Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New England Spotlight: The Shaggs - My Pal Foot Foot

The New England Battle of the Bands wraps up today with a real killer number.

The Shaggs were three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire. They were Dorothy "Dot" Wiggin on first guitar and lead vocals, Betty Wiggin on second guitar and Helen Wiggin on drums. The girls apparently had no interest in music, but their paternal grandmother had a vision of musical stardom for the girls after a particularly revealing palm reading. The girl's Dad, Austin Wiggin, removed the girls from school and forced the girls into music as he believed his mom's visions had all come true in the past. The problem was, the Wiggin girls didn't have much experience with music. But don't mind that!

Collectively the Wiggin girls were called The Shaggs, a play off the shaggy hair style craze going around. They played the local Elks Lodge and a few dances. The girls were apparently not well received by the local teens but dad insisted they keep at it. In 1969 he drove them to Revere, Massachusetts to cut an album. Austin, of course, was tapped as the producer.

The girls cut enough groovy material to release an album of originals on Fleetwood Records and one single, mislabeled as The Shags. The A-Side of that single is the trance inducing My Pal Foot Foot. My Pal Foot Foot was written by Dot and tells the tale of her oft-roaming cat whose name, obviously, was Foot Foot.

The song starts with a pretty killer 15-second drum solo from Helen before Dot and Betty come crashing in with their deft guitar work. Then comes the great vocals. The interplay between Dot and Betty, who harmonize about the missing cat like only sisters can, is sublime.
I don't have time to roam
I have things to do
I have to go home
Oh, Foot Foot, where are you? 
{drum solo} 
If Foot Foot didn't like to roam so well
He would still have a place to dwell
Foot Foot please answer me
I know where you are
You are behind that tree
How will the tale of the roaming tail end, you ask? Well, of course, with a drum solo from Helen! Now I think we know why Foot Foot would often roam far from home.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!