Tag Archives: 1989

Dad, where are your tapes?

My old stereo went off to college last weekend.

Our son moved into his new dorm at UW-Green Bay, and Evan asked for the old stereo from the basement. Old to him, at least. To me, that’s the new stereo, the one put together in the early ’90s. My original stereo dated to the mid-’70s.

So he took the receiver and the CD player and the tape deck and the speakers — “those speakers WERE Bose,” he gleefully reminded me — and, yes, the turntable. Now if he could only find his Queen records. Still looking for those.

Evan needed something else from the basement. His new car, a 1988 Toyota Tercel, has a cassette deck. So he needed to dig through the cassette boxes, too. One shoe box looked like this.

cassettes 053114

I see these, and they immediately take me back to an odd time. As the ’80s turned to the ’90s, I’d pretty much stopped buying vinyl but hadn’t started buying CDs. But the cars we drove at that time had tape decks, so for a short time, I bought cassettes when I bought new music.

(All that Stevie Ray Vaughan and the John Mayall tape are relics from my Blues Period, a story for another time.)

I’d never bought prerecorded cassettes before that. During the ’80s, I made plenty of tapes. (I was a TDK man, as you can see.) Evan found those, too. Lots of them are in this case, which I’ve had forever. He passed on them.

cassette case 053114

Yep, I still have most of my tapes, even the mix tapes I recorded for our wedding more than 25 years ago. I thought that would be better than having a band. Wish I could have a do-over on that.

Most of what’s on this side of the case are just vinyl LPs put to tape so I could listen in the car. The mix tapes are on the other side of the box, all with allegedly clever titles like “It Shall Remain Nameless,” “Loose As A Goose” and “Take Two (And Don’t Call Me).” You get the idea.

Looking at what’s on those mix tapes can be a little scary almost 30 years on. Not sure what I was thinking when I put some of those together way back when.

The 12 cuts on one side of a tape called “No Witnesses” include songs from James Bond films, Bananarama, John Hiatt, INXS, the Monkees, the Beatles and Jay Ferguson. That’s right. “Thunder Island.”

The 12 cuts on one side of a tape called “Dreaming of Jamaica” include songs by Prince, the Temptations, the Talking Heads, Don Henley, more Bananarama, Dave Edmunds, Flash and the Pan, Kiss and Alice Cooper, and the “Ghostbusters” theme.

I’d better quit while I’m behind.

Looking over that shoe box full of prerecorded cassettes from the turn of that decade, there aren’t many that we’ve had on cassette, CD and vinyl. This is one, though the vinyl came last.

smithereens 11 lp

“Baby Be Good,” the Smithereens, from “11,” 1989. Apparently out of print, but available digitally.

I hear the Smithereens, and I’m taken right back to that time. Quite possibly my favorite band from that time.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under May 2014, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 15

Was there snow at Christmas when we lived in Columbia, Missouri, in the early ’60s? I think so.

But we also spent a couple of those Christmases in Wisconsin, splitting time between both sets of grandparents. There certainly was snow in Wisconsin then, and certainly snow after we moved back for good in 1965.

Now, though, there seems to be uncertainty every year about whether we’ll have snow for Christmas in Wisconsin. Maybe it’s global warming. Maybe not. We often wind up with a little snow on the ground at Christmas. But at the moment, late on a Saturday night, it’s 42 degrees, foggy and misty.

Having lived in a place where there usually is snow for Christmas, I wonder what it’s like in a place where there never is snow for Christmas.

leonredbonexmsislandcd

“Christmas Island,” Leon Redbone, from “Christmas Island,” 1989. Also available digitally.

The song dates to 1946, when the Andrews Sisters first recorded it with Guy Lombardo. It also has been covered by Jimmy Buffett. But I heard Redbone’s version first, so that’s the definitive one for me.

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

12 days of Christmas, Day 9

In the e-mail today is a note about NPR Music’s Jingle Jams holiday mix.

They asked 10 stations to suggest 10 Christmas songs each, then put it all together into one playlist. You can stream it here.

Here are 12 of the songs, in the order they appear on the Jingle Jams playlist. The station or program suggesting the song is in parentheses.

