Year: 1991
Original Format: cassette

His duty, when he was elected to represent Tralfamadore, was to carry a sealed message from “One Rim of the Universe to the Other.” The planners of the ceremonies were not so deluded as to believe that Salo’s projected route spanned the Universe. The image was poetic, as was Salo’s expedition. Salo would simply take the message and go as fast and as far as the technology of Tralfamadore could send him.

The message itself was unknown to Salo. It had been prepared by what Salo described to Rumfoord as, “A kind of university — only nobody goes to it. There aren’t any buildings, isn’t any faculty. Everybody’s in it and nobody’s in it. It’s like a cloud that everybody has given a little puff of mist to, and then the cloud does all the heavy thinking for everybody. I don’t mean there’s really a cloud. I just mean it’s something like that. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, Skip, there’s no sense in trying to explain it to you. All I can say is, there aren’t any meetings.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan


The Great Cosmic Intelligence Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
As previously mentioned, when I bought the Maharishi’s album, I didn’t really have much idea of who he was. I thought it would be a great source of profound-sounding audio clips. In truth his voice was annoying and the wisdom was not all that wise, but I made use of it anyway.

Too Much Time Captain Beefheart
Proof, if you wanted it, that the Captain could have made hit records. If properly promoted this might have been a smash, but the Long Plastic Hallway never knew what to do with him.

Don’t Let It Bring You Down Victoria Williams & the Williams Brothers
A Neil Young cover from The Bridge, the second-best tribute album ever made.

* * * * (Jungle Law) Love and Rockets
A take on the signifying monkey, with reference to the chronic maltreatment of Bauhaus and its descendants by the British music press, as vicious a pack of jackals as exist on God’s green Earth.

Trouble Josh White
“White used to come to the [Ovation Guitars] factory. His fingernails were brittle and prone to cracking due to psoriasis, a condition that got worse as he grew older. Ovation’s subassembly foreman, Al Glemboski, made a cast of White’s fingers, from which he made a set of fiberglass nails. White glued on these false nails with an industrial glue, Eastman 910, which would later be marketed as Super Glue. He returned to the factory every other month for a new set of nails.” —Wikipedia

Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya Dr. John
“In 1967 Mac Rebennack decided it was time to realize a project he was dreaming about for some time, ever since his sister gave him books on Haitian voodoo. In New Orleans he visited spiritual ceremonies and the Cracker Jax drug store that carried all kinds of potions and mysterious remedies to all maladies known to men. He was aware of a New Orleans mythological character from the 1840s named Dr. John, a huge black man who made a small fortune by offering a multitude of concoctions and gris-gris (small cloth bags containing scriptures) to lift curses for a fee.” —

Walk on Gilded Splinters King Swamp
A Dr. John cover with Dave Allen of Shriekback on bass. Make sure you play it loud.

Für Elise, Bagatelle in A Minor Ludwig Van Beethoven
“Beethoven’s Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor is rarely referred to in such grandiose terms; instead, all who know and love it refer to it simply by its nickname, ‘Für Elise’ (German for ‘for Elise’). But it’s a nickname that, frankly, should never have existed. Beethoven did indeed include a dedication on the manuscript, but it was ‘Für Therese.’ Poor Therese must have been slightly miffed when, thanks to a rather slapdash copywriter called Ludwig Nohl, the dedication on the published version of the work was changed to someone quite different.” —

Ana The Pixies
Black Francis, that clever lad, wrote this so that the first letter of every line spells out the word “surfer.”

The Colored F.B.I. Guy Butthole Surfers
When my college band used to play this, we changed the title to the more politically correct “The F.B.I. Guy of Color.”

1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) The Jimi Hendrix Experience
To be fair, it is in fact technically impossible for a man to live and breathe underwater. The squares may have a point on that one.

Them Bones The Mitchell Family Singers
“Dem Bones” (also called “Dry Bones” and “Dem Dry Bones”) is a spiritual song. The melody was composed by author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) and his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson. First recorded by The Famous Myers Jubilee Singers in 1928. Both a long and a shortened version of the song are widely known. The lyrics are inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14, where the prophet Ezekiel visits the “Valley of Dry Bones” and prophesies that they will one day be resurrected at God’s command, picturing the realization of the New Jerusalem.”

Ode to Buffy Voice Farm
The spoken-word part of this — replete with then-fashionable ironic references to old TV shows — has not aged well, though I do like the bit about “the resurrection of seraphim.” But the soaring synthesizers are still delightful.

Here Come the Warm Jets Brian Eno
“The title Warm Jets came from the guitar sound on the track of that name, which I described on the track sheet as ‘warm jet guitar,’ because it sounded like a tuned jet. Then I had the pack of playing cards with the picture of the woman [urinating] in there, and they sort of connected. That was one of the things that was going on at the time: this idea that music was still tied to some idea of revolution, and that one of the revolutions was a sexual revolution. I wasn’t making a big political point, I just liked having fun with those things.” —Brian Eno

Candy Says Velvet Underground
“I didn’t own this record for years and years. I just didn’t buy this album because I never wanted it to become casual for me. I bought this one about five years ago. I never owned it before then. I would only hear it at other people’s places because I always wanted it to be special.” —Brian Eno

Note: This thing clocks in at 52:30, although it was originally recorded onto a 50-minute tape. Such were deviations in cassette manufacturing. (I remember peering down at the amount of tape left on the spool and hoping it would last until the end of the song. Even now, I can still feel the suspense of wondering whether “Candy Says” is going to be cut off, even though I know full well it won’t.) This could also be a problem when dubbing onto a tape from a different batch that turned out to be shorter. Yes, the complications of analog life were many; but we liked it that way, consarn it. Now get off my lawn.

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