Jingle Jangle

by: Archies

By the time of Jingle Jangle (1969) -- the third LP under the Archies' moniker -- the original 1968 CBS-TV animated cartoon series The Archie Show had expanded to a full hour spin-off, The Archie Comedy Hour. It is here that the majority of these songs were initially aired. This multimedia approach was the brainchild of Don Kirshner, who had similar success with the Monkees until the show's cast members demanded autonomy on their records. However, the Archies were ink and celluloid and essentially could not talk back. Behind the music were studio pros such as Ron Dante (vocals/guitar), Andy Kim (vocals), and Toni Wine (vocals). Although the program was still pulling in the kiddies, much of the novelty had already worn off the fickle, sugar-coated pre-teen market. With the exception of the Top Ten track "Jingle Jangle" -- which commences the effort -- this platter produced little in terms of chart action. This may have led to the radical overhaul in the sound of their follow-up Sunshine (1970). In addition to the upbeat and slight R&B vibe on "Jingle Jangle," there are a couple of other memorable sides scattered throughout. The mid-tempo ballad "Everything's Alright" is notable for the sweet harmonies that waft over Dante's lead vocal. Granted, the premise is undeniably inane, but "Nursery Rhyme"'s incessant and pulsating rhythm wouldn't be too out of place from any given mid-'60s garage rock unit. "Get on the Line" is reminiscent of the Soul Survivors' "Expressway to Your Heart" as the melody steadily drives behind the comparatively heady peace and brotherly love lyrics. "Look Before You Leap" is powerful and edgy, feeling a bit out of place; however, it would have fit in with the likes of the Standells or the Chocolate Watchband. Interestingly, in 1999 Dante reissued the exact same dozen tunes on CD as Archies Party (1999). Otherwise, several songs from the album can also be found on the various and sundry artist compilations that exist, such as Repertoire Records' recommended 24-cut Best Of (2002) [aka Sugar, Sugar (2002)]. ~ Lindsay Planer

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