Father Says Your Mother's Right


388. Carpenters 389. Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1973 390. James Carr: At the Dark End of the Street 391. Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns 392. Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns: Synapse Gap (Mundo Total) 393. Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns: Party Weekend 394. Diahann Carroll and the Andre Previn Trio 395. Carter Family 396. Carter Family: Lonesome Pine Special 397. More Golden Gems From the Original Carter Family 398. The Original Carter Family: My Old Cottage Home 399. The Famous Carter Family 400. The Original and Great Carter Family 401. Benny Carter: Jazz Giant 402. Betty Carter: Social Call Mixworthy: "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "Superstar," #388; "We've Only Just Begun," "Hurting Each Other," and "(They Long to Be) Close to You," #389; "There's No Hid- ing Place Down Here," #397; "Worried Man Blues," #398; "Keep on the Sunny Side," #399. I'm probably missing lots by the Carter Family--the first two songs I've listed have fascinated me for years, but I don't know the balance of what I own nearly as well as I should. James Carr? Well, like Al Green he covers the Bee Gees--a rite of passage for any serious soul singer--and he's at least as good as Solomon Burke, so I'm not sure why one's in the HOF and not the other. And there you have the lowest-common-denominator logic that, for a time (the situation cor- rected itself), cluttered up the baseball HOF with a lot of weak inductees whose main selling point was that they were no worse than the worst player already in there. What about the Carpenters--where are they right now in terms of critical standing? They became "okay to like" 10 years ago or so, when Sonic Youth and a bunch of like- minded people participated in a tribute album; Sonic Youth also had "Tunic (Song for Karen)" on one of their own albums, there was a biography of Karen Carpenter written by Ray Coleman, and (a few years earlier, so probably the launch point for what fol- lowed) the Todd Haynes film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. I've never seen the movie--I'm still busy pestering Todd with daily phone calls to get my money back for Far From Heaven. I guess I'm not quite as enamoured of the Carpenters myself as when I did my overnight radio show in the late '80s, but the five songs listed above will always be among my key entry points into remembering my favourite era of pop radio, 1970-1972, as rich in their way as After the Gold Rush, Cosmo's Factory, or "Hello It's Me"...I used to love Joe "King" Carrasco. As I scan song titles now, I can't begin to remember what even one of them sounds like. Joe, our love is a thing of the past. ________________________________________________________________________________ 403. Wilf Carter Sings Jimmie Rodgers 404. Wilf Carter: Golden Memories 405. The Casanovas Sing "You Are My Queen" 406. Peter Case 407. Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two: Original Golden Hits Volume 1 408. Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two: Original Golden Hits Volume 2 409. Johnny Cash's Greatest Hits, Volume 1 410. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison 411. Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town 412. Rosanne Cash: Somewhere in the Stars 413. Shaun Cassidy: Born Late 414. Troglodyte: The Best of the Jimmy Castor Bunch 415. Catheads: Hubba 416. Celibate Rifles: The Turgid Miasma of Existence 417. Cerrone: Love in C Minor 418. Cerrone V: Angelina Mixworthy: "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk the Line," #407; "Guess Things Happen That Way," #408; "Jackson" and "Ring of Fire," #409; "Lullaby," #415. There was a guy who wrote for Nerve--something of a "legend" to anyone who was around at the time; there are a couple of veiled allusions to him in the piece I just linked to-- who had some kind of promotional or managerial connection to the Catheads before he ended up in Toronto. There you go, Mike; "Lullaby" is my very ungnarly tribute to you. I can collapse my musical memories of 1969 (I turned eight that fall) into four names: Ray Stevens, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, and Johnny Cash. Stevens was hero to my British friend Martin and me, Humperdinck was my grandmotherís favourite, Jones was for my parents, and I had an uncle from Newfoundland (friend of the fami- ly, really) who was big on Johnny Cash. I didnít hear the Sun stuff till much later; it was "Jackson," "Ring of Fire," and "A Boy Named Sue" that I associate with that time...I received an e-mail earlier today from a low-level representative for the Committee to Elect Solomon Burke Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (better known as C.E.S.B.I.R.R.H.O.F.): "There is one crucial point I think you're overlooking: Solomon Burke had five Top 40 hits (plus a track on Dirty Dancing which was actually quite popular in the mid '80s), and James Carr has had zero. I consider James Carr pretty obscure. A lot of casual music listeners who couldn't name you a Solomon Burke song could at least identify him as a soul singer; I don't think that's the case with James Carr." I checked the Top 40 figures, and he's rightó-edge to Burke, 5-0. If you extend the comparison to Top 100 hits, Burke wins 26 (or 27ó-my edition of Whitburn is pre- Dirty Dancing) to six. I never would have guessed that Burke had charted so many songs, but it doesnít change my opinion that his case isn't any stronger than Carr's. More tellingly, neither ever made it into the Top 10, or even into the Top 20, and 26 charted songs without anything even approaching a signature hit just underscores, to me, how Burke is the quintessential journeyman: good enough to hang around for a long time, but never really having any kind of impact along the way. A good baseball comparison from this year's HOF ballot might be Chili Davis, who played long enough and well enough to accumulate 350 home runs and almost 2,500 hits, for which he re- ceived all of three out of a possible 516 votes in his first year of eligibility. And I don't know what Burke's most famous song