Gary and His Eyes Have Parted Company

I ran out of new writing ideas somewhere around the time when Albert Belle's sullenness was still an ongoing cause for concern among baseball fans ("What's wrong with Albert? Why isn't he happier?"), so I'm going to copy something Scott Woods is doing over on one of his 17 web pages: cataloguing my record collection from front to back and writing about whatever comes to mind. I think Scott's written something on pretty much every record he's listed so far. My version will be less ambitious: for every ten records I list, I'll write 10 or 11 words. By keeping things manage- able, I expect to last well into the A's before losing interest. To begin, I'll skip over compilations and 12-inches--which in my sometimes inex- plicable filing system are grouped before the alphabetical section starts--and catch up with Scott's just-posted celebration of Adamski: 1. ABBA: Greatest Hits 2. Gregory Abbott: Shake You Down 3. Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl 4. Muhal Richard Abrams: Lifea Blinec 5. AC/DC: Back in Black 6. Memorial Album for Johnny Ace 7. David Ackles: American Gothic 8. Barbara Acklin: Love Makes a Woman 9. The Best of Roy Acuff 10. Roy Acuff: Greatest Hits, Volume Two 11. Bryan Adams: Reckless 12. Adamski: Liveanddirect One thing I'll try to make note of for each group of albums I list are "Songs I either have or might put onto a mix-tape for someone else." Somewhere along the way, I began to treat every album I own as belonging to one of two groups: albums that yield songs for compilation tapes (or, more recently, CD-700s) and albums that don't. From the group above, Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love" (or "Never Let Me Go") and Barbara Acklin's "Love Makes a Woman" are the only songs I've ever included on a compilation, and I bet that that 2/12 ratio, approximately 15%, is a pretty accu- rate estimate of how much of my collection has actually been played at least once in the past 10 years. So although it might appear that I know a little bit or care something about Roy Acuff, the truth is that #9 and #10 have been languishing on the shelf for years, unplayed since the day after I bought them. (Not quite true-- I have a distinct memory of replaying a couple of sides from #10 at some point). No offense, Roy; Adamski's been languishing even more vigorously. ____________________________________________________________________________ 13. Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else 14. King Sunny Ade: Juju Music 15. Hasil Adkins: Out to Hunch 16. Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts 17. Adverts: Cast of Thousands 18. Aerosmith: Toys in the Attic 19. Aerosmith: Rocks 20. Afrika Korps: God It's Them Again! 21. Agent Orange: Living in Darkness 22. Gerald Albright: Just Between Us 23. Lillian Allen: Revolutionary Tea Party 24. Alley Cats: Escape From the Planet Earth 25. The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East 26. Allman Brothers Band: Brothers and Sisters 27. Duane Allman: An Anthology 28. All Stars: "Live" European Concert Mixworthy: "Gary Gilmore's Eyes," #16; "Toys in the Attic" and "Sweet Emotion," #18; "Jessica," #26; "Little Martha," #27. (I know there are other things above that qualify. I'm trying to narrow this down to what are essentially my very favourite songs.) Tomorrow I'll try to explain who Hunter S. Thompson was to my grade 7 class. Out- side of whatever value his writing had or didn't have (I loved Fear and Loathing when I read it in university, and never had any desire to pick up anything else by him, all of which looked like more of the same stretched a hundred different ways), you have to be really careful with something like that. I want to convey what was really funny about Fear and Loathing, and why Thompson felt he had to go to Las Vegas and take a whole bunch of drugs in order to say something about his country, while at the same time making it clear that they must never ever try to do some- thing that stupid themselves, and that Las Vegas itself is an evil town filled with people like Paul Anka and Joe Pesci. I had the same problem when I tried to explain Hasil Adkins to them earlier this year (I was playing Songs the Cramps Taught Us during an art class). "Well, he was this guy who wrote a lot of songs about...well, they were about cutting people's heads off. Please understand that these were just songs, and that in reality Hasil Adkins was just like any other normal person. May- be not normal like you and me, but normal enough that he never cut anyone's head off for real. Not that I'm aware of, anyway. I'm getting sidetracked--look, just don't ever cut anyone's head off, OK? It's the wrong thing to do." ____________________________________________________________________________ 29. Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass: Whipped Cream & Other Delights 30. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass: The Beat of the Brass 31. