The mini-craze for Moog synthesizer albums that Switched-On Bach launched in 1968 yielded a bumper crop of kitschy delights, plenty of which are still waiting for you to rescue them from thrift stores. Some of them remain classics—Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman, with its indelible “Topless Dancers of Corfu,” is a keeper, as is Gershon Kingsley’s Music To Moog By, which features the ridiculously catchy “Popcorn,” but plenty of lesser-known efforts in the genre are larded with fun listens.
Specifically: in 1976, when international ABBA-mania was nearing its height, a wonderful Moog tribute to that band was released on the Australian label TeeVee Records, titled Moog Plays ABBA. The album was made by one Robin Workman, who largely built the songs around traditional rock instruments and played synth leads as stand-ins for vocals. Available biographical data about Workman is mighty scanty, though someone by that name is the longtime director of a company in Sidney called “Keyboard Koncepts.” Amazingly, within a year, following the release of ABBA’s completely HUGE album Arrival, Workman released the album anew—retitled Moog and Guitars Play ABBA: 20 Golden Instrumentals, and given a much less inspired cover—at almost double the original’s length, to accommodate remakes of almost every song from that new ABBA LP! So I guess he really liked it. Here are a few examples, and if this version of “Mama Mia” doesn’t make you smile, you have NO heart.
“Man in the Middle”
“Dum Dum Diddle”
A gracious tip of the hat to Scott Pickering for this find!