I don’t remember who it was) mentioned that he had heard a garage punk version of the tune that was very cool (but he didn’t remember the name of the group).
So, some weeks later, I’m out trolling the interwebs in search of the vinyl, when what should show up on a very hot list of 45s, but a (maybe THE) garage punk cover of that very song. I gave the sound clip a listen, and immediately threw down a handful of shekels so that the record might soon have a home in my DJ box.
That record – the one you’re downloading/listening to today – is ‘Sookie Sookie’ as played by a pack of thugs known as the Ascots.
I haven’t been able to find much out about the Ascots, other than that they (or at least their record label) operated out of Providence, RI. Beginning in 1966, the Ascots recorded four 45s for the Super label, and all but one of them included a soul cover (Midnight Hour, Knock On Wood and Sookie Sookie).
I wouldn’t describe the Ascots version of ‘Sookie Sookie’ as soulful, but I will say that they definitely tapped into the manic energy of the Covay original, doing their shambolic, reverbed best to beat the song into aubmission. Like many garage punk records of the time, this one sounds haunted by the spirit of ‘Gloria’ with a rhythm guitarist who sounds like his musical education started and finished with the two chords in the song (which if you haven’t yet caught my drift, is a good thing).
This is a very solid example of why people chase down and worship garage punk 45s. There’s a whole lot of spirit trapped in those grooves.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back next week.