actually is--maybe "Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)" or "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"--but Carr's "The Dark End of the Street" is at least as famous at this point in time. I'm going to here- by drop the Solomon Burke matter once and for all. I'm not sure why I'm getting so wrapped up in it in the first place...wait a minute, yes I do; because I still have 3,000 albums left to go, and I'm already starting to run out of things to say. ________________________________________________________________________________ 419. Exene Cervenka: Old Wives' Tales 420. Exene Cervenka: Running Sacred 421. The Best of Chad & Jeremy 422. Chairmen of the Board: Salute the General 423. Gene Chandler: Just Be True 424. Change of Heart: 50 Ft. Up 425. Challengers: Light My Fire With Classical Gas 426. Challengers: Vanilla Funk 427. CH3 428. CH3: Fear of Life 429. CH3: After the Lights Go Out 430. The Chantels 431. Chantels: "There's Our Song Again..." 432. Tracy Chapman Mixworthy: "Give Me Just a Little More Time," #422; "Just Be True" and "Duke of Earl," #423; "I Got a Gun," #427; "He's Gone" and "Maybe," #430; "Fast Car," #432. Only two Chantels songs, which is proof of how misleading this mixworthy section can be. The Chantels was among my favourite albums for a long time, but it was always of a piece, not really a collection of songs (that's how albums used to work, right?); "There's Our Song Again...", meanwhile, which I got in a trade, stands alongside St. Louis to Liverpool as my most highly prized acquisition in terms of scarcity, yet it's not the equal of the first album, and neither does it have "Look in My Eyes," my favourite Chantels song of all. Which is a good time to clarify something silly I wrote a number of entries back about a Polly Bergen album: "the 'value' is meaning- less to me." Sounds really noble, but obviously, seeing as I have four different price guides sitting on the shelf, that isn't exactly true. I do like the idea of owning allegedly valuable records, and I am aware of the fact when I do. What I should have said is that the value is largely hypothetical to me, since I have no intention of selling any part of my collection ever again. Even so, I still like thinking that if worse ever did come to worse, I've got whatever I could raise sel- ling records as a last-ditch safety net. I'm kind of amazed to find out I have two Exene Cervenka solo albums. I remember Old Wives' Tales (the cover and the fact that it exists, if not what it actually sounds like), but I'm drawing a complete blank on the other one...I got the Gene Chandler LP as part of the great Almada Fire Sale of the early '80s. Almada was a record importer based in Quebec at the time, and when they went under, their inven- tory started turning up in delete bins all across Toronto for $1.99 and $2.99. I vaguely recall hearing stories from record-store friends of shady characters haul- ing discontinued stock off the backs of trucks GoodFellas-style. I spent a lot of time and a lot of gas that summer running from one Mister Sound to another and grabbing whatever I could--I even remember sulking when Vinyl Museum Norm beat me to one particular stash at Bramalea City Centre. ________________________________________________________________________________ 433. Ray Charles: Rockin' With Ray 434. The Genius of Ray Charles 435. The Greatest Ray Charles 436. Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz 437. Ray Charles: A Man and His Soul 438. The Best of the Ray Charles Singers 439. Teddy Charles/Short Rogers: Collaboration: West 440. The Teddy Charles Quintet 441. Cheap Trick 442. Cheap Trick: In Color 443. Cheap Trick: Heaven Tonight 444. Cheap Trick at Budokan 445. Cheap Trick: Dream Police 446. Cheap Trick: The Doctor 447. Let's Limbo Some More With Chubby Checker Mixworthy: "Come Rain or Come Shine," #434; "What I'd Say," #435; "Hit the Road Jack," and "No Use Crying," #437; "He's a Whore," #441; "Downed," "I Want You to Want Me," and "Southern Girls," #442; "Surrender," #444; ""Dream Police," #445. I'll do with "Surrender" what I almost did with "Folsom Prison Blues" two entries ago: choose the famous live recording over the studio version. What's going on with Ray Charles these days anyway? You hardly ever hear his name anymore...Back to the HOF (but no mention of S______ B____, promise). Chubby Checker has been actively lobbying to get in there the past few years, much as there was a very vocal Ken Keltner lobby among baseball people a while back. Bill James even de- vised what he called "The Ken Keltner Test" to evaluate a player's suitability for induction, so named because Keltner's candidacy was superficially credible until you started to apply a series of very specific questions to his career (e.g., "If he retired today, would he be the best player in baseball not in the Hall of Fame?"). Here's a good N.Y. Mets site that applies the Keltner test to Keith Hernandez. Any- way, it'd be neat to create a similar test for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If I understand Chubby Checker correctly, his own case rests on the fact that the Twist was both a cultural phenomenon and a revolutionary moment in the history of popular dance: the first time where the two dancers never made any kind of physical contact. Even setting aside the small fact that "The Twist" was actually someone else's song (and Hank Ballard was inducted in 1990), I think Chubby's kind of reaching there. Streaking and C.B. radios and Survivor were cultural phenomena too, but C.W. McCall has been prudent enough to keep to himself and let history render its own verdict. I'm not even sure if the no-touching distinction is true or not--did the Charleston involve touching? Keltner never got into Cooperstown, and he's been dropped from the ballot by this point. I like Chubby Checker--if I had a decent vinyl compilation, I'd be listing "The Twist," "Let's Twist Again," and "Pony Time"--but I think he's going to be waiting a long, long time. For now, anyway (and here's the dumb punch- line this whole spiel has been prelude to), his case remains in limbo.

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