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: Foursider 32. Herb Alpert: "Rise" 12-inch 33. Herb Alpert: "Making Love in the Rain" 12-inch 34. Herb Alpert: Under a Spanish Moon 35. The Alpha Band 36. Alpha Band: The Statue Makers of Hollywood 37. Alphaville: The Singles Collection 38. Altered Images: Happy Birthday 39. Pilita Y Amado: En Espanol 40. America Mixworthy: "This Guy's in Love With You," #30, one of the greatest singles ever, and that's all that comes to mind for this lot. "A Horse With No Name" and "Sand- man" from #40 retain some irrational nostalgic appeal for me, and I may have included Altered Images on a new-wave tape somewhere along the way, I'm not sure. "This Guy's in Love With You" notwithstanding, I feel a little weird listing so many Herb Alpert records; I'm about a half-step away here from the lunkhead brother in Goodbye, Columbus, asking Richard Benjamin if he wants to drop by and listen to his Andre Kostelanatz collection. I'm taking all album titles and artist credits directly from the covers themselves, pointing up a billing transformation from #29- 31 as mysterious as some of Prince's name-changes: from outright ownership to col- laboration-with-an-ampersand to collaboration-without. Those first few Tijuana Brass albums from the mid-to-late '60s, five of which hit #1, currently occupy 97% of all available floor space in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores across Toronto. ____________________________________________________________________________ 41. Anarchy 6: Hardcore Lives! 42. Eric Andersen: Blue River 43. Laurie Anderson: Strange Angels 44. Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden 45. The Best of the Andrews Sisters 46. The Best of the Andrews Sisters, Vol. II 47. Inez Andrews & the Andrewettes: The Need of Prayer 48. Lee Andrews Sings 49. Angry Samoans: Inside My Brain 50. Angry Samoans: Back From Samoa 51. Angry Samoans: Inside My Brain (reissue) 52. Angry Samoans: Yesterday Started Tomorrow 53. Angry Samoans: STP Not LSD 54. Angry Samoans: The 90's Suck and So Do You Mixworthy: The Angry Samoans found their way onto most every punk tape I ever assem- bled for anybody. Usually "Get Off the Air" (#49) or one of "Lights Out," "Homo- sexual," or "Steak Knife" from #50, but Back From Samoa is pretty great from start to finish. "Long Lonely Nights" is the only song anyone remembers Lee Andrews and the Hearts for, but "Maybe You'll Be There" is better--I put that on a few doo-wop tapes. The Angry Samoans' Mike Saunders is the one living rock star I correspond with on a semi-regular basis. Sort of--Mike sends out 17 mass e-mails a day concerning Skye Sweetnam or Razorback football or some obscure corner of mid-60s West Coast folk- lore, and some of them end up in my box. I also commune with a number of dead rock stars, just yesterday engaging in a lengthy discussion about the Barry Bonds con- troversy with Harry Chapin. ____________________________________________________________________________ 55. Animals: Rock'n Roll Best 20 56. Antietam 57. Anti-Nowhere League: We Are...The League 58. Anti-Pasti: The Last Call.... 59. Apollonia 60. Archies: Everything's Archie 61. The Genius of Louis Armstrong, Volume 1: 1923-1933 62. Louis Armstrong's All Stars, Vol. II 63. Gene Norman Presents an Evening With Louis Armstrong and His All Stars 64. Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World 65. Steve Arrington: The Jammin' National Anthem 66. Artful Dodger 67. The Articulate Artistics 68. Artistics: What Happened Mixworthy: "It's My Life," #55; "Let's Break the Law," #57; "Sugar, Sugar," #60; "What a Wonderful World," #64. I don't think I've ever actually included "Sugar, Sugar" on a tape, but if the situation warranted, I would; ditto Artful Dodger's "Wayside." Rock'n Roll Best 20 only covers up to '65, so my favourite Animals song, "Don't Bring Me Down," isn't on there. The Artistics albums date to a time in the mid-to-late '80s when the flagship Sam the Record Man store in Toronto still had a handful of Brunswick soul LPs from the '60s lingering in its bins. I remember there were a couple of Jackie Wilson LPs I passed on, because I decided at the time that I already had the key songs on compi- lations. Dumb, dumb, dumb...The Antietam album is the first instance of a kind of record that turns up fairly regularly in my collection: tuneless quasi-pigfuck from the heydey of Forced Exposure. I didn't even like that stuff then, when I was still willing to give it half a chance. The Anti-Nowhere League were much closer to the Archies, so them I understood. ____________________________________________________________________________ 69. Ashford & Simpson: A Musical Affair 70. Ashford and Simpson: Real Love 71. Robert Ashley: Perfect Lives (Private Parts): The Bar 72. Steve Ashley: Stroll On 73. Association: Greatest Hits 74. Aswad: Distant Thunder 75. Athletico Spizz 80: Do a Runner 76. Atlanta Rhythm Section: Champagne Jam 77. Miki Aukema: Nothing Free 78. Au Pairs: Playing With a Different Sex 79. Au Pairs: Sense and Sensuality 80. The Very Best of Frankie Avalon 81. Avengers 82. Kevin Ayers-John Cale-Eno-Nico: June 1, 1974 83. Albert Ayler: Vibrations 84. Albert Ayler: Witches & Devils 85. Aztec Camera: High Land, Hard Rain 86. Aztec Camera: Knife Mixworthy: "Never My Love," #73; "A Boy Without a Girl," #80; "The Amerikan in Me," #81. I used to like "Rushing To" from A Musical Affair a lot, but listening to it now, it doesn't seem like anything special. I want to avoid taking the time to re- evaluate things as I go along, else this will start to seem like work very quickly. I'm going to try to trust memory and instinct as much as possible, and for this batch, memory and instinct say Frankie Avalon-1, Au Pairs and Aztec Camera-0. Steve Ashley and Miki Aukema belong to another odd subset of my collection: albums I got for free when my friend Norm used to work in the basement of the Vinyl Museum, a downtown repository for $0.99 cutouts circa 1985. I recognize these albums right away whenever I come across one, even if--as with Ashley and Aukema--I haven't the faintest memory of what they sound like. (From the cover art, the Ashley looks like archetypal '70s art-folk, with lots of songs about trolls and meadows and hangmen's beautiful daughters. It's on Motown.) They've all got a certain kind of esoteric lunacy attached to them, having once been browsed by every nutbar in the city. On to the B's.

next section

records index

other pieces