I guess I must have been playing my Sparks albums a lot at the time, given the pun-laden titles for the cassette sides. Oh the folly of innocent youth…
Tag Archives: mixtape
The good Doc knows the A-B-Cs of pop music; this was one of the first tape swap mixes I made for Son Of Tape Tree (a/k/a/ SOTT), a tradition which is in its thirteenth or fourteenth year. We’re down from one every two months to once a year despite the ability to dub CDs much faster and cheaper than C-90s! Title obviously stolen from a great Graham Parker song.
Video: Graham Parker, Back To Schooldays
Way back in the day – June 1997 to be exact – I slapped this puppy on a C-90 and shared it with my tape swap group. Damned if it still doesn’t sound good now. A nice mix of old and new (new then, anyway), famous and obscure, sweet and bitter. Someday when I have both bandwidth and time I’ll load these on a special tab, but just YouTube or MySpace or Google your way around for now.
This Is Your Brain.
This Is Your Brain On POP!
|The Nerves – “When You Find Out”||How can you go wrong when you have not one, not two, but THREE great songwriters in the band? Well, that’s probably two too many…|
|Ginger – “Feel Like Falling Down”||Always a Molson’s Ale in the fridge, always a Canadian pop band on my tapes. Can’t recommend the whole CD but this song is sweet.|
|Joan Jett – “Indian Giver”||Yes, your eyes are working fine. Little Ms. Riot Grrrl does a nice job on this 1910 Fruitgum Company classic.|
|The Shazam – “Blew It”||From Copper Records, the label that brought us the Badfinger tribute, comes this Cheap Trick/Who/Badfinger sounding band produced by Brad Jones, whose influence is strong here (that’s a GOOD thing).|
|The Clouds – “Aquamarine”||An Australian band who I only heard of because they opened up for TPOH – spotty record but this track is killer.|
|The Guess Who – “Don’t You Want Me”||Burton Cummings is a guilty pleasure of mine. This is the second version of this song, from “Road Food”. They could really rock live.|
|John Hiatt – “Doll Hospital”||The greatest living American songwriter. His older stuff is classic; if all you know is “Bring The Family” you are missing a TON of great stuff.|
|The Chills – “The Male Monster From The Id”||Martin Phillips and company – this one’s for all the girls. Another spotty record with some great songs.|
|Candy Butchers – “Til You Die”||More Mikey! No knock on Adam Schlesinger of FOW, but Mike Viola deserves some props for his vocals in the movie THAT THING YOU DO. Buy this EP before its gone.|
|Blue Cartoon – “Parachute”||Lee, who’s one of my SON OF TAPE TREE swap partners, is far too modest to tell you that he writes great pop songs. So I will – this stands up with the best of 1997.|
|Michael Shelley – “Going To L.A.”||East Coast Beach Boys with great lyrics and a borrowed T-Rex riff. Mike’s HALF EMPTY is one of the best records of 1997.|
|Sylvain Sylvain – “Teenage News”||Ex-N.Y.Doll had a much poppier side than the band ever did. Two great records and gone – I wish he were still making music.|
|Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – “Dream Kid”||Great, great pop rock band, probably known best for “Sailing”. This version of the band featured future Attractiion Bruce Thomas on bass.|
|Stella Luna – “Nervous Man”||A plug for Bruce Brodeen’s NOT LAME label and sampler. Jamie Hoover produced this new band’s track; can’t wait to hear the whole record!|
|Sparks – “Here Comes Bob”||Besides being a vastly underrated band, Sparks had a great sense of humor. In this song, Bob has a strange way of making friends…|
|Redd Kross – “Pretty Please Me”||I wanted to put “Mess Around” on this tape, but “Pretty Please Me” started off with more of a bang! Cannot believe this band isn’t all over the radio!|
|Semisonic – “Brand New Baby”||One of the best of 1996, from the ashes of Trip Shakespeare. Semisonic’s debut CD was wall to wall great songs and was criminally ignored.|
|Richard X. Heyman – “Everything The Same”||Permanent Press Records will release CORNERSTONE, Richard’s first new record in five years. He plays all the instruments on this song and is a pop god.|
|The Del Lords – “Stay With Me”||In a better world, Scott Kempner and Andy Shernoff would be revered songwriters. This Dictators classic re-interpreted by Scott’s next great band, whose catalogue deserves better. Rhino? Ryko? Hello??|
|The Pursuit Of Happiness – “Pressing Lips”||Speaking of great songwriters….Moe Berg writes ’em, the great band kicks them into gear, and those killer harmony vocals seal the deal|
