Artist: The Misfits
Title: “Project 1950” (expanded)
Label: Misfits Records
Release Date: 10/17/2014
Genre: Horror Punk/Rock and Roll
Before I get started I should admit that I had not yet heard the original 2003 release of the very interesting “Project 1950” album by The Misfits until a couple of years ago, and that version is very hard to find on the shelves nowadays thanks to the larger absence in places to buy physical music. That being said I was happy to learn at their booth at the 2013 Comic Con that an expanded edition was in the works that would feature some expanded artwork and additional songs. The album was just recently released and now I finally get to talk about it for your own needs. For those who are unaware about this release let me first explain that it was a quirky idea by Only and Company that found them doing their own renditions of classic Rock and Roll tunes from the fifties with a truly Horror Punk vibe that only The Misfits can deliver. When I first learned about this I really liked the idea based on my enjoyment of the 2001 “Blow In The Wind” album by Me First and The Gimme Gimmes that featured some Punked up fifties tunes as well. This let me know right away that such a thing was possible and now with The Misfits take on tunes of this era, I knew that I was in for a sinister ride.
When “Project 1950” was first released the band was Jerry Only and Dez Cadena (as we find being the case today) but with Marky Ramone on drums and for this special project the trio would be joined by guest stars such as Ronnie Spector, Ed Manion, Jimmy Destri and their longtime collaborator John Cafiero. The end results are an amped up ride back in time to Arnolds Diner for a few go rounds on the spiked jukebox (someone else provided the jukebox reference but I quite simply loved this and had to use as well). Overall the tunes retain a large part of their original sound but with their being renditions by The Misfits they are faster and quicker to finish when it all comes down to it. Looking over the tracks my favorites fell via quite a number of them with “Monster Mash” leading the pack but I think this could be an early Halloween spirit taking possession of my creative thought process at the moment. I felt that “This Magic Moment” is a great start with Only roaring out the well known lyrics that add a completely different feel to them based on his register. He is also joined by Ronnie Spector who gives some wonderful melody to this now very heavy track. Another highlight is the Jerry Lee Lewis number “Great Balls Of Fire” because it has the addition of some excellent keyboards by Jimmy Destri. From the list of my fast favorites I can close out with “Runaway” since I always enjoyed the Del Shannon tune and have gotten a kick out of other bands doing their version of it and felt that The Misfits one is a winner as well. Now don’t get me wrong as the entire thing is a fun and very fast paced listen but these few tunes were the very favorites from what the original album was comprised of when the band was Only, Cadena and Ramone.
The now expanded edition features their drummer of a few years, Eric “Chupacabra” Arce and his skin bashing skills along with three additional tracks. The artists being delivered here are also true greats with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Tom Jones and of these new offerings I will say that I liked them fine enough but found the choice of the Jones track to be my least favorite. Now don’t get me wrong as I do love the music of Tom Jones but I prefer other tracks. I would have loved to hear The Misfits do “Delilah” or a punked out version of “It’s Not Unusual”. I once mentioned how I was growing tired of all the “cover album projects” but in all honesty this release had come out long before the deluge that we got since it appeared and since it was a focused era project it really worked for me. If you have never given this album a chance yet and you are still standing by the music of The Misfits under the guidance of Jerry Only then you owe yourself a little treat for Halloween. No costume necessary unless you absolutely feel like wearing one when you go to purchase a copy. There is also some expanded artwork to enjoy along with liner notes where they explain why each track was chosen. Happy Halloween.
1. This Magic Moment (The Drifters)
2. Dream Lover (Bobby Darin)
3. Diana (Paul Anka)
4. Donna (Richie Valens)
5. Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
6. Latest Flame (Elvis Presley)
7. Monster Mash (Boris Pickett and the Crypt Keepers)
8. Only Make Believe (Loretta Lynn)
9. Runaway (Del Shannon)
10. You Belong To Me (Jo Stafford)
11. Witchcraft (Sinatra)
12. Daughter Of Darkness (Tom Jones)
13. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (Elvis Presley)
Official Website: http://www.misfits.com