Work duties and prepping for the start of the new Strat-O-Matic season have led to lighter blogging the last little bit. I’m finally ready to roll with the second side of one of my last mix tapes, so with further delay…
Dionne Farris, “I Know”
What’s this? A big time, full-blooded, mega pop hit of the 90s? I picked up Wild Seed–Wild Flower pretty early on, after seeing the vid for “I Know” a couple of times, and prior to its ten-week run on top of Billboard‘s Mainstream Top 40 chart. Catchy stuff, so it’s a little surprising that Farris never had much of a follow-up. (The other well-known song on which she appeared–Arrested Development’s “Tennessee”–is on another of my tapes, however.)
The Rave-Ups, “These Wishes”
I’ve raved on about this Pittsburgh-to-LA band before. It’s great to see that all the tracks from The Book of Your Regrets have recently become available on YouTube. That 1988 release was already out of print by the time I started getting into these guys, so it was lucky I stumbled across a copy for sale online in the very early days of the pre-eBay Internet. If this mix tape blogging thing keeps going, “These Wishes” won’t be the last we hear from it.
The Reivers, “Do What You Wanna Do”
Another band (this one’s from Austin) that kept making repeated appearances on tapes. This is from their fourth release Pop Beloved, and is one of just a few of its tracks with a video on YouTube.
Live, “I Alone”
When I first heard “Operation Spirit” during my last months in Illinois, I didn’t predict the kind of success this Pennsylvania outfit would have with their second album Throwing Copper (or the evolution of singer Ed Kowalczyk’s hairstyle, for that matter). The choicest cut from Copper is “Lightning Crashes,” but “I Alone” was the song that really put them on the map and probably catches more of the mid-90s alternative zeitgeist.
Duran Duran, “The Reflex”
What would this song have done on the charts without Nile Rodgers’s remix? It’s definitely not a #1 tune without it.
One of my very faves from Double Duran back in the day; it’s probably slipped a couple of notches over the last quarter-century.
Sam Phillips, “Standing Still”
Back in December I posted a picture of a Usenet review of Kirsty MacColl’s Kite I had printed out back in 1991. It was one of two from that period I’d saved; the other was for Sam Phillips’s Cruel Inventions. The author nods favorably at a line from “Standing Still” (“Starting with ashes I’m building fire”), even going so far as to claim that T.S. Eliot might approve. Don’t know about that, but it’s a standout track on a standout album.
The Jayhawks, “Miss Williams’ Guitar”
If you asked me to name the best concert I ever attended, a strong contender would be the Wilco/Jayhawks show I saw in July of 1995. It took place at the Kentucky Theater in downtown Lexington, which had been exclusively a movie house back when I was in college. My future fianceé was tromping around Germany at the time with her sister, and I was in the middle of my first year working the science/math camp for high schoolers our college offers. Tomorrow the Green Grass was maybe my favorite disk at the time, so I connived to break away from any evening duties I might have had to check them out; my seat was around 8-10 rows away from the stage. Wilco was touring in support of A.M., and they were awesome. But it was the Jayhawks who had my heart at the time, and they weren’t disappointing in the least. One particular highlight occurred when Victoria Williams came out on stage before they played this song–she was dating guitarist Mark Olson at the time (they’d later marry).
The leading possibility for the Louisville cemetery referenced in “Miss Williams’ Guitar” is Cave Hill, just a little east of downtown. Well-known folks buried at Cave Hill include Muhammad Ali and Colonel Harland Sanders; my wife’s paternal grandparents are there, too.
Victoria Williams, “You R Loved”
Apparently I couldn’t resist the temptation to follow up with Miss Williams actually playing her guitar. Some of her many fans in the biz tried hard to break her with 1994’s Loose, but the public sadly wasn’t buying. “You R Loved” comprises today’s sermon; yes, that’s Mike Mills singing backup.
Marti Jones, “It’s Too Late”
Not the first time I’ve spun this track from Match Game here.
Missing Persons, “Destination Unknown”
While I greatly enjoyed “Words” back in the summer of 1982, the followup mysteriously escaped my notice for almost ten years. Deserved much better than its #42 peak in November/December that year; it’s likely Missing Persons’ best song.
Joan Osborne, “St. Teresa”
Maybe Osborne got earlier buzz in my neck of the woods than some other places because she’s a Kentucky native, as I bought Relish in the spring of 1995, months before “One of Us” hit the charts. My top tracks from Relish, though, are the slinky “Ladder” and lead-off song “St. Teresa” (co-written with former Hooters Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman, who also play on the entire album).
Bill Lloyd, “Trampoline”
Lloyd had been one-half of a moderately successful country duo with Radney Foster in the late 1980s. His 1994 solo disk Set To Pop got a lot of favorable press as a power pop gem, but it never grooved me all that much. The exception was “Trampoline,” a catchy ditty about a girlfriend who just may be bipolar. In an alternate universe, I might have used the line “God bless our daily bread, coffee, and Dramamine” as the title of this post.
Texas, “Future Is Promises”
Another song featured previously in a Forgotten Albums post. Album closers often make good tape closers.
I hope to do this sort of thing again in a few months’ time.