|The Faces – “You’re So Rude”||We lost Ronnie Lane this month. Although overshadowed first by Steve Marriot and later by Rod Stewart, “Plonk” was the backbone of the Faces, Small and otherwise.|
|Firesign Theatre – “Porgie Tirebiter”||I’ve been slipping in a few non-musical interludes on this tape, but since this is a theme song, I might as well ‘fess up. If you haven’t heard “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers”, you haven’t lived.|
|Rick Derringer – “Something Warm”||From “Hang On Sloopy” forward, Rick always had a knack for pop, even if he didn’t have the voice to match. Still, GUITARS AND WOMEN was a first rate album. He’s back to the blues now, though.|
|Godley & Creme – “Big Bang”||Dedicated to the Jellyfish Listgroup – what should we call this, 5CC? For a laugh, play the Blues Brothers’ version of “Hey Bartender” at the same time.|
|Cheap Trick – “Oh Candy”||From the first of two self-titled albums, a nice, bouncy cheerful pop song about suicide. You won’t be comin’ around no more….|
|Pat Godwin – “Amish My Ass”||For every guy who ever got turned down with a bullshit excuse, Pat sticks it right back up her ass in one minute and twelve seconds.|
|Eric Carmen – “Hey Deanie”||Maybe he lost his way off the path, maybe he is label-less because he is a problem guy. But forget the BS – it’s amazing how many different times Eric captured the innocence of summer love in a song.|
|Kyle Vincent – “Wake Me Up (When The World’s Worth Waking Up For”||Am I the only person who thinks Kyle and Eric Carmen sound alike? This perfect single should be blasting out of every car radio right now! Why isn’t it??|
|Sparks – “Batteries Not Included”||Part two of the Sparks humor brigade. Followed up on the record by a song called “Whippings And Apologies” which I’ll probably toss on another tape someday…|
|Mick Ronson – “Sweet Dreamer” (edit)||Speaking of losses, I miss Ronno. He made Bowie and Hunter better, brought out a great side of Morrissey, and had an appreciation for classic American music like Patsy Cline.|
Mixtape time again!
This one, She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not – was from my monthly mixtape swaps back in 1997. Here’s what I wrote back then as an introduction:
Love comes in spurts, says Richard Hell. Love comes in cycles, sez me. The wonder of a crush, the rush of recognition that affection is mutual, the delicate jab and parry of getting to know someone, that first kiss, the first mistake, the uneasy first fight, the first break up (and the wonderful first make-up), the second mistake and third, the wandering eye, being taken for granted, being misunderstood, falling apart, getting sad, getting bitter, getting haunted, that smile-on-the-surface but acid-in-your-stomach feeling of seeing them with someone else, the greens and blues, the depression, the worthlessness and then just when you think you’ll jump…that new person who sends a thousand volts through your spine and into your heart. Another chance, and you drag your still smoldering carcass through the whole mess again.
So here’s the yang and yin; the L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E tattoos that Robert Mitchum wore on his knuckles are now on your heart.
(This one’s for you, Eli.)
SHE LOVES ME side
DANIELLES MOUTH – Crush
Sweet, saucy, sexy – is there anything better than a crush? Can be innocent, but I know what Danielle wants!
JONNY POLONSKY – Love Lovely Love
I know Jonny isn’t sixteen, but it’s that bubbly optimism that gets me. Great pop record, except it was only 30 minutes long…
BIG STAR – Thirteen
One of my favorite songs, ever! Alex Chilton perfectly captures that frustration of being a (sorry, Dion) “teenager in love”
MARSHALL CRENSHAW – I’ll Do Anything
From maybe the best debut record ever….love makes you do funny things!
DWIGHT TWILLEY – Please Say Please
This Beatle-esque rocker a bonus track on the reissue of the great “Sincerely” record. Self-explanatory!
THE REPLACEMENTS – Kiss Me On The Bus
Maybe the same couple from “Thirteen”? Forget what’s proper and KISS ME, baby!
PHIL SEYMOUR – Baby It’s You
The late, great Phil with what has to be one of the most perfect pop records ever made! Sing it LOUD!
ADAM SCHMITT – Garden of Love
So you’re afraid, baby, been hurt before? Trust me! From what might be the best record of the 1990’s
LOU CHRISTIE – Lightning Strikes
I remember this from when I was a young pup, having my heart yo-yo’d for one of the first of many times. A classic!
