02.10.10

Funky Rock n Roll: Hooray for the Salvation Army Band

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll, Sludge in the Seventies at 11:24 am by George Smith

Well before Bill Cosby’s enshrinement as a TV star in the Huxtable family, DD thought he was hilarious.

If you were a smartypants kid living in Pennsylvania within easy travel of Philadelphia in the mid-Sixties, Cosby was the homegrown comic for you.

The most played Cosby vinyl in the Smith household, between my brother and I, was “Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow Right!” — a live recording of him doing his thing at the Bitter End in NYC.

But there was one Bill Cosby record that was off style.

“Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band!” was an album of Cosby singing — or yelling and chanting if you prefer — old favorites, many with his own lyrics tacked on, while backed by a funk band.

Viewed with a fishy eye by some regular fans, it was at first perceived to be a joke album by a jokester putting one over on the same fans.

It wasn’t.

DD was introduced to it by fellow Pine Grove Area School District student Dave Berger. Berger showed up in class one day reciting the lyrics to the title track. Even without music, they were a laugh riot if you were in our state of mind.

As we were easily entertained, Berger’s description of Bill Cosby singing about “stealing tires” and getting ready to “have a little sin” set to an unusual interpretation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Purple Haze” sounded top shelf — not a piece of eye-rolling junk to try your patience.

After that, it was about a week before I had convinced my grandfather to drive me to Pomeroy’s in Pottsville to secure a copy.

In the Eighties in Bethlehem I always wanted to perform “Hooray for the Salvation Army Band” but the Highway Kings would have never went for it.

The song was recorded using Roger Linn’s Adrenalinn III magic box. The Adrenalinn III is a guitar amp emulator and drummer coupled to beat-synchronized multi-effects. What that means is you can play a guitar through its digital selection of vintage pieces of equipment, like amplifiers chosen for their rock and roll history and tone. Through the software and processing power in the Adrenalinn III’s chips, your playing is lashed to the beat of any song you would like to record or perform.

The Adrenalinn has been around for years, upgraded intermittently but very effectively by its designers. It is the embodiment of sophisticated music machine fun and it’s hard to imagine making a recording or writing a new tune without employing it.

So the Adrenalinn III was the perfect tool for “Hooray for the Salvation Army Band” as it provides settings and sound ideal for something loosely based on “Purple Haze” — the original’s basic drum track, plus the old Marshall amplifier and octave fuzztone used by Jimi Hendrix.

Everything on the track (with the exception of the “Bringing In the Sheaves” punchline) was sent through the Adrenalinn III.

If you have Cosby’s original album — it is back in print — you know the tune was interpreted as garage-style funk rock. DD has altered it slightly, toward a more psychedelic hard rock flavor.

Hooray for the Salvation Army Band MP3.


A variety of endorsements of the Adrenalinn III — including mine.


No, you’re not seeing double. This is an old post migrated from DD’s old Blogger-administered site. In advance of Blogger’s shutdown of FTP publishing.

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