We Dance Just as Good as We Want

160. Beat Farmers: Tales of the New West 161. Staying Out Late With Beat Rodeo 162. Beatles: Talk Down Under 163. Birth of the Beatles 164. Beatles: Beatlemania! 165. Beatles: Long Tall Sally 166. Beatles: A Hard Day's Night (UK) 167. Beatles for Sale (UK) 168. Beatles: Help! (UK) 169. Beatles' Greatest 170. Beatles: Rubber Soul (US) 171. Beatles: Yesterday and Today 172. Beatles: Revolver (US) 173. Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 174. The Beatles 175. Beatles: Abbey Road 176. Beatles: Hey Jude 177. Beatles: Let It Be Mixworthy: At last: after 150+ albums, I finally get to say my piece on the Beat Farmers...If the Beach Boys are worth six songs, the Beatles get 10. And that'll be the ceiling; Neil Young will get 10 too..."Eight Days a Week" and "Every Little Thing," #167; "I Need You," "Ticket to Ride," and "Tell Me What You See," #168; "I've Just Seen a Face" and "Norwegian Wood," #170; "She Said She Said," #172; "Long, Long, Long," #174; and "Rain," #176. I don't have Yellow Submarine, else "It's All Too Much" would bump "She Said She Said." For album, Help!; my second choice would be either Beatles for Sale or The White Album. Three years ago, I organized a school-wide Beatles assembly where I teach. I was so completely immersed in everything to do with the Beatles for the weeks leading up to the assembly--music and quizzes on the morning announcements, a display case, post- ers, rehearsing four students to reenact the Sullivan performance--that I've been a little Beatled-out ever since. (The assembly was amazing: being in a gym filled with 400 kids clapping along to the "Ticket to Ride" sequence from Help!, roaring with laughter, was as good as teaching ever gets.) But that doesn't mean I'm tired of my favourite Beatles music in the way that, as I said below, I can get tired of the Beach Boys or the Rolling Stones. Obviously there are specific songs I'd be content to never hear again--"Day Tripper," "Come Together," and "Drive My Car" would head the list--but I think I can honestly say I never get tired of the Beatles; there's never a time where I won't hear something like "Ticket to Ride" or "Eight Days a Week" and just be floored by its brilliance. I have a theory that in the whole his- tory of the universe--the whole thing, from ground zero till today--the Beatles have brought more happiness into the world than any other four people who ever lived. Religion? No chance. Christ, Allah, the Buddah, whatever--however much happiness and comfort you want to attribute to any religious figure, real or imagined, there's a lot of misery and guilt and destructive zealotry on the other side of the ledger. With the Beatles, there's no downside--there's just thousands upon thousands upon millions of people who have also heard a certain song at a certain moment and had everything else just fall away as complete and utter happiness takes over...The Beat Farmers belong to a group of default punchlines I keep handy in case of emergency. I've got Right Said Fred from the early '90s, Wishbone Ash for the early '70s, Doc- tor & the Medics and the Beat Farmers for the mid-80s. Whatever the joke, insert the applicable name and you can't go wrong: 1. Why did the chicken cross the road? Wishbone Ash. 2. How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? The Beat Farmers. See? ____________________________________________________________________________ 178. Sidney Bechet: The Blue Bechet 179. Be Bop Deluxe: Modern Music 180. Jeff Beck: Truth/Beck-Ola 181. Celi Bee: "Fly Me on the Wings of Love" 12-inch 182. Celi Bee: Blow My Mind 183. Best of Bee Gees 184. Bee Gees: Main Course 185. Saturday Night Fever 186. Bee Gees: Spirits Having Flown 187. Captain Beefheart: The Spotlight Kid 188. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band: Doc at the Radar Station 189. The Bix Beiderbecke Story: Vol. 1 - Bix and His Gang 190. The Bix Beiderbecke Story: Vol. 2 - Bix and Tram 191. Harry Belafonte: Belafonte 192. Harry Belafonte: Calypso 193. Harry Belafonte: Jump Up Calypso Mixworthy: "Shapes of Things" #180 (not as good as the Yardbirds' original, but excellent anyway); "Night Fever," #185. I've also put Jeff Beck's "I Ain't Super- stitious" on a double-CD of music from Scorsese films I recently compiled; I like it in the context of the film (Casino), otherwise it's nothing I ever took much notice of. The Beck double and Be-Bop Deluxe date back to high school, meaning they're among the first hundred or so albums I ever bought. I bet I haven't put on Modern Music in 25 years. What do I remember of it? "Modern music, on the raaayyydiiiooo...", and that's about it. I'm not sure how it survived the time I sold a couple dozen mullethead albums to Randy, a guy I used to work with at Sunrise Records in Toronto; Modern Music has Randy written all over it. I've written before about how I now re- gret this transaction. There was a moderately hard-to-find Canadian album included in the deal, Moxy, but much more important than that, I handed over a small, really personal corner of my record-collecting autobiography. I'm having a hard time remem- bering what else I parted company with, but a few titles come to mind (I'm checking each one as I type to make sure it's indeed M.I.A.): the CSNY best-of So Far, Gor- don Lightfoot's Sundown, Don McLean's American Pie, a Renaissance double-live (!)