Interrupting My Train of Thought

2797. Weirdos: Who? What? When? Where? Why? 2798. The Kitty Wells Story 2799. Mary Wells: Bye Bye Baby 2800. Mary Wells: Greatest Hits 2801. Mary Wells: My Guy 2802. Wendy and Lisa 2803. Wet Wet Wet: Popped In Souled Out 2804. Wham!: Make It Big 2805. Whispers: Love Is Where You Find It 2806. Whispers: "In the Raw" 12-inch 2807. Whispers: Greatest Hits 2808. Barry White's Greatest Hits 2809. Josh White 2810. Karyn White 2811. Chris Whiteley and Caitlin Hanford: Lovin' in Advance Mixworthy: "What Love Has Joined Together," #2800. A borderline pick for the sake of listing something; I recall that there was a Mary Wells song I'd occasionally play on CIUT, so I checked, and that's the one. I won't list "My Guy" as spent, because I don't think there was ever a time when I considered it much more than just okay. I had forgotten Wells died of cancer at a very young age (48) until I checked an online bio. I was trying to confirm the one thing I do remem- ber about her: that she was scheduled to play Toronto in the mid-80s, and prior to the show she was reported as missing for a few days. That was unusual enough in and of itself, but the real reason I still remember the story is because just before she disappeared, Scott Woods had interviewed her for The Eyeopener, one of Ryerson Univer- sity's student papers. There was a point after the story broke where Scott and I actu- ally started to wonder if he'd become known as the last person ever to speak to Mary Wells alive--or, conversely, if he'd be taken in as the prime suspect in her abduction. Scott had earlier interviewed Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Earhart just before their disap- pearances, so it did seem that a disturbing pattern was beginning to emerge...Venera- tion of Barry White mystifies me. He's got some corny nostalgic value, and he's good for a laugh. I think he took himself considerably less seriously than anyone who tries to suggest he was an iconic soul singer. In the realm of seduction music--and having effective seduction music on hand at all times is of paramount importance to me--he conjures up visions of The Simpsons' Disco Stu...Josh, Karyn, and Barry White were all black; Wham! was punchless; the Weirdos weren't weird. Wet, Wet, Wet was kind of soggy, though. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2812. The Who: My Generation 2813. The Who Sell Out 2814. The Who: Direct Hits 2815. The Who: Tommy 2816. The Who: Live at Leeds 2817. Who's Next 2818. The Who: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy 2819. The Who: Quadrophenia 2820. The Who: Odds & Sods 2821. The Who by Numbers 2822. The Who: Two's Missing 2823. Whodini: Escape 2824. David Wilcox: How Did You Find Me Here 2825. Jane Wiedlin: Fur 2826. Wild Cherry 2827. The Wild Magnolias 2828. The Wild Magnolias: They Call Us Wild Mixworthy: "The Kids Are Alright," #2812; "I Can See for Miles" and "I Can't Reach You," #2813; "Bargain," #2817; "I Can't Explain," "Happy Jack," "Pictures of Lily," "Substitute," and "I'm a Boy," #2818; "Circles," #2822. Spent: "My Generation," #2812; "Won't Get Fooled Again," #2817; "Play That Funky Music," #2826. I took a couple of days off from this to think about the Who, but then I remembered I'm on summer vacation, during which time thinking too hard is against the rules, so I instead did a Homer Simpson and just filled my mind with images of space aliens and dancing cows. So I guess I'll just have to wing it. Twice in my life the Who were up near the very top of the list: from the end of high school through to the beginning of university, first for (of course) Who's Next and then later because of the simul- taneous appearance of The Kids Are Alright and Quadrophenia in theatres, and then again in the mid-80s, when I reviewed Two's Missing for Nerve and spent some time relistening to all the singles collected on Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (also a high school favourite). It was during that second period of intense interest that I felt sure that, on "Substitute " and "I Can't Reach You" and "Pictures of Lily," the Who had hit upon a version of pop music that may have been even closer to God than what the Beatles had crafted a year or two earlier. There's a mix of fragility and calm and intricacy on "I Can't Reach You" (not a famous song--if you don't know it, it leads side two of The Who Sell Out) that, as I've said about other stuff on here, makes me wonder "Where did that come from?" I say without hesitation that Pete Town- shend was a genius from 1965 through 1967, and he created a body of work during that short span of time that you could spend a lifetime trying to take apart and adequate- ly articulate its complexity. That's