Monday, August 26, 2013

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

I had to do this one today because while I was listening to some college radio so I could hear all things not Classic Rock (which when I look at the records on this blog it looks like they're all Classic Rock to me and I'm just as boring as WNCX), and this girl, who was having trouble playing a song by Can or The Fugs or something, decided to play a request by "a band I normally despise, Fleetwood Mac."  How can you despise Fleetwood Mac?  I suppose I can understand her not liking some of their stuff (I think the Peter Green era stuff is Dullsville, man), but they have too many different kinds of things to be despised.  So all day long, I'm thinking, "I'm gonna listen to Fleetwood Mac when I get home, and I'm gonna say why I think they're fucking great!"

Which brings us to here.  I lost this album for a few months because I filed it under "N" or something weird like that.  Now, you may wonder how anyone that grew up in the 70's could even listen to this, because it was pretty much the soundtrack of 1977 and a big chunk of 1978.  Those were some good years for music, too, and this was popular with just about everyone.  Because it's a great album, and it deserves to be looked at that way.  Not just because it has songs politicians steal and miss the point on, but because everyone can take something from this record.

I remember this dude we called Cabbage, and we used to go to this church teen club (believe me, our church already knew I thought the whole thing was bullshit, but these people were gonna lead me down the right path) and we'd skip out half the time, get Cabbage to drive us around in his really bitchin' 72 Chevelle and drink beers.  That was fun!  I don't think Cabbage really liked us, but one of the girls we hung out with had the poor guy wrapped around her finger.  I didn't care so long as I got out of the house and got to party.

I think this thing was called Hi Club, like for high school, and also the greeting, because we were high school kids meeting god or something.  They had a jukebox that was filled with some truly rank crap, and one of the projects I decided I needed to work on was getting new records for the jukebox and getting it fixed and to play for free.  Well, that turned out to be an easy project because we had the key to the jukebox and it was full of change.  I think the parent that did Hi Club called a jukebox company and they sent us a list of available 45's, and I was probably the most opinionated as to what songs would go and what would stay (I know The Flamingos I Only Have Eyes For You stayed, and I think some other stuff that you could dance to.  I know that Rumours was the biggest thing on the planet, and we got several singles from that.  I know Dreams was pretty constantly played, and so was Go Your Own Way.  We also got some slightly more rocking material on there, and I think I was able to keep Freebird off the jukebox not by arguing that I hated Lynyrd Skynyrd, but by arguing that the single version would only be one song, and it would fade in the middle and then it would have to be flipped over and if lots of people were playing songs, you could actually hear the second half before you ever heard the first half.  That worked, and to this day I have no idea if the single version of Freebird is like that, or if it's edited and there's another song   I'm just devious, and I didn't like Skynyrd at all back then.

Rumours was the soundtrack to long swimming meets, cool parties, dorky parties, driving around with a cool stereo with a cassette deck, and even in a car with a boring AM radio.  Rumours was everywhere, and it was cool as hell.  It still is.

I always tell people not to spend any money on this record, though.  I think mine was a quarter at a garage sale, and it's in great shape.  Songbird is a little crackly, but it's not annoying.  I've got the insert with the songs and lyrics, too.  This will never get an audiophile alert because it's just not a stunning recording, but it is a very good recording and you can get a nice one very reasonably.  Why get a reissue when there are literally 20 million to choose from?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Cars - Candy-O

I really like the first couple of albums by The Cars.  As they went on I think they were always good for a hit single that I wouldn't hate on the Top 40 station when I came across it, but the first two albums, the self titled one and Candy-O are easily my favorites and the only two I’ll probably ever own.  Maybe it’s because they came out when I was in high school and the others came out when I was out of school and music had become much less of a communal activity for me.  Or, it could be that I just like the first two albums and The Cars had kind of a sameness to their sound and I got bored with them after that.