“Let It Snow,” Leon Redbone, from “Christmas Island,” 1989. (Folk Alley)

“‘Zat You, Santa Claus” Louis Armstrong, 1953, from “The Stash Christmas Album,” 1985. It’s out of print. (NPR suggests finding it on “Hipster’s Holiday,” a 1989 CD compilation.) (WBGO, Newark, New Jersey; WDUQ, Pittsburgh)

“Last Month Of The Year” the Blind Boys of Alabama, from “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” 2003. (WXPN, Philadelphia)

“Santa Claus, Santa Claus,” James Brown, from “Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” 1966. The LP is out of print but all the songs are on “The Complete James Brown Christmas,” a 2-CD set released earlier this year. (KUT, Austin, Texas)

“Back Door Santa,” Clarence Carter, from “Soul Christmas,” 1968. (KUT)

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” Darlene Love, from “A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector,” 1963. (WXPN)

“Christmas Wrapping,” the Waitresses, 1981, from “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas,” 1994. It’s out of print. (NPR suggests finding it on the “Christmas Wrapping” EP. That also appears to be out of print, but the song is available digitally.) (KUT)

“Greensleeves,” the Vince Guaraldi Trio, from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 1965. The buy link is to a 2006 remastered CD release with extra tracks, including an alternate take on this one. (WDUQ)

“Jingle Bells,” Jimmy Smith, from “Christmas ’64,” 1964. Smith’s “Christmas Cookin’,” from the same year, is the same record but with a much cooler cover.  (WBGO)

“Must Be Santa,” Brave Combo, from “It’s Christmas, Man!” 1992. Hard to find, but available from the band or digitally. NPR’s version is from a live performance at KUT. This version is done as a polka.

“Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney,” Ella Fitzgerald, 1950, from “The Stash Christmas Album,” 1985. It’s out of print. (NPR suggests finding it on “Yule Be Miserable,” a 2006 CD compilation) (WDUQ)

“The 12 Days of Christmas,” Harry Belafonte, from “To Wish You A Merry Christmas,” 1962. (NPR Music staff)

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2010

Red, white and blue

Here’s some music for your Fourth of July party.

We have some red, some white, some blue, but no Greenwood.

Red.


“Red Hot,” Marcia Ball, from “Gatorhythms,” 1989.

Yes, she is. This is not the old rockabilly tune that was a hit for Billy Lee Riley and covered by Sleepy LaBeef. This swinging tune was written by country singer Lee Roy Parnell and Cris Moore.

White.

“A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” the Dells, from “Love is Blue,” 1969. It’s out of print. This tune is available on “The Best of the Dells,” an import CD released in 2001.

That 1969 LP from the fine Chicago group was chock full of covers, including Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey” and a medley of Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”

Blue.


“Blue Am I,” the Tri-Sax-Ual Soul Champs, from “Go Girl,” 1990. It’s out of print.

Two legends, both gone now, solo on this one. That’s Sil Austin on tenor sax and Snooks Eaglin on guitar. This CD brought together Austin, who played with Tiny Bradshaw back in the ’50s, with fellow R&B sax great Grady “Fats” Jackson, who played with Elmore James and LIttle Walter. They were joined by Mark Kazanoff, a fixture on the music scene in Austin, Texas, at the time. It was their only album.

And now some real American music!

“Red Rose,” the Blasters, from “Non Fiction,” 1983. Long out of print …

“Long White Cadillac,” the Blasters, from “Non Fiction,” 1983.  … it’s being reissued on CD next week.

“Blue Shadows,” the Blasters, from “Streets Of Fire” soundtrack, 1984. (Please excuse the skip about 20 seconds in.)

Ah, the Blasters. You really had to have seen them live. They were something. I don’t play their stuff too much these days. It’s all seared into my head from back then.

And now something for after all the fireworks have gone out.

“Red Roses For A Blue Lady,” Baja Marimba Band, from “Baja Marimba Band Rides Again,” 1965. It’s out of print.

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Filed under July 2010, Sounds

Explain, please

There are 18,000 people in our suburb, but there’s evidence that it is nonetheless a small town.

Sitting out on a table near the checkouts at the grocery store the other morning was the most recent issue of our local police newsletter. Always good reading. Especially this item:

“(An officer) was on patrol late one night, when he came across a naked male and female having sex in a field of East Lawn Park.”