BEN VAUGHN – Words Can’t Say What I Want To Say
Yeah, I’ve felt like this. That ga-ga, mouth-open, please-god-don’t-let-me-say-something-stupid moment
RICHARD X HEYMAN – When She Arrives
I can’t wait until “Cornerstone” comes out so you can all see what a great record this is. A love cycle in itself!
THE FACES – Tell Everyone
A Ronnie Lane tune, but Rod sings it…true love settles in for the long haul?
CROWDED HOUSE – Fall At Your Feet
An adult version of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There”, with music so pretty I’d love it even without the words! Uh-oh, side’s over….
SHE LOVES ME NOT side
JOHAN – Easy
Swedish pop rules! A 1997 record that almost slipped by sees the chink in the armour…
THE FLASHCUBES – You’re Not The Police
Things are starting to fall apart..we can’t go on together, with suspicious minds. GREAT 1997 reissue!
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS – Bored Of You
Uh-oh….nice guys finish last. Why do women want to be treated like queens and then fall for rude assholes? Moe knows…
THE RUBINOOS – Over You
Where I start lying to myself, saying that it doesn’t hurt…all the while my heart is bleeding…
THE MONTGOMERY CLIFFS – Tonight
More bravado, and two can play that game, baby…this time when you put the cheese in the trap, I’m not buying.
JEN TRYNIN – I Resign
I think Jen is the best female songwriter around. I love the way her mind works!
THE RASCALS – You Better Run
Pat Benetar, eat your heart out. Oh yeah – I ain’t gonna eat out my heart anymore……
THE BEAT – I Will Say No
Go on, get out of my life, and let me make a new start. Maybe the longest fade out in pop history
KENNY HOWES – Somebody
Not sure if she’s still trying to come back or whether I’m fooling myself, but I feel better. Get lost!
THE KINKS – Set Me Free
It’s frightening to think just how many great songs Ray Davies wrote in about three years time. Bye Bye Baby!
DWIGHT TWILLEY – Release Me
I never put an artist on a tape twice, but have to here. SINCERELY is a Desert Island Disk! Heartbreak!
TOMMY KEENE – Nothing Happened Yesterday
More self-denial from one of the great pop unknowns. I am man, hear me roar!
TONIO K – Stay
Oh shit….two damaged people see that spark and circle each other – should I try to fall in love again? Flip the tape over, honey, ’cause here we go again!
Back when I had that kind of time, I participated in a monthly tape swap, and for a time I had to dub these puppies in real speed. When we finally got to the CD stage and I could burn a disc at 2x I thought I was in heaven. What used to be a serious committment – the group was usually 35-40 people, so imagine the time and money involved – now can be done dirt cheap and at lightning speed. (I still participate in one of these groups twelve years running, although we’re down to one or two trades a year.)
I used to make the cassette art by hand; sometimes a drawing and other times a cut-and-paste job, then type and shrink the set list to fit on the inside flap and print them off on colored paper…cut them along the outline…fold and insert into the J-Card slot on every one. Like I said, I had that kind of time. If I find the original art for this one I’ll upload it someday, but I remember it was a variation on a Powerpoint silhouette image of a man holding a mirror.
I love tribute records, so this mixtape (from March 1997) was a tribute to tributes. It’s a great set and these covers are well worth seeking out. Now I have to find the actual tape, because just reading these names has me jazzed.