The summer Candy-O came out I had a job at a restaurant called Casey’s.  Casey’s was an old style place.  You could get breakfast any time, and you could get dinner any time.  You could get beer and liquor any time, too.  We had a little bar off the dining room and it was real dark, but the waitresses could get you a drink if you were in the dining room even if it was 5:30 AM when we opened.  I never worked that early, I worked the end of breakfast rush and then lunch and after lunch I cooked all of Mrs. Casey’s daily specials like meat loaf, stuffed cabbage and I got to make all the soups, too.  Lunch there was pretty quiet and the waitress and I were often the only two people there (but the manager was an ex-cop and showed up to check on us all the time).  I remember I was 17 and we ran out of beer in the keg and they told three guys from Ford they’d have to drink bottles for lunch.  I told the manager I could swap a keg in two minutes or less and he (being an ex-cop) was skeptical, but I did it and the Ford guys were happy and tipped the waitress really well, and even started getting food to go after that.  So when I showed up, I was a pretty decent teenage cook to have around.

My problem was I hardly ever showed up after my parents took the summer off and when to their cottage.  I got to stay home, but to insure I wouldn't have big parties, my little sister’s sitter moved in.  She didn’t care what I did so long as I didn't have a big party (I wasn't that kid anyway), and my friends were absolutely in L-U-V love with her.  She still didn't let me smoke in the house, cuz she didn't smoke.  What’s all this got to do with Candy-O, you’re asking?

Well, I moved my stereo (there’s a post about on here somewhere) out into the rec room.  I moved the whole room around to accommodate my teenage trash and I lived in that room all summer.  It was pretty great, lemme tell ya!  One of the albums I bought that summer was The Cars – Candy-O.  It was brand new, and just came out right at the beginning of summer.  For me, this album just screams “Summertime!  Let’s have fun!”  I thought the cover was brilliant.  I thought the first single, Let’s Go, was even more brilliant (I think I still do).  The best thing about it is that absolutely everybody loved it.  All my friends thought it was great.  Me, the stupid wannabe Punk Rock music snob thought it was great.  The jocks loved it, and girls liked it, too.  There weren't always records that so many people could get behind, and the summer of ‘79 this was the go to album for pretty much everyone.

I already mentioned Let’s Go, and it’s totally solid to this day.  I always felt there were four real classics by The Cars on this album.  The other three are the title track, which was sort of a tamed down Devo with better guitars and It’s All I Can Do, which was a really good ballad and the last song on the album, Dangerous Type.  The girl in Dangerous Type was like adult dangerous.  Now that I’m definitely an adult I think she’s dangerous because she’s apparently barely formed in Ric Ocasek’s head (have you looked at the lyrics? They’re dumb).  But I was 17 and I was pretty sure I wanted to meet a dangerous type girl.  Which is pretty funny, now that I think about it.

That was a great summer, and I couldn’t get enough of Candy-O.  In fact, I ended up losing it.  I think I took it to a party and forgot it and the party thrower said they never could find it (LIAR!).  But that’s okay.  My wife got it for me on cd in the 80’s and a few years back I decided to get one, but I wanted it cheap.  It took about three copies, but I now have a really nice one.  I think my total investment is around  two dollars, so I did pretty well.  And here’s where I tell you a secret that will save you cash if you follow my advice.  Mine is a Columbia House Record Club version.  It’s got the CHC on the back cover, and other than that it’s all Elektra.  Columbia House was a division of Columbia Records, and yes, they occasionally made their own pressings of records, but the Terre Haute pressing plant wasn’t some fly by night outfit.  Those guys were good.  Other labels often just sent Columbia House their own pressings and the art for the covers, because Columbia House bought so many of them.  They were great customers and they were given quality product.  I've never had an inferior pressed record from them.

Now, you may see some really trashed CH records.  The reason is because a lot of the people that did that were kids or people that didn't really see music as an important part of their daily breakfast.  Those aren't the ones you want.  The ones you want are the ones that people got stuck with.  A record they didn't order, but got because they didn't send a postcard back in time.  So then you get a record that is undesirable because of old rumors about how CH got their records, and a record someone never wanted anyway.  So it’s probably unplayed.  An unplayed record whose worst case scenario is that it was pressed by Columbia Records.  Hey, don’t believe me.  I’ll keep buying them cheap and minty and enjoy the hell out of them, like I do with this one!