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Review You (ReviewYou.com)
While enduring a long drive home, Carol Heywood and Tina Albrecht devised a plan to alleviate their aching and sore derrieres. In time to the music on the radio, the ladies squeezed and released their cheeks, getting the blood flowing into the all important gluteus maximus muscles, while laughing hysterically and getting a reprieve from the boredom of the road. This stroke of innovative genius brought to life the Road Trip Relief Squad and their album Happy Butt. Collaborating with grammy-award-winning musician and producer Eric Tingstad, the trio set about making a fun-filled exercise album to help drivers and their passengers whittle away the time on the road in a creative and healthy way. (Read more)
Neither Carol nor Tina claim to be doctors, and in their opening track "Beach Bum," they caution listeners to consult one before starting this (or any other) exercise program. They also caution drivers and passengers to obey the laws of the road. With these formalities aside, the album begins in earnest with Carol and Tina taking turns walking the listener through some breathing exercises, accompanied by Eric's tropical-flavored music. "Beach Bum" does a great job easing the listener into the program, although perhaps the cow noises aren't strictly necessary. Eric's music seems adequate enough and the "moos" may make the listener lose focus for a moment. At this point of the album, the listener may not be sure if this should be taken seriously or not.
After the breathing and relaxation techniques of "Beach Bum," the ladies spice things up a bit with "Cheeks and Salsa," an upbeat Latin rhythm that will get the cheeks moving. Carol and Tina are very clear in their instructions and their cheerful and energetic delivery keep the listener engaged. Eric's music is the perfect compliment to Carol and Tina's instructions and the listener, who is presumably driving the car, or perhaps riding in one, will find themselves smiling. The energy is contagious and Happy Butt continues to alleviate the road boredom with "Lose The Fat Blues." As the title suggests, the rhythm carries a bluesy vibe and the exercise program picks up the pace with more involved instructions that include more parts of the body. This one focuses on the abdomen and Carol and Tina keep things light with their banter. Their clear speaking voices are pleasant to listen to and they continually remind drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
"Cowabunga Crunch" is a surf song and Eric Tingstad does a wonderful job with the production of the music. Carol and Tina are always in synch with the rhythm of the songs and the album flows with a smoothness like glassy waves. This track also deals with the abdominal muscles and, as always, the instructions are clear and precise. As the miles pass, the listener will soon forget any lingering boredom of the road and focus on the in depth exercises and the voices of Carol and Tina. "Face Off on Bourbon Street" is an energetic song that is a treat for the ears. This piece focuses on circulation, specifically that of the face. If the listener can forget about how odd he or she must look to passing motorists and focus on the exercises, it will surely result in some laughter and renewed circulation in the face. Carol and Tina manage to give their instructions without cracking up, but it is believable that most people, when trying these exercises for the first time, will have hysterical fits of laughter that will further alleviate the tedium of the road.
Happy Butt continues with "Chillin,'" a jazz based number that is wonderfully composed. The exercises in this track focus on releasing stress, which will likely be a fan favorite. Carol and Tina begin with some light bantering and breathing exercises, and then they get to the heart of the matter. Reminding listeners to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, they begin instructing listeners to focus on the neck and shoulders, followed by the shoulder blades. The song is light and upbeat to accompany the ladies' advice to not let anyone take you out of your Chillin' place. Filled with positivity and relaxation, this track will be the one people enjoy the most.
