Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack 5CD (disc 1 only, 1.5 times)
Rhythm & Sound W/The Artists CD (1.5 times)
The Doo Wop Box 4CD (disc 3 only, "Doo Wop's Golden Age (1957-1959)")
Raffi Singable Songs For The Very Young CD
Red Hot Chili Peppers "Soul to Squeeze" on radio at auto shop
Puss in Boots Treasured Tales CD Book
D. Charles Speer & The Helix After Hours CD
BabyGenius Classics For Intelligence CD

The drive: Chicago, IL to undisclosed location in the Southwestern corner of Iowa. Departure time: 2PM. Arrival time: 1AM this morning. I'm not too crazy about the Grateful Dead Movie itself, and the general word from the various band histories seems to be that the performances were lethargic and marred by overbearing camera crews, but I love the 5-disc soundtrack box on Rhino anyway. The lethargy is there but it somehow ends up being a plus, giving these jams a dolorous and sleepy weight in which something like "Playing in the Band" can zone out for an absurd(ly sweet) 31 minutes of fuzoid wandering, as it does here on disc 1. There's a great China Rider and Eyes of the World into China Doll on here too. This box is definitely a road-trip tradition, I once listened to all 5 discs in a row on a drive from Omaha to Chicago. The Doo Wop disc (also from a box set on Rhino!) is great when you're trying to keep the kids from whining in the back seat. When me and Angeline launch into "Get a Job" they look at us stunned and wide-eyed like we're speaking Martian, but Phil's fave is "Who Wrote The Book Of Love?" Also, this disc has all-time dream-stunner "I Only Have Eyes For You" by the Flamingos. Another fun road-trip doo-wop pastime is to read all the group names in rapid succession. "The Pastels! The Silhouettes! The Monotones! The Chantels! The Danleers! The Shields! The Students! The Elegants! The Imperials! The Videos! (Say what?) The Moonglows! The Crests! The Fiestas! The Flamingos! The Skyliners! The Impalas! The Genies! The Mystics! The Eternals!" After this we finally put in something that was really for the kids, the Raffi disc. They love this thing. Hell, I do too, super-fun stupid songs like "Willaby Wallaby Will, an elephant sat on Phil!/Willaby Wallaby Waire, an elephant sat on Claire!!", but also a real heartwarmer like the ballad "I Wonder If I'm Growing." I remember when I worked at a record store years ago and parents would constantly come in and ask for Raffi albums. I thought it was the dorkiest thing ever, but now I'm a believer, this guy is definitely the Dylan of children's folk. (Have you heard the bootleg when he went electric? Some kids booed. One shouted "Judas!") (This joke is funnier when made in person, only because you can say "Judas" in a high-pitched little kid's voice.) But hey, one more piece of Raffi trivia, this album was recorded in 1976 in Hamilton, Ontario, and none other than Daniel Lanois plays, get ready, BASS DRUM on this album. He showed up in the credits on Cyborgs Revisited by Simply Saucer too, before he became a super-producer he was like the Canadian underground Zelig. (Next you're gonna tell me he used to sit in with the Nihilist Spasm Band.) After Raffi we stopped for fuel-up and dinner at the Pine Cone Restaurant at the What Cheer exit on I-80 - total cholesterol den but I sidestepped that with the Baked Cod Dinner. It was perfect, but everything else about this stop was bad - we learned that the wind chill outside was well below zero, that I had left my wallet at home, I couldn't find my wedding ring, and when we went to leave learned we had a flat tire. Sure I could've changed it myself but I had also forgotten to bring gloves, so we called up Triple A. Dude popped right over from nearby Brooklyn, IA and changed it in like 4 minutes. He said we could get it patched at the Bosselman's Truck Stop 24-hour mechanic, about 50 miles down the road, and that we should be fine on the spare if we kept it at 60-65 mph, but then he saw the kids in back and had a change of heart, saying we could just follow him 7 miles to his shop and he'd open it up and fix it for us while we waited even though it was 9PM. Gotta love the good people in the small towns of America! He fixed that shit right up, told us all kinds of stories about his three kids and the crazy people he encounters being a Triple A mechanic located right off a major cross-country interstate, all to a backdrop of "Soul to Squeeze" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I gotta say it sounded EXQUISITE. Yes, Kiedis has a terrible voice but that's the closest thing you're gonna hear to actual SOUL MUSIC on FM Modern Rock radio, I don't care what you say. Reminds me I've gotta get Scar Tissue from the library. Anyway, back in the car roaring along at 75 mph, only two hours behind schedule, we put in this Puss in Boots story time disc to signal "bedtime" for the kids. Funny story, you should check it out sometime, complete with the requisite hunger/starvation themes that seem to populate all the classic fairy tales. Sure enough they went out like a light and I asked Angeline to pull some grown-up music out of the bag. She went right for the Blowfly - nah, just kidding, first disc she grabbed was this brand-new D. Charles Speer & the Helix number, just arrived in the mail the day before, still with the shrinkwrap on it. It sounded real good, but whenever I tried to turn it up the kids would stir. I could still tell that Speer's croak is in fine form and a real singular fusion of psychedelic and country is achieved by The Helix, with particular props going to one Hans Chew on the rollicking piano and funky organ. Oh yeah, and it has both of the songs from their great debut 7-inch ("Past or Beyond" and "Canaanite Builder"). Can't wait to play this again under proper conditions. May or may not happen here at Grandma's house.


james said...

tate may to tha rivah leh meyon yo sho, ah be comin bah baby i be comin bah fo moh

Larry said...

with all the dying trees i scream...

Locrian said...

Oh hey man, I meant to comment months ago but I am so glad there is another who have found the amazing sounds from Rhythm and Sound. Some of my favorite tunes.

Larry said...

Oh yeah, I can't believe how good "King of my Empire" and "Queen of my Empire" are on W/The Artists...

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