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The Coctails

During the seven years of their existence, Chicago's The Coctails were the most joyful band on the planet. It's true. Go ahead, listen to "Wood Bee" and try to keep from smiling. Their mix of catchy pop, swinging jazz, and extreme silliness made them as irresistible as they were unpredictable.

The Coctails called it quits on New Year's Eve 1995, but regrouped for one final performance on the revered Chicago club Lounge Ax's last night of operation, January 15, 2000. Though they are surely, sorely missed, their music and their memory live on to charm and delight even the most jaded music fan. They were truly something special, and we are pleased to present a selection of songs from four of their Carrot Top releases.

Listen and celebrate The Coctails with these fine songs:

"Don't Got Time," and "Whoopsy Daisy" are from The Early Hi-Ball Years, an album of their early, out-of-print Hi-Ball Records releases. Both songs are from the record Here Now Today. Fans of swingin' jazz will love the frantic organ melody and sashaying bass of "Whoopsy Daisy." "Don't Got Time" could be a time-warped sixties garage classic.

"Skeleton Bones" and "Wood Bee" are from the Live at Lounge Ax record, recorded on July 3rd and Dec. 31st, 1995. Songs like these, which feature stand-up bass, horns, and vibraphone made critics lump The Coctails in the lounge bin, but their rollicking infectious energy has more in common with Raymond Scott than with Combustible Edison. The Coctails' attitude was always less pretentious, less kitschy, and more fun than other so-called "loungecore" bands. They never took themselves too seriously, and even made stuffed dolls of themselves to sell at shows.

"Weather King" and "Even Time" are from the 1994 album Peel, which showcases the band at their most rockin'. Loud, fuzzed-out garage epics are interspersed with jangly pop hooks, with "Weather King" showing signs of math rock intricacy.

Their final studio album, The Coctails, was released in 1996 and features lovely pop songs filled with jangly, catchy guitar hooks, sweet vocals, and dashes of marimba, vibraphone, and organ. "When I Come Around," and "Grace" showcase the band's lilting sweetness, while "Cast Stones" is a flat-out rocker, complete with fuzzy guitar and garage-style vocals.

Somewhere, there is a heaven with a bar that serves tall, refreshing fruit drinks. And the house band of that bar is The Coctails. If I am very, very good, I will get to go there when I die. Until then, let me hear "Wood Bee" again, please.