The album closes with "Happy Trails," a country western-flavored tune that is actually a sing-along. Exercising of the vocal chords is as important as exercising the butt and the abs and the neck and shoulders. The harmonizing is nicely done, the music itself is cheerful and upbeat, and the listener should feel a sense of accomplishment when the album is over. Carol, Tina and Eric have done a fantastic job creating a unique and original album for a unique and original purpose. Happy Butt by the Road Trip Relief Squad is an innovative and brilliant album that will make the miles pass like the blink of an eye.Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Wildy's World (wildysworld.blogspot.com)
Have you ever spent a long road trip shifting from cheek to cheek thinking that your blood might not flow through those muscles ever again? Well future trips may be different thanks to the Road Trip Relief Squad. Carol Heywood, Tina Louise Albrecht and GRAMMY winner Eric Tingstad (Tingstad & Rumbel) combined forces in 2010 to create one of the funniest workout albums of all time, Happy Butt: Cheeky Fun to Help Relieve the Rigors of the Road. Tingstad has composed seven dynamic tracks to go with Heywood and Albrecht's rather humorous exercise routines. Perhaps the funniest aspect of the album is that the exercises work. (Read more)
Happy Butt opens with "Beach Bum", a series of breathing exercises for the road designed to keep you awake and alert. Heywood and Albrecht go back and forth in a style that's vaguely reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live Delicious Dish sketches starring Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon. "Cheeks And Salsa" uses Tingstad's slick Latin dance number to get your butt moving, of as styled by Road Trip Relief Squad, your Gluteus Mushimus. Tingstad even riffs off Christopher Walken's classic call for more Cowbell (from another Saturday Night Live sketch starring Walken and Will Ferrell). It's clear early on that Road Trip Relief Squad don't want to be taken seriously; they want you to have fun while perhaps even providing a service to road weary travelers.
"Lose The Fat Blues" moves down to your thighs in a finely honey blues/rock arrangement. The camp doesn't stop here, with the humor running from hokey to potty and back. Albrecht and Heywood even speculate on the likelihood of paparazzi taking pictures of their exercises on the way. "Cowabunga Crunch" uses a distinctive surf-rock arrangement to work on those tummy muscles. This set of exercises may be a bit more difficult to do while behind the wheel, and if you don't follow the directions carefully you might have some difficulties with lane discipline. "Face Off On Bourbon Street" makes the jump to Zydeco for exercises that will keep the blood flowing to your eyes, cheeks and lips. "Chillin'" takes a boogie-jazz, eight-to-the-bar side trip to allow for stress-relief exercises to limit road rage. Road Trip Relief Squad closes off with a deep country arrangement around the Roy Rogers classic "Happy Trails". This is done in a campy, summer-camp pageant style that is fun and appealing.
Happy Butt: Cheeky Fun to Help Relieve the Rigors of the Road is hard to take seriously, but may seriously relieve the stresses and tight muscles common on long road trips. The album was inspired by a late-night, trans-national road trip by Tina Louise Albrecht and Carol Heywood. The two began to riff an exercise a routine to dance music on the radio and ended up in hysterics. It was a moment that was too good to let go. Add in the music of Eric Tingstad and you've got an experience you won't soon forget. Road Trip Relief Squad has concocted a useful album in Happy Butt, but even if you don't do the exercises themselves, you'll get a workout from laughing so hard. Road Trip Relief Squad do list a disclaimer on their website — the exercises on Happy Butt are only for open road, cruise-control driving. Listeners are advised to keep both hands on the wheel. It's just another way to ensure a Happy Butt.
Review by Wildy Haskell
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
The idea for Road Trip Relief Squad came while band members Carol Heywood and Tina Albrecht made the long drive from a weekend conference at 100 Mile House, Canada, back home to Seattle, Washington. Anyone who has gone on a road trip knows that after a few hours of sitting in the car, certain parts of the body go numb. But when some dance music came on the radio and butts began moving, a workout idea was born! The resulting album, Happy Butt, is a fun and often-hilarious 33 minutes of exercises drivers can do to make road trips less painful on the butt. The seven songs that make up Happy Butt guide the listener/exerciser through a mini-workout of the butt and abs. The music is nondescript, but the banter between Carol and Tina will bring about a lot of laughter, especially if the listener is a fan of the Delicious Dish sketches on Saturday Night Live. The two women have a delivery that can only be described as magically monotone. (Read more)
It is hard to imagine actually doing the exercises while driving without ending up in a tree. What the CD does manage to accomplish is making the listener laugh, and that keeps them awake and alert. It is hard not to laugh during songs like "Cowabunga Crunch" when Eric calls out "I gotta have more cowbell!" "Cheeks and Salsa" works out the butt and the Road Trip Relief Squad introduces us to a new word for butt: gluteus maximush. This is one of the more lively exercise tracks. It definitely will create a few Happy Butts bouncing around.
