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Terrell's Tune-Up: Dot Wiggin, former Shagg, sings

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Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 5:00 am | Updated: 11:37 pm, Thu Dec 12, 2013.

When listening to Ready! Get! Go! by The Dot Wiggin Band, it might be helpful to realize that it all started with a palm reading. The Gypsy woman — actually, it was his mom — told Austin Wiggin of Fremont, New Hampshire, that one day he would have daughters who would be in a famous band. And verily, he had daughters, four of them. In the mid-1960s, when the girls hit their teens, Austin bought them guitars and drums, told them they were going to be a band, ordered them to rehearse hours and hours in the basement, named them The Shaggs, and, in 1968, way before the girls actually thought they were ready, took them to a Massachusetts recording studio. What came out was an album called Philosophy of the World. It wasn’t a monster hit. In fact, it never had a chance. According to Shaggs lore, the president of their “record company” made off with 900 of the thousand copies they had pressed. The Wiggin family just assumed the whole endeavor was a flop. When Austin Wiggin died in the mid-’70s, The Shaggs broke up.

But somehow Philosophy of the World lived on, its strange charm spreading like a secret. Frank Zappa allegedly said Philosophy was his favorite album and, though I’ve never been able to find the original source of this assertion, claimed The Shaggs were “better than The Beatles.” Terry Adams of the band NRBQ was so blown away when he heard them that in 1980 he persuaded Rounder Records to give Philosophy a proper rerelease.

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