“Uhh … do it, baby .. uhh … mmm … mmm-hmm!”

“Doin’ It,” Ike and Tina Turner and The Ikettes, from “Come Together,” 1970. Out of print.

Oh, but it gets better.

“Upon seeing the officer, both took off running down the trail into Green Bay. The female was apprehended shortly thereafter …”

“In the daytime Mary Hill was a teaser/Come the night she was such a pleaser/Oh, Mary Hill was such a thrill after dark/In Cherry Hill Park.”

“Cherry Hill Park,” Billy Joe Royal, 1969, from “Billy Joe Royal Greatest Hits,” a 1989 CD release on Columbia. It’s out of print, but Amazon has mp3s. (The single is Columbia 44902. Thanks, Whiteray!)

Oh, but it gets better still.

” … however the male, in an attempt to avoid responding officers, swam out into the middle of the East River. Eventually, he gave up after being told a (police dog) was being deployed to bring him back to shore.”

“Hug me, squeeze me, love me, tease me/Til I can’t, til I can’t, til I can’t take no more of it/Take me to the water, drop me in the river/Push me in the water, drop me in the river.”

“I don’t know why I love you like I do/All the troubles you put me through.”

“Take Me To The River,” Talking Heads, from “More Songs About Buildings and Food,” 1978.

Just one question: How, exactly, is this a threat to the public’s safety?

“I ain’t hurtin’ nobody/I ain’t hurtin’ no one/Hurtin’ nobody/Hurtin’ no one.”

“Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody,” John Prine, from “Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings,” 1995.

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Filed under September 2008, Sounds

Baby, you can drive my car

When a story asks “Hey, was that Paul McCartney at the Route 66 Welcome Center at the museum in Joliet, Illinois?” you must read it.

Mary Schmich has that story in today’s Chicago Tribune.

Need further proof? People magazine confirms it. Macca and his new girlfriend, Nancy Shevell, are on vacation, driving the Mother Road from Chicago to L.A.

And then another Macca sighting along Route 66! He stops to use the restroom in Springfield, Illinois.

In that spirit, here are three swell versions of the tune written in 1946 by Bobby Troup.

“Route 66,” Chuck Berry, from the “Cars” original soundtrack, 2006.

Because you must have a road song by Chuck Berry. Listen for the detour at the end.

“Route 66,” Marcia Ball, from “More Songs of Route 66: Roadside Attractions,” 2001.

Because I would ride anywhere with Miss Ball, the lovely swing pianist from Austin, Texas. (And because this version has a trippy, Beatlesque intro that’s reminiscent of “A Day in the Life.”)

“Route 66,” the Joneses, from “Tits and Champagne,” a 1989 EP that’s out of print but is available on eMusic.

Because I wouldn’t have heard this cover from this ’80s “rock ‘n’ roll sleaze band” from Hollywood were it not for our man Aikin over at Licorice Pizza, who posted it a month ago. Thank you, sir.

As long as we’re talking about the road, check out this week’s series of songs about cars over at Star Maker Machine, a swell read in its own right.

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Filed under August 2008, Sounds

Another day at Ray’s Corner

Longtime readers know we occasionally stop by Ray’s Corner to listen to tunes spirited from my dad’s music collection.

So we’re back there on this Father’s Day, which this year follows Dad’s birthday by exactly one day. Dad turned 83 yesterday. He doesn’t get around too well anymore, but he’s still sharp.

Here, then, are a couple of tunes you might hear at Ray’s Corner. It’s the apartment with the loud music, and the place where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

They’re kind of laid back. Perfect for a lazy summer Sunday.

“Night Train,” Louis Prima, from “The Wildest,” 1957.

Dad was 31, and he and Mom had probably just learned I was on the way when this album was released in January 1957. It really is the wildest! It’s mostly swing, jazz and blues, but you can see rock and roll in the distance.

“Blue Light Boogie,” 1950, Louis Jordan and Trio, from “The Best of Louis Jordan,” released on vinyl in 1977 and on CD in 1989.

Dad was 25, still a single guy, when this tune hit the charts in August 1950. He was working as the agent at the Railway Express Agency office in the depot in his hometown of Elroy, Wisconsin. He was living at home, but you can be sure he got out and heard this tune on the jukeboxes of the day.

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Filed under June 2008, Sounds