--a mix of '70s singer-songwriters, metal, and art-rock, all of it bought when I was in grades 10-13. Most of what I've just listed is ho-hum ordinary, but the Renaissance LP gives a better idea of some of the horror-show dreck that was in there--basical- ly, I was just embarrassed at the time to own some of these records. (This as I was avidly buying Die Kreuzen and Scratch Acid and all the other Renaissances of their day.) So dumb. I probably got about 40 dollars for the lot. I'm amazed it never occurred to me that somewhere along the way I might be really glad that that small corner of the story was still there on the shelf, good for a laugh if nothing else, maybe even important in some hard-to-describe way. ____________________________________________________________________________ 194. Archie Bell & the Drells: Tighten Up 195. Archie Bell & the Drells: There's Gonna Be a Showdown 196. William Bell: The Soul of a Bell 197. Bells: Fly, Little White Dove, Fly 198. Regina Belle: All By Myself 199. Louie Bellson and His Jazz Orchestra 200. Just Jesse Belvin 201. Tony Bennett: Tony's Greatest Hits 202. Tony Bennett: More Tony's Greatest Hits 203. Brook Benton: Looking Back 204. Brook Benton: Golden Hits 205. Polly Bergen: Bergen Sings Morgan 206. Irving Berlin: A Hundred Years Mixworthy: "Tighten Up" #194; "Go for What You Know," #195; "Love Look Away," #202; "It's Just a Matter of Time," #204; "What'll I Do" (Judy Holliday), #206. I'm a little iffy on the Bennett and Holliday tracks, but I remember them as being quite good. Having said that, the MTV-sponsored veneration of Tony Bennett throughout the 1990s was one of the most absurd phenomenons I've ever witnessed. He's a good singer with a few good songs. All of a sudden, for no seemingly discernable reason other than that he was a refugee from another time and place who still happened to be around, he spent a few years being greeted at pop-star award shows like he was Andre 3000 or something. Bizarre. There are maybe a dozen records in my collection that fall into the Polly Bergen category: old original-issue LPs that I bought solely because they were cheap and virtually brand new. The Bergen record is from 1957, on the maroon Columbia label, a mono issue that the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide lists for $30.00 in near- mint condition. Such alleged value is meaningless to me. As I've indicated already, I haven't sold a single album since the great Randy Debacle of 1986; price-guide listings (like baseball-card listings) are theoretical anyway, since in reality you'd be lucky to get $2.50 from one of Polly Bergen's grandchildren for the album. Such records are not investments--what I love about them is how good they look when you take them out of the sleeve and inspect them under the light. My attraction has all the considered sophistication of Homer Simpson: "Mmmmmmmnnnnnnn...shiny." ____________________________________________________________________________ 207. Chuck Berry: After School Session 208. Chuck Berry: St. Louis to Liverpool 209. Chuck Berry's Golden Decade 210. Chuck Berry's Golden Decade Vol. 2 211. Chuck Berry's Golden Decade Vol. 3 212. Chuck Berry: Motorvatin' 213. Mike Berry: Rock's in My Head 214. Richard Berry and the Dreamers: Rock 'n' Roll Hits of the 50's 215. Big Black: Songs About Fucking 216. Big Brother & the Holding Company 217. Big Brother & the Holding Company: Cheap Thrills 218. Big Brother & the Holding Company: Joseph's Coat 219. Big Country: The Crossing 220. Big Stick Mixworthy: "Too Much Monkey Business" and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," #207; "No Par- ticular Place to Go" and "The Promised Land," #208; "Almost Grown" and "Johnny B. Goode," #209; "Come On," #210; "Next Time," "The Big Break," and "Pretty Brown Eyes," #214; "Down on Me," #216; "Combination of the Two" and "Piece of My Heart," #217; "I Look Like Shit," #220. Twenty years ago, I would have listed as many songs by Chuck Berry as by anyone--I wrote a script for a university film class centered around a cross-country search for a copy of St. Louis to Liverpool. I really only listen to him once a year now, when I play "Come On" for my students on his birthday, but glancing at the albums, it's not difficult to remember which songs I love the most. Whatever your cut-off point for the inner circle of founding fathersó-Elvis, Berry, Little Richard, and Lewis, with Fats Domino, Holly, and Bo Diddley optionaló-he's the guy for me... #214's one of my half-dozen autographed albums. Berry played the Brunswick House in Toronto (a really awful frathouse blues bar like the one Steve Buscemi is morti- fied by in Ghost World) in 1987. I had done a phone interview a few days earlier, on my shortlist of favourite interviews, and he signed the album before the show: "To Phil: The Nerve of the Nerve Always, Richard Berry." I donít think Richard was on Nerveís mailing list, so I'm guessing that something along the lines of "Uh, what was the name of that publication again?" was uttered at some point prior to signing. ____________________________________________________________________________ 221. Barney Bigard - Albert Nicholas 222. Biz Markie: Goin' Off 223. Bizarros/Rubber City Rebels: From Akron 224. The Very Best of Cilla Black 225. Black Flag: Jealous Again 226. Black Flag: Damaged 227. Black Flag: My War 228. Black Flag: Slip It In 229. Black Merda 230. Black Uhuru: Black Sounds of Freedom 231. Black Uhuru: Sinsemilla 232. Blackouts: Men in Motion 233. Art Blakey Quintet: A Night at Birdland Volume 2 234. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Kyoto 235. Art Blakey Quartet: A Jazz Message Mixworthy: "Kidnaped" (Rubber City Rebels, sic), #223; "Jealous Again" and "White Minority," #225; "Rise Above" and "TV Party," #226. I was originally going to say not to get in a panic, "White Minority"'s not what you think it is (cf. "White Riot"), but I just checked some online lyrics and, what do you know, maybe it is. Whatever--as I often find myself saying these days, it is what it is. I can't say for sure, but I have a feeling that My War and Slip It In played a small part in redirecting my interest from hardcore and pigfuck in the mid-80s to a redis- covery of pop music. One of many factors, but a factor. I really liked both title songs at the time. My reaction to the sub-Iron Butterfly yowling that made up the rest of each album: "This is so unbelievably stupid."

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