Response was so positive to Volume 1 of The Comprehensive Cub Koda that Volume 2 was almost mandatory [Stinky writes]. Forget about leftovers— there were still big meaty chunks left over, and lots of good suggestions in the comments. After Volume 1 was on its way to the pressing plant (okay, we rubbed it against a ficus) I discovered a hard-to-find self-released rockabilly collection on Cub’s website, so here we are.
We spare no expense to pamper our patrons here at Jonderblog, so I reached out to Cub’s wife (Lady J), the webmaster, and even snail mailed Her Ladyship at the address on the site trying to buy a copy, to no avail. My usual resources didn’t even list it. But a friend at From The Vaults (who sometimes helps me find rare recordings) pointed out that five of the ten tracks were available as bonus tracks on a reissue of one of Cub’s albums. Problem solved!
One can’t make a “best of” without having all of the great man’s recordings to choose from— which isn’t to say all his records are represented here. While Koda seemed to have an instinctive understanding of all roots music, there’s nothing from one of his albums, Cub Digs Bo, on either volume. Not that it isn’t good, there’s just so much material that’s better. Cub was remarkably consistent & had GREAT musical taste. So much so that in his later years he was mainly known for his record reviews and his radio show— of which there are snippets included on Volume 2.
Like Peter Wolf “The Woofa Goofa” before him, Cub was from the snappy-patter, jovial jive school of DJ’s, and he had his famous friends record intros for him: “What time is it, Cub?” “It’s ROCKABILLY time!” I’ve spliced short segments onto the tracks so that Cub occasionally introduces his own records. It’s exactly the kind of cutesy crap I dislike— but with Cub’s palpable personality & atomic energy level, I think it works. He even introduces the pseudo-group he created & led (and with whom Cub may have invented “prank rock”), King Uszniewicz & The Uszniewicztones. “Whoever told these guys that they were a rock band was yankin’ their ankle!” Or as Down Home Music wrote: “You could blackmail people with tapes twice this good.”
After years of searching for obscure artist’s self-released 45’s in thrift stores, Cub got the idea to perpetrate a hoax and “create” a forgotten group: King Uszniewicz & The Uszniewicztones. He recorded the songs, came up with a backstory, used old photos of his dad for images of King Uszniewicz, & pressed some 45’s that he then slipped into the stacks of wax in thrift stores. Eventually there were three LPs of material released on Norton Records (most outlets list them under comedy), as well as a shared “battle of the bands” album with The South Bay Surfers.
Of course there are tracks with Brownsville Station— two that were suggested by George Glass — and a third, My Buddy Jack, which was clearly the inspiration for George Thorogood’s I Drink Alone. On the first installment, I used a live version of Brownville’s biggest hit Smokin’ In The Boys Room to highlight some of his onstage rap, so the original’s included here, along with another live track with an intro from Cub Koda & The Points, Double Mirror Wraparound Shades.
Also represented are his live raw bone blues records with The Houserockers, solo tracks with Cub playing all the instruments, and his scorching version of The Fred Wolff Combo’s instrumental Scratchin’ & Whammin’. Which, while I was writing these liner notes, I discovered was ALSO Cub Koda. He got me again!
As always, this compilation was designed in Stinky Laboratories to be listened to from soup to nuts— in hopes it will transport you somewhere without you leaving the house. But if you do take it on the road, please do as Cub might suggest, and “Keep the greasy side down.”