you be me for awhile and….I’LL BE YOU
|Dance Dance Dance||Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom (Handsome Dick and a couple of Dictators) pay homage to Brian Wilson|
|Pictures Of Lily||The ‘oo, done with great passion by that great sideman Ian McLagan and the Bump Band|
|She’s Got Everything||The Droogs, Aussies yet, service Mr.Davies’ classic well. Can’t believe there aren’t more great Kinks covers.|
|Time Has Come Today||Willy (Mink) DeVille from last years fab “Loup Garou” record. This Chambers Brothers song still rules!|
|Pictures Of Matchstick Men||Status Quo song covered by the pre-Cracker Lowery in the late, great Camper Van Beethoven. Respectful yet cool!|
|Charlot Choogle||Would have picked a better T-Rex cover if I could have but Sky Blue nailed the Bolanisms better than anyone else did.|
|Sweet Hitchhiker||The fabulous DM3 (wow, I’ve already been to Australia twice in seven songs!) absolutely rip this one up! Go Don!|
|Mr. Spaceman||Miracle Legion from another spotty tribute disc. For all you who remember the Byrds as electric Dylan, try this instead.|
|I Can’t Let Go||Still the best tribute disc ever made, eggBert’s “Sing Hollies In Reverse” featured wall to wall greatness like this Continental Drifters cut.|
|My Minds Eye||Ah, the Small Faces. Northern Uproar did yeoman service on last year’s tribute. A must-have for all true pop fans!|
|S-L-U-T||The Woods, America’s Rockpile, nail this Todd tune. I will not rest until the name Jack Cornell is known far and wide.|
|Handyman||True Story: Frank thought they were cutting “Candyman” for a Sammy Davis tribute. Nah…he loves Otis Blackwell too!|
|Sweets For My Sweet||Doc Pomus gets the Brian Wilson post-sandbox/Landry treatment. And Mike Love is an asshole.|
|Love Is All Around||Christine Ohlman is recording again! If you remember Big Sound Records or Dusty Springfield, Trogg out with this!|
|And Your Bird Can Sing||Weller and company grew tired of “The Jam is just aping The Who” rumors. So they aped the Beatles instead.|
|I’m Not In Love||Chrissie and the Pretenders snapped out two covers for movies/TV – this 10cc track and “Angel In The Morning”|
|Town Without Pity||Gene Pitney covered by Steppenwolf’s John Kay on heroin. Naah..it’s the wonderful Thin White Rope from “Spoor”|
|Daydream Believer||The Monkees tribute is way cool, including this John Stewart song ably harmonized by Man Size Job? Who? Me neither.|
|Run To Me||If there were any doubts that Material Issue could do it all, this will silence them. Haunting BeeGeeutiful song. RIP Jim.|
|Hard Luck Woman||The Kiss tribute is pretty funny, and I gotta admit that when I realized this was THE Garth Brooks I almost had a seizure.|
|It’s The Little Things||And you thought Sonny Bono couldn’t write hooks. He did work with Spector, y’know, so bow down for The Skeletons.|
|Listen To Her Heart||Tom Petty as seen through the eyes of Truck Stop Love, produced at Ardent by some guy named Jody Stephens.|
|Don’t Want To Say Goodbye||Last year the Raspberries tribute came out, chock full of great versions, few better than this homage by The Flashcubes.|
|Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, …||Wow that’s a long title! Believe it or not, this is The Records from a free EP that came with the first run of their LP.|
|Build Me Up Buttercup||David Johansen, post-Dolls and pre-Buster P. David always kicked ass live and paid props to great 60’s soul music.|
|When Something Is Wrong With My Baby||Wow – Sam and Dave voiced by the immortal Herman Brood, who truly is a rock and roll junkie. Live track.|
|Back Of A Car||When you hear this song now you wonder how Big Star wasn’t huge then. This is The Loud Family – same comment.|
|Earn Enough For Us||Freedy Johnston does XTC (who appeared on their own tribute record in disguise!). Love the pedal steel!|
|No Matter What||Closing the set with a song by “the next Beatles” (Badfinger) done by “the next Beatles” (The Knack). Oasis my ass.|
As always, play loud, play often.
So you think you know your music? Obsure stuff, minor hits, garage classic, pop one-offs, rarities? Watch Pop-Up Video on vH-1 and say “I knew that“?
Like brain teasers, too, but bored with Sudoku and crossword puzzles? Disappointed that Rock’n’Roll Jeopardy never made it as a successful series? Not carpooling with friends who play “name that tune”?
Midnight Rambler, host of the Sons Of The Dolls music blog, has a cool contest going. Download a mixtape (okay, it’s a mix disc…technically it’s a mix file!) and see if you can identify the artists and songs. There are twenty-one tracks in Volume One of Jump In My Car…how many can you name? There’s an email link on his page for your submission, so start clicking, and good luck!
From the notes posted along with the links, it appears this is the first in a series of mystery mixes he’ll post this year. He started this one on April 29th and will post the results this week (tentatively April 6th), so if you want to play along, click on this link, scroll down and download the mix. (Most gents will also be downloading that artwork as well. Maybe some of you ladies, too.)
There’s no prize beyond the satisfaction that you know your stuff. And hey, even if you don’t…is listening to a good mix such a bad way to start the week? I’ll even give you a blatant clue to track one…now you only have twenty to go. It’s challenging and it’s fun…good luck!
(UPDATE MAY 7th…Complete solution here. I got 15 of 21 right – artist and title – but that wasn’t good enough to win)