If the banter between the members of Road Trip Relief Squad doesn't bring a smile to your face, the titles of the tracks just might. Besides "Cowabunga Crunch" there's "Cheeks and Salsa," "Lose The Fat Blues" and "Beach Bum!" The titles are pun-ny, and lighthearted, just like the banter. During "Beach Bums" Carol quips that Doctor Andrew Wild says that the exercises are "utterly simple," which is followed up with the remark, "that means even cows can do it." Cow sound effects follow, and then maybe a groan or two from the listeners.
"Chillin" is a jazzy tune that has Carol and Tina helping their listeners to relax and get rid of stress. The Road Trippers help to take listeners to their happy places when other drivers on the road are being annoying. The album ends appropriately with a sing-along of Dale Evans' classic "Happy Trails." Dale Evans is the patron saint of the Happy Butt project. After that song ends, every part of your body should be awake and maybe the long drive will seem a little easier on mind and body.
It is hard to imagine seasoned travelers getting their Happy Butt on, but the humor and music are definitely suitable for families making long trips, especially families that are looking to keep the kids away from DVD players and other gadgets, and coax them into doing something more interactive. Happy Butt is cheesy fun! Road Trip Relief Squad may not give you a gym workout, but what they do give you is a break from the monotony of a long drive, and they put a smile on your face as well. After listening to Happy Butt, your butt should be happy and so should you.
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Vinny "Bond" Marini
Everyone has taken a car trip in their life where you become weary and your butt begins to fall asleep and up until now, the only way to relieve that is to pull over and walk around and stretch. Up until the Road Trip relief Squad has offered you their album Happy Butt...Cheeky fun to relieve the rigors of the road... Road Trip Relief Squad is Carol Heywood, Tina Albrecht and Eric Tingstad and the idea for the album came on a long drive home from a conference where Tina and Carol just wanted to get home. That one thought made them stay on the road as long as possible. Of course, tired butts began to make them want to stop, but the thought of getting home kept them moving. At one point dance music came on the radio and Tina began calling out aerobic instructions as they squeezed their butts to the music. Laughing the whole way the ladies thought it would make a great album, but as with most interesting ideas, the idea became lost in the 'what needs to be done now' canister. A few years later, enter Grammy-award-winning musician and producer Tingstad and Happy Butt...Cheeky fun to relieve the rigors of the road...became reality. (Read more)
The album is done 'tongue in cheek' (excuse the pun), as it opens with the trio advising that they are not doctors, this is only for cruise-control driving and not driving in traffic and the passengers must remember the driver must pay attention to the road, accidents are not part of the exercise routines! Tina and Carol work you through the routines with humor, but also with reminders throughout to stay alert (driver's responsibility).
With "Cheeks and Salsa" we are informed that the Latin beat will let us work out our "Glutomous Maximushes." The ladies alternate instructions from '"squeeze and release" to "you're taller you're shorter" and advising "the people in the car behind are wondering what the heck is going on." There are also constant reminders that drinking water is good for you and that stopping to walk is also important. "Lose The Fat Blues" has a bed of blues music as you would expect and you are instructed to "let the seat envelop you." The ladies have some fine voices and they make it fun to listen to their instructions.
The bed for "Cowabunga Crunch" is surf music and used for the stomach workout. Again, you are instructed to keep your hands on the wheel and to always keep your eyes on the road. "Face Off On Bourbon Street" uses a Zydeco bed and is for exercising your face muscles. On "Chillin'" we get a little relief from exercising the body and begin to exercise the mind. Relaxing and making sure to not let other drivers "take you out of your place" and to "stay cool baby".
Finally we get to the country flavored "Happy Trails," where we hear about their love of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Trigger, Buttermilk and their dog Bullet. This one is to exercise your vocal cords in a sing-along of the great Dale Evans song. After the intro, Tina and Carol and their "good friends joining the Road Trip Relief Squad chorus" break into the song and it is the only song sung on the album. They actually nail the song and will bring you back to those times on the Double R Bar Ranch.
This is not radio airplay music but is a wonderful break from the radio stations you encounter on the road. As stated above, it needs to be taken as it is intended...some fun and a way to relieve the stress of a long drive on the road. It would be suggested that this album should be on shelves at truck rest stops from sea to shining sea. Is there an opportunity for a follow-up? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see if the Road Trip Relief Squad takes us on the road again in the future. One thing is for sure. On the next 14-hour road trip, butts will not fall asleep!
Review by Vinny "Bond" Marini
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)