From a New Yorker's vantage point (and, no, this is not baseball rivalry sloping into musical prejudice), Boston's underground rock scene of the early '70s sounded disappointingly traditional, more bar band slop than art-rock swing. Given a few years, however, that became a gross underestimation, as the city could lay claim to Mission of Burma, the Cars, Jonathan Richman, the Neats, Neighborhoods, Lyres and Willie "Loco" Alexander — all, in their way, visionary modernists. The Real Kids, formed and led by ex-Modern Lover John Felice, didn't try to be anything but garage rock realists, yet their vigor and grit earned them a wicked good place on Mass. Ave., and arguably set the stage for the potent Boston ha'core scene that followed.
The quartet's first album is a killer primer in rock spirit — determined, modest, tough, heartfelt (kind of like the Red Sox, but let's skip that). From the catchy signature original "All Kindsa Girls" through righteous covers of Eddie Cochran ("My Way"), Buddy Holly ("Rave On") and Frankie Ford by way of the Animals ("Roberta"), the Real Kids kick it loose but right, adding enough jizz to make it stick. Felice could certainly write durable rockers — "My Baby's Book," "She's Alright," "Do the Boob" and the very un-Marley-like workout "Reggae Reggae" all hold up fine, and the playing drips sweat and beer. It's all kindsa fun.