the good news; on the other side of the ledger, though, there's more baggage than even the Rolling Stones carry around in trying to perpetually hear that body of work fresh. First and foremost is the improbable reluc- tance of Townshend and Daltrey to put the "Closed" sign up once and for all--for a long time, nothing all that out of the ordinary, but bizarre after Entwistle's death. They suffer from overplay on one radio format as much as anyone out there, covering all phases of their career from the sublime ("My Generation") to the ridiculous ("Who Are You"). (On a related note, one song I should detest by now but don't is "Baba O'Riley"; most times it comes on the radio it still resonates with me, and if there were sufficient room above, I would be comfortable listing it.) The Tommy/Who's Next/ Quadrophenia second phase of their career is a problem in general: there's greatness there that just does not hold up as well as the first phase, and--for me, anyway, and notwithstanding what I just finished saying about "Baba O'Riley"--I have a hard time getting past the image of a bare-chested Daltrey to want to give those albums the attention they deserve anymore. (Not a problem with the Rolling Stones, as I con- sider their parallel phase--from Beggars Banquet to Exile--as their best.) And then there was all that ugly business with Townshend a couple of years ago, and that inev- itably interferes: one thing I always got from those early songs was a certain kind of purity (even when about cross-dressing or masturbation!), and that's been compro- mised, though not vitiated altogether--great art's too durable for that, right? All of these obstacles matter, and to remain a fan, you almost have to take that '65-67 period and quarantine it as something that exists apart from everything else you know about the Who. I guess that's what I've been able to do, because a fan I remain. One last note: if I had A Quick One on vinyl, I'd be listing "Don't Look Away" and "See My Way." To make room, I'd drop two of "Happy Jack," "I'm a Boy," and "Bargain"...A different kind of purity: I interviewed Jane Wiedlin in 1988, giving her the honour 17 years later of officially having debased herself, courtesy her current run on The Surreal Life, more publicly and more spectacularly than anyone else I interviewed during that time. I would never have guessed she'd end up being the one, not with La- Toya Jackson and Apollonia and Barry Manilow for competition. She's in the lead right now, anyway--LaToya and Barry still have all the time in the world to do better, and I'm confident they're up to the task. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2829. Wild Seeds: Brave, Clean + Reverent 2830. Wild Seeds: Mud, Lies & Shame 2831. The Wild Tchoupitoulas 2832. Kim Wilde: Another Step 2833. Will to Power 2834. Andy Williams' Greatest Hits 2835. Andy Williams: Christmas Present 2836. Claude Williams Quintet: Call for the Fiddler 2837. Cootie Williams/Coleman Hawkins/Rex Stewart: Together 1957 2838. Deniece Williams: Hot on the Trail 2839. Don Williams: Volume Two 2840. Hank Williams' Greatest Hits 2841. Hank Williams, Sr.: 24 Greatest Hits 2842. The Collector's Hank Williams Vol. 1 2843. James "D-Train" Williams: In Your Eyes 2844. Lenny Williams: Let's Do It Today 2845. Otis Williams and His Charms: 16 Hits Mixworthy: "Can't Get Used to Losing You," #2834; "Why Don't You Love Me," #2840. I'm not sure why #2841 is called 24 Greatest Hits rather than Hank Williams' Greatest Hits Volume Two--it's a companion volume to #2840, on the same label and with no over- lap. I first heard Hank Williams' music in This Last Picture Show, which is probably not all that unusual for someone my age, but still a little embarrassing only because of how pompous Peter Bogdanovich is (the film's very good). What I mean is, the frail and tragic (and artistically iconic) Williams seems like someone who was light years away from the self-aggrandizing, cigar-chomping (because that's what Orson and all my heroes did, so I'll do it too) Bogdanovich, and it feels somehow wrong that the one would be my gateway to the other. In any case, I like Williams fine, but, as you can deduce from the solitary pick, I've never played the few albums I do own with any reg- ularity...Something else that doesn't make sense to me is the identification of "Moon River" with Andy Williams: he had nothing to do with Breakfast at Tiffany's, and it was Henry Mancini who had the hit (something I'd be listing for sure if I had it, and I should). There actually was a second version that charted in 1961, but it was by Jerry Butler, not Williams. Somewhere along the way Williams managed to commandeer the song, so that from the time I started watching his television show in the 1960s, I always took it for granted that it belonged to him. His version's good, but not as good as Mancini's. "Can't Get Used to Losing You," though, is one of my very favour- ite pop hits of the past 50 years sung by anyone who predated rock and roll. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2846. Roger Williams: Greatest Hits 2847. Bob Wills and His Texax Playboys 2848. The Best of Bob Wills Vol. II 2849. Al Wilson: Show and Tell 2850. Brian Wilson 2851. Jackie Wilson: Whispers 2852. Jackie Wilson's Greatest Hits 2853. Jackie Wilson: The Soul Years 2854. Mari Wilson: Showpeople 2855. Teddy Wilson: Body and Soul 2856. Jesse Winchester 2857. The Finest of Kai Winding & J.J. Johnson 2858. Paul McCartney & Wings: Band on the Run 2859. Wings at the Speed of Sound 2860. George Winston: Winter Into Spring 2861. George Winston: Piano Solos 2862. Edgar Winter Group: They Only Come Out at Night Mixworthy: "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)," #2851; "I Get the Sweetest Feeling," #2852; "Free Ride," #2862. I bought Wings at the Speed of Sound soon after its release, so it's one of the old- est albums in my collection. An aunt gave me Wings Over America right when it came out, and I kept it in the collection for a few years even though one of the sides had a speck of cardboard or something lodged right into the vinyl, but eventually I either just junked it or passed it on to someone else. The only Paul McCartney songs I'd list if I had them would be "Maybe I'm Amazed," which everyone seems to agree is a career highlight, and "Junior's Farm," which I don't recall thinking of as anything special when it was on the radio but which I've really come to like the past couple of years...I've bypassed a lot of the junk I used to love in the mid-70s without much hesitation, but, helped by a little push from Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, "Free Ride" makes the cut (one of the few songs I thought Linklater used really well). I'll post a scan of the cover when this section gets archived. It basically consists of a bare-chested and bejewelled albino looking heavenward while flying through empty space--the usual '70s stuff. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2863. Wipers: Youth of America 2864. Wipers: Follow Blind 2865. Wire: Pink Flag 2866. Wire: Chairs Missing 2867. Wire: 154 2868. Wire: "Crazy About Love" 12-inch 2869. Wire: A Bell Is a Cup 2870. Wishbone Ash: Argus 2871. Bill Withers: Still Bill 2872. Bill Withers' Greatest Hits 2873. Howlin' Wolf: Going Back Home 2874. Howlin' Wolf 2875. Howlin' Wolf: His Greatest Sides Volume One 2876. Womack & Womack: Love Wars 2877. Womack & Womack: Radio M.U.S.C. Man 2878. Bobby Womack: Lookin' for a Love Again Mixworthy: "Mannequin," #2865; "Sand in My Joints" and "Too Late," #2866; "Map Ref. 41N 93W," #2867; "Come Back in Two Halves," #2869; "Blowin' Free," #2870; "Ain't No Sunshine," #2872. I'm not the song-for-song, album-for-album Wire fan I probably implied I was when I did a short interview with Colin Newman around the time of their return in the mid- 80s. For starters, I had to relisten to Chairs Missing for the mixworthy picks, be- ing an album I played two or three times 20+ years ago and then filed. My reaction today isn't much different from what it was then: the two songs I've singled out are excellent, I like "Outdoor Miner" and a couple of others fine, and then, as with Pink Flag, there are a number of fragments and more abrasive experiments that just aren't the kind of thing I normally take to. So Wire is defined by a handful of songs for me (I'll also be listing "Ahead" from an Enigma compilation later on), not by their LPs as a whole, and I love those songs so much, I've always more or less endorsed the no- tion that they were as brilliant as first-generation British punk ever got. Take "Man- nequin": did the Who or the Byrds ever write as perfect a pop song? They did, but just to ask the question is enough. I'm pretty sure I still remember where I got each of the first three LPs. Pink Flag and 154 were deletes from the flagship Cheapies, which is a little unusual, because my Pink Flag is British, and the majority of deletes car- ried by Cheapies were American. But the little hole in the upper right-hand corner tells me that's where it came from. Chairs Missing, like my third Velvet Underground, turned up in the tiny used bin at Records on Wheels...I thought I had a girl. I know, because I seen her. Her hair was golden brown, blowin' free like a cornfield. She was far away--I found it hard to reach her. She told me "You can try," but it's impossible to find her. And that's all